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Irish doctors ready for Medical World Cup challenge

The team has succeeded in sourcing new jerseys after their original kit was stolen from the boot of a player’s car on St Columba’s Road in Drumcondra last week.

GP and team spokesperson Dr Tommy Fitzgerald admitted that the incident, which occurred just two weeks before the tournament was due to kick off, created a “headache” for the team.

“It was a setback but it wasn’t the end of the world,” Dr Fitzgerald told the Medical Independent (MI).

“We always knew we were always going to out and play. Thankfully our sponsors came good and gave us funding for replacements and the kit manufacturers were able to turn it around for us.”

The squad has also had to deal with injuries to two players, but replacements have already been drafted in.

Dr Fitzgerald said that many doctors wanted to join the team this year after the media coverage devoted to Ireland’s participation in the 2015 Medical World Cup, which was the first time they took part in the tournament.

Ireland reached the quarter final of the event last year, where they were knocked out by the eventual winners, the Czech Republic.

“This year, because we had a little bit of publicity last year, and had a bit of success, we didn’t have any trouble getting guys,” Dr Fitzgerald said.

“We had 35 to 40 guys at our first training session in January. Unfortunately we couldn’t accommodate everybody and, if anything, we were over-subscribed.”

This year’s team consists entirely of doctors, interns and consultants from all areas of medicine including: Gynaecology, orthopaedic surgery, general internal medicine, radiation oncology, colorectal surgery, paediatric medicine, geriatric medicine, anaesthetics and medical oncology. 

“Preparation has gone well,” Dr Fitzgerald said.

“We’ve had a couple of late injuries unfortunately, but we did manage to get new guys in to cover those places so we are going out there with a full squad and are now very excited to get going.”

The 25-man squad is due to fly to Spain today (Friday, 8 July) for the tournament, which will involve 21 other teams.

Partaking teams include Venezuela, Canada, Catalonia, Lithuania, Ukraine, South Korea, Australia, Mexico, Austria, Denmark, USA, Germany, Brazil, Hungary, Sweden, Russia, Colombia, Great Britain, Belarus, Czech Republic and Uzbekistan.

To take part in the annual championship, players must be doctors and must produce their passports and even copies of their medical degrees before kick-off. Furthermore, the referee holds a medical knowledge pop-quiz on the pitch before each match to make sure the players are indeed who they say they are, qualified medical doctors.  

MI wishes the very best of luck to the Irish team.

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