The annual week-long tournament runs alongside the Global Congress on Medicine and Health in Sport. Twenty-four international teams of footballing medics compete for the Morrell Cup, named after Catalonian physician Dr Ferran Morrell, who founded the competition in 1995. There is also a seven-a-side ‘Masters’ tournament for the more experienced physician.
Unique tournament rules dictate that each squad of 25 must have two players aged over 35 and two over 40 on the pitch at all times. The physical and mental endeavour is not to be underestimated, as each team plays six games within seven days, each being 80 minutes in duration.
Ireland’s 2015 inaugural performance, in Long Beach, California, was memorable. They successfully overcame two previous champions, Brazil and Germany, before a narrow quarter-final defeat by ultimate winners Czech Republic. This disappointment was unfortunately replayed in Barcelona, when penalties against Sweden cost Ireland a place in the semi-finals. Last year, the Austrian Alps proved a less fortuitous setting and such results were not replicated, though the Irish hope is for success in the Czech capital.
The team is made up of GPs and hospital doctors from all over Ireland and further afield, a notable example being David Reid, who is travelling from Australia. The squad has been training regularly and has friendlies coming up against Dundrum FC, Baldoyle FC and St Vincent’s Hospital FC. A large number of the squad plays regular football with St Vincent’s and the recent league title success is a massive confidence boost ahead of the World Championships.
Team captain Aidan McGrath, GP Registrar in Kildare Town, reports that there is great anticipation within the squad with only three weeks remaining: “Everyone is training hard and the friendlies so far have been very competitive. The tournament is very professionally organised; we will really enjoy the week and we’re quietly confident of success.”
Aidan carried himself with a calm assurance, clearly anticipating a strong bid to take the tournament trophy home.
He also noted Ireland will serve as tournament hosts in the near future, a prospect the team are very excited about: “Up to 800 doctors from all over the world descending on Dublin to play the beautiful game — it should be an amazing occasion”.
<h3><strong>A word from our sponsors</strong></h3>
The Irish Medical Team would like to thank Medisec for its continued support over the past few years. This year, the team has also received sponsorship from Santry Sports Clinic, Irish Life Health, Mater Private, Hermitage, Bon Secours Tralee and Acadoodle.
Tweet @irelandmedical, or make contact with regard to playing or sponsorship via email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit www.wmfc2018.com for more information about the World Medical Championship.