It was a relatively quiet day in footballing terms at the Special Olympics World Games in Dublin on Tuesday, as the five-a-side players at Belfield enjoyed a day off, while there was only half a day's play at the AUL venue, where unified football took centre stage.
The unified competition allows athletes with and without mental retardation to compete as partners, promoting teamwork and inclusion opportunities in a competitive sport event.
Georgia and Germany are currently in a strong position in Division 1 of the unified competition after victories over Serbia and Montenegro and Belgium. In Division 2, the early pace-setters are Austria, France and Lebanon.
Republic Of Ireland assistant manager Noel O'Reilly was on hand at the venue, hosting a two-hour coaching school with the competing teams. O'Reilly is an acclaimed coach who has been involved with victorious Irish sides in recent UEFA European Championships at Under-16 and Under-18 level.
Meanwhile, in the male eleven-a-side competition, it was a bad day for hosts Ireland, who endured a 10-0 defeat at the hands of a strong Germany side. Despite the backing of a decent crowd, the Germans displayed confidence on the ball and a sharp eye in front of goal which the Irish side simply could not match.
Germany's second side also impressed in their game with Great Britain, and it appears that the Germans are more suited to the eleven-a-side format, having endured mixed fortunes over the weekend in the five-a-side tournament at Belfield.
Variety of events
Enjoying their afternoon off, the footballers had the opportunity to visit a variety of events, which included horse-racing at Leopardstown, a specially organised shopping trip or a trip to the Festival Village at the RDS. The village offers a wide range of facilities, including demonstrations from the large number of sponsors associated with the event, which include UEFA and the Football Association of Ireland.
Meanwhile, the final competing delegation eventually arrived in Dublin on Tuesday, when Chinese Taipei landed in Dublin Airport during the afternoon after being taken off the SARS alert list.
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