It was another exciting day of action in Dublin on Wednesday, with the groups in the Special Olympics World Games five-a-side football tournament beginning to take shape.
From 9:30am at a scorching Belfield, huge numbers of spectators enjoyed the glorious weather, with the Republic of Ireland and Great Britain drawing a large crowd for their match. In the end, a thrilling encounter finished 4-4, with Ireland's star striker John Murphy scoring a hat-trick and celebrating with style by throwing his shirt into a group of adoring fans. Later on in the day, however, Ireland went down 3-0 to a youthful and impressive Belarus side.
Vogelin the star
Switzerland celebrated with a lap of honour when they finally got off the mark by virtue of a 4-2 victory over Japan in the afternoon. Goalkeeper Patrick Vogelin was in excellent form in keeping the Asian side out, while Matthias Scheuer and Michael Brenneisen delivered the goals to give the exuberant Swiss victory.
Saudi Arabia continue to impress in the top group after registering 5-0 and 4-1 victories over Paraquay and Italy respectively. Israel have been similarly impressive, particularly during a 6-0 win over Bosnia Herzegovina.
One of the most entertaining games of the day was a match of extreme quality and considerable edge between Slovakia and Czech Republic which ended in a Slovakian victory. Off the pitch, the exuberant sideline dancing and singing of Uganda and South Africa created something of a carnival atmosphere suited to the weather.
The Ugandan morale was significantly boosted by the presence of Charles Mbabazi Livingstone, a key member of their national side and one of only two Ugandan professionals playing in Europe. Livingstone plies his trade with local club Saint Patricks' Athletic FC, who have invited the Ugandan side to their next game with Waterford United FC on Monday. In addition, the travelling Ugandans were each awarded a St Patrick's jersey which national hero Livingstone dutifully signed.
The Ugandan side were not the only team to benefit from a well- known national celebrity from their homeland. Eric Lavine of Longford Town FC was on hand to support Barbados, who again enjoyed a wonderful day with the outstanding Joseph Browne on top form. Bray Wanderers FC defender Wes Charles, who hails from St Vincent, was also on hand to cheer on his compatriots.
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