The DCU Storm Powerchair Soccer team will face Midlands United in a pivotal game that could decide the league champions on the 20th of April.
DCU have currently only lost one game this season, while Midlands are top of the league table having won all of their games so far.
If DCU win the game they will be level on points with Midlands which means the Irish Powerchair League will be decided by a play off final between the top two sides.
Eimear O’Sullivan, Chairperson of the club, spoke to The College View about her team’s crucial upcoming match.
“Midlands are our big rivals. Over the last number of years its been either DCU or Midlands who have won the league.
“That’s the team we dropped three points to last time,” O’Sullivan said.
“It used to be done on goal difference if they were equal on points but then it ended up that teams were winning by too many goals just purposely to get the goal difference so they cut that out so goal difference doesn’t matter,” O’Sullivan explained.
The final round of games will be played in Gormanstown, with only two venues in the country used to host matches.
“There’s a secondary school in Gormanstown that have a hall that we use. There’s two venues, we either go to Gormanstown or UL. They’re the two venues we use so all the clubs travel there the same day so it’s just neutral venues,” O’Sullivan said.
Power soccer is played with a goalkeeper and three outfield players on each team, with each half being 20 minutes long. Each player is in an electric wheelchair that has a bumper on the front which is used to ‘kick’ the ball.
Chairs are allowed to collide front bumper to front bumper but any impact with the side or back of a chair results in a foul.
“It’s not like wheelchair rugby because the chairs are quite heavy so if you hit into each other you’d get knocked about quite a bit.”
There is normally a classification system around what players can compete in power football but as the Irish league are attempting to grow the number of players the system is not enforced.
“If you want to play power chair at an international level you have to get a classification. So you have to have limited mobility in either your arms, your torso or your neck.
“If people have very strong upper bodies they can play wheelchair rugby or wheelchair basketball and powerchair is for people who can’t play those sports,” O’Sullivan explained.
All the players on the team currently have their own chairs for power football but DCU do have a spare chair that they will provide for players interested in trying out the sport.
Image Credit: John Owens Photography