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Ciaran Donaghy who back in 2000 played for Northern Ireland in the Milk Cup alongside Chris Baird and had spells with Crusaders, Ballymena United, Cliftonville and Carrick Rangers during his Irish League career before ‘unofficially retiring’ at the end of the 2014-15 season, has come out of retirement to play a sport that has exploded across the world called Futsal.
Ciaran flew with the Northern Ireland National Futsal team last weekend to compete against San Marino in an international futsal friendly. Northern Ireland’s first international matches were against England, Scotland and host’s Wales in the first ever Home Nations Futsal tournament and finished bottom of the group. However, this weekend was a different experience for the team. Ciaran scored his first ever international goal and secured Northern Ireland’s first ever international futsal victory. Ciaran is the son of Mal Donaghy who was a Northern Ireland and professional footballer for Manchester United and Chelsea had this to say after the match:
“A fantastic couple of days away in San Marino with the Northern Ireland Futsal team, where we recorded our first win in a sport that is still in its relative infancy here.”
“A massive well done and thank you to Jonathan Michael (Head Coach) and the rest of the backroom staff, who’s organization and preparation was superb and left nothing to chance to ensure the highest level of professionalism.”
“Hopefully, this win and the start of the new NI Domestic Futsal League this week will see the game take massive strides in the coming months and years here and more people taking an interest in it.”
“Delighted to get on the scoresheet, definite collector’s item and now Mal is only one International goal behind me”