Local footballer Jamie Linden was presented with his Republic of Ireland cap before the recent international game with New Zealand at the Aviva Stadium.  

Jamie represented the FAI National Futsal squad for players with Down Syndrome at the SU-DS European Championships in Italy in August.

The Dromiskin-man, who received a rapturous round of applause from the Oriel Park crowd when he was presented on the pitch at half time during the Louth Derby with Drogheda United in September, and his teammates were described as ‘trailblazers’ by the FAI Director of Football Mark Canham, who added the FAI were ‘very proud’ of the squad’s achievements.

“There are very few people in the world who actually go on and play for their country in any type of sport or any type of football or futsal,” said Canham.

Jamie Linden is presented with his cap by FAI director of football Marc Canham during the Ireland Down Syndrome Futsal Squad Cap Presentation at Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Jamie was joined at the ceremony by former Dundalk FC striker, and current FAI Football For All coach Paul Smyth, who was the Futsal team’s head coach at the tournament in Italy.

“The players and families made huge sacrifices all through the year in preparation for the European Championships,” he said. “This enabled the team to match more established countries with outstanding performances throughout the tournament.

“On behalf of the coaching team, Brendan Corish, Seán Mulligan and myself, we would like to acknowledge the support of the families and supporters who got behind the team and made it such a special experience. It made us all proud to be Irish.

“We would also like to recognise the endeavours of those pioneers who worked tirelessly on this project, the Down Syndrome Louth and Meath Branch and the unbelievable support of the communities and businesses. It was a pleasure to be involved with this historic group of players.”