Limerick's Aaron Tier to represent Ireland

Jason O'Connor

Reporter:

Jason O'Connor

Email:

sport@limerickleader.ie

Limerick's Aaron Tier to represent Ireland

Aaron Tier, will represent Ireland in Holland this week

This week I caught up with Limerick man and Irish Paralympian, Aaron Tier, who has been selected for the Irish International Cerebral Palsy squad for the 2018 IFCPF European Championships in the Netherlands.

Aaron took me back to May 2011 when it all began as he joined the Irish Paralympic team as an emerging talented footballer via the Football Association of Ireland

“I was only 16 years old when I made my senior international debut for Ireland in the World Championships in Holland in 2011. From playing on the streets of Limerick to playing an international fixture in such quick succession, my focus was aimed to qualify for the 2012 London Paralympics. However a freak result against America in the World Championships tarnished my dreams to represent my country in the 2012 games” admitted Tier.

Tier used that defeat to drive on to bigger and better things.

“I used the heartbreak as fuel to better myself not only in sport but also from an educational point of view. I wasn’t the brightest in school but was determined to further myself for the better. Since then I have represented my country on over 70 occasions to date in European and World Championships. Tier was rewarded for his self belief in 2016 when he represented Ireland in the Brazil Paralympics.

“CP football is uniquely different to traditional 11-a-side football as it is a 7-a-side game and players have a classification based on their physical attributes which impacts on how the coaches can use them or make changes in games” Tier explained.

“We begin the tournament on the July 25 against Denmark and will face Germany, Northern Ireland and the Netherlands and all matches will take place on the KNVB Campus in Zeist”

Tier is an inspiration to others as he has had to battle throughout his life, to achieve his goals.

“As a person who was born with cerebral palsy I’ve learned that the only way to cope with having a physical disability is to adapt to each hurdle that is presented to me along the way. From facing many surgeries to being told I will never be able to walk, play sports, drive a car and even enrol in mainstream school. All I wanted to do was to go home and play football on the streets, which ultimately led to my international stardom through playing with Star Rovers FC” continued the Irish international

The community drop-in sessions that are provided by the FAI in Limerick to ‘keep kids off the streets’ are invaluable for players like Tier.

“It wasn’t until I joined the international squad that my grades skyrocketed in an upward spiral thanks to the assistance and guidance from coaching staff at that tie. I went from failing subjects to achieving A1 grades. However, I just fell short on 5 CAO points for the college course I wanted to do. I just saw that as another obstacle I had to overcome. A year later I completed a FETAC course in order to achieve the points I needed at that time. I have subsequently gone on to complete a Bachelor of Arts and Sports Management at Limerick Institute of Technology.

Tier is part of a 14 man squad who are coached by Paul Breen who believes they have a real chance of taking home a medal.

“We can build on last years sixth place finish at the World Championships. We're stronger for the experience and I think we can be confident that the team can kick on and compete”

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