Despite being billed as a friendly match, our local MLAs can expect a tough encounter as they take on Belfast Deaf United at Blanchflower Park playing fields tomorrow (Friday 28 January).
We spoke to Belfast Deaf United Football Team Captain Roy McKee - naturally, he's hoping his team will emerge victorious and guarantees that the match will be far from boring and scoreless. Roy gave us an exclusive insight into match preparations and a glimpse into what the match means to his team and why he expects an entertaining and high energy match.
Q. How has the team prepared for the match?
Roy: At the minute, we're in training for the semi-final of the prestigious British Deaf Cup which will see us face either Fulham Deaf or Arsenal Deaf in March. We've yet to lift the trophy, so we're hoping the match against the Assembly team will be useful preparation and that both teams get a vigorous workout!
Q: Will there be any players in the opposition you will be keeping a close eye on?
Roy: It's fair to say we've looked at the strengths and weaknesses of the Assembly team but we'll keep our tactics close to our chest at this stage. After a quick check on the MLA age profile we're hoping that youth triumphs over experience! We will take nothing for granted though and are expecting a tough match.
Q. Have you watched the Assembly team in action before?
Roy: Well, what I can say is that if MLAs' football skills are anywhere near as polished as those displayed in the debating chambers we are in for a tough match!
The Assembly team is led by Captain Chris Lyttle and the team includes Simon Hamilton, Alastair Ross, Kieran McCarthy, Basil McCrea, John McCallister, Conall McDevitt, Thomas Burns, Raymond McCartney, Cathal Boylan and Peter Weir.
Star players for the Belfast Deaf Utd team include International deaf players Roy McKee (capt) and Richard Dougherty along with talented young players Brian Babb and Chris Fisher. Other notable players include Barry Campbell, Eoghan Fee, Richard Beattie and Conor Mervyn.
Both sides will be going all out to win, ensuring an exciting and fast-paced match for all!
Kick off is at 4.30pm and everyone's welcome to come along.