The Wales national learning disability football team has played its first match against Northern Ireland.

The fixture, played at Bangor City’s Nantporth Stadium, saw the home team go down to a 0-2 defeat to their more experienced opponents. The Football Association of Wales said more than 400 people turned up to watch.

Wales learning disability national team’s head coach Grant Kalahar said: “Over the past 18 months we have looked at 1,300 players, the 16 lads chosen… can be proud that they are going to make a little bit of history being the first ever Wales team to play an LD International”

Speaking before the match, Osian Roberts, technical director of the Welsh Football Trust, said: “A lot of hard work has taken place by a lot of dedicated people to get us to this situation. The calendar of events has been organised for the season and I am pleased we have been able to embrace this team into our football family here in Wales.”

The team selected was:
1 - Andrew Parry
2 - Nathan Owen
3 - Will Davey
4 - Mike Gee
5 - Matt Johns
6 - Adam Roberts
7 - Tom May
8 - Scott Hopkins (captain)
9 - Dan Thomas
10 - Ryan Hopkins
11 - Gareth Pewtner
Subs
12 - Cian Davies
13 - Jason Fowler
14 - Tom Mayers
15 - Chukwunweike Iwobi
16 - Richard Smith

The squad attended two training camps in preparation for this fixture, the first in September and the second during October.

England will be the team’s next opponent in March at the new English National Football Centre, St. George’s Park, near Burton on Trent.

To underpin the national squad, regional squads have been developed in the South, West and North of the principality. These squads provide players with fortnightly coaching sessions.

In addition, the players train weekly with their local PAN Disability team and participate in monthly regional fixtures. During an average week 25 PAN Disability football clubs run coaching sessions which provide more than 500 playing opportunities nationally.