By Tom Degun

Ireland_win_St_Patricks_tournamentMarch 20 - The Ireland cerebral football team emerged victorious at the inaugural St Patrick's Day Invitational Football Tournament in Dublin as they claimed a narrow 2-1 victory in extra time over old rivals the Netherlands.

The new tournament was one of the highlights of the South Dublin County Council's week-long St Patrick's Day celebrations and saw the English, Dutch, Scottish and Irish teams honing their skills ahead of the London 2012 Paralympics.

After a week of tough competition Ireland and the Netherlands progressed to the showpiece event at the Tallaght Stadium, which began with the Irish Defence Forces' Black Knights parachuting the match ball in from 5,000 feet.

Ireland got off to a great start when Joe Markey placed a rebound from a tight angle neatly behind the keeper after just two minutes, but the Dutch responded quickly when striker Visgood neatly turned the last Irish defender and slotted low into the net after 24 minutes.

The second half saw both teams create chances but neither was able to covert, and with the match locked at 1-1 the game entered two seven-minute periods of extra time.

The winner came as Ireland's Gary Messett played a long ball into the Dutch keeper who spilled it to leave Jason Moran to tap in to an open goal from a yard out.

The crowd roared their approval and despite a Dutch onslaught that saw Irish keeper Brian McGillavary pulled off a string of stunning saves, Ireland claimed victory and also gained revenge after Holland beat them in the gold medal match at the 2010 BT Paralympic World Cup in Manchester last May.

In the third-place play-off England claimed victory over Scotland, but all the teams will now be eying that CPISRA Football seven-a-side Football World Cup which takes place in the Netherlands in June.

The event is critically important as the results will determine which eight teams qualify to compete at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

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