A TOP footballer played a crucial role in guiding Great Britain to the semi-finals of the European Deaf Football Championships recently.
Philip-John Dolan, a profoundly deaf forward with junior side Kilsyth Rangers, now has his sights set on the World Cup.
The striker, known as PJ, scored the all-important goal against Ireland in the quarter-finals which helped Great Britain into the last four.
PJ’s efforts in the group stage of the competition, held recently in Denmark, saw Great Britain comfortably top their table on maximum points.
PJ (23), from Chryston, said: “My goal against Ireland was really amazing. It was in extra time after a long 90 minutes where we were 2-0 down then got it to 2-2.
“Just a few minutes in, I scored with a powerful low shot inside the box from a good cross – putting GB a step closer to the semi.
“Making it into the semi-final was the big highlight. We got beat by Ukraine, who were the fitter team, but we were the better footballing side. However, we gave away two goals.”
PJ added: “Ukraine and Russia (the two finalists) get paid by their government and worked together for a few months before the tournament.
“If the British Government would give us financial backing that would help us tremendously.
“It would take a lot of pressure off us having to raise money for each event we go to abroad and also the money it costs to attend training weekends prior to the games.
“We would be the world’s number one if we had more time to train together.”
After representing Great Britain at the last Deaf Football World Cup in Taiwan, PJ’s now gearing up for next year’s World Cup in Turkey.
PJ said: “I was so happy to be once again picked to play for GB.
“I love playing football – it’s my life – and I’m looking forward to the World Cup.
“I’d really like to say thank you to the GB management team and my manger Eric at Kilsyth Rangers in helping to make me a better footballer.
“Playing for Kilsyth Rangers has made me a different class of player and taken me to a different level of football.”
PJ CHAMPS: PJ (on the left) in Great Britain action against Ireland in a previous match.