Down Syndrome Futsal squad receives international caps

“Trailblazers, you will always have that. As the first ever players with Down Syndrome to play Futsal internationally.

I am sure you are very proud, there is very few people actually in the world that actually go on and played for their country. In any type of sport and any type of football or Futsal. Amazing achievement.

We as an association is very proud of you.” Marc Canham, FAI Director of football on presenting the team with their international caps.

Ireland’s first national Down Syndrome Futsal team was presented with their international caps ahead of the friendly Ireland vs New Zealand game at Aviva stadium on Tuesday 21st November.

Football or All’s Paddy O’Reilly, Head coach Paul Smyth and Marc Canham met with the team and their parents.

“The awarding of a cap to an international player dates back to the 1870s and remains a symbolic gesture, as well as a prized keepsake. Therefore it was important to ensure that all players who featured for Ireland at senior level were eligible to receive this one-off cap that represents their involvement with the team.” In this instance, these caps were hard earned as Ireland’s first international Down Syndrome Futsal team travelled to Padua, Italy, in early September to participate in the Sport Union for Athletes with Down Syndrome (SUDS) European Championships.

The team had a jam-packed week, playing 5 games in 4 days. Turkey, Italy and Portugal have been playing for at least 4 years in different international tournaments and had to stand their ground against the newcomers.

Being first-time competitors did not leave the Irish team at a disadvantage reckoned Máire Hourigan, mom of Futsal player Cian Kelleher from Cork: “Our athletes demonstrated belief and strong heart and operated in a fun-loving way throughout the week. I am so proud of all of them and loved the cohesive way the teams bonded, dressed in their similar attire. Memories were created, experiences were made, and our athletes led the way in style in how they handled themselves, one another, and their opponents. Truly phenomenal ambassadors. Onwards and upwards. There are no limits!”.

A number of the players selected for the squad had previous involvement in Football For All, and were very quick to adapt their skills to Futsal. This event also provided the players with the opportunity to test their skills against other players with Down Syndrome from the other nations involved.

Creating a player pathway for players with Down syndrome in Ireland from grassroots all the way through to International Level, would be the next natural step. By getting more players with Down Syndrome playing Futsal (the International game is Futsal) on a regular basis will mean that the future is bright and more players can aspire to represent their country at future events.

Paul Smyth, Head coach, were delighted by the team’s performance “The players and families made huge sacrifices all through the year in preparation for the SUDS European Championships. This enabled the team to match more established countries with outstanding performances throughout the tournament.

On behalf of the coaching team, Brendan Corish, Sean Mulligan and myself, we would like to acknowledge the support of the families and supporters who got behind the team and made it such a special experience. It made us all proud to be Irish.  

We would also like to recognise the endeavours of those pioneers who worked tirelessly on this project, the Down Syndrome Louth and Meath Branch and the unbelievable support of the communities and businesses.

It was a pleasure to be involved with this historic group of players.”

Fun with Numbers

Our Fun with Numbers is resuming with our younger group back next Monday the 11th of September and then the older group is back on Thursday the 14th of September.

Fun with Numbers is a fun way of working with numbers through games and creative learning aids. It is a light-hearted way of learning basic number skills like counting, adding, and subtraction, incorporating concepts of division and multiplication.

Fun with Numbers presents opportunities for using life skills like following a recipe using measurements and time, along with planning journeys and using money.

We run “Fun with Numbers“ Sessions each week.  There are 2 sessions per week on Mondays and Thursdays.

We have set up the following age groupings however if your child’s age falls outside these categories we will still try to accommodate.

Junior Group Ages   8-11 – 4 pm Mondays
Senior Group Ages 12 and up – 
 5.30 pm Thursdays

The thought is that Deirdre will target older children on a Thursday and younger children on a Monday, however, all children are welcome to participate in either or both sessions each week if you think the content is suitable.

Down Syndrome Louth Meath will cover the cost of the sessions, so there will be no cost to parents for these sessions. The Sessions will run during the school terms as long as there is interest.

The students will need some materials ahead of the sessions, but Deirdre will let you know ahead of time what will be needed – it will all be inexpensive stuff that you may already have or can recycle around the house or will be able to get in the likes of Dealz. Deirdre will also send links for printable materials, should any member not have access to a printer please contact us immediately when Deirdre posts the links to printables and we can arrange to have them posted to you.

We have set up a WhatsApp group for each age group so that Deirdre can fill you in on what materials are needed and send you the Zoom ID and password.  Deirdre posts a video each week explaining the materials required.

We will need the following details:

Child Name:

Parents name and telephone number for WhatsApp Group:

Child’s age:

Email Address:

If you have any questions or would like to take part please contact us at

Funding Scheme for 2023

The members of the Down Syndrome Ireland Louth Meath Branch have agreed at the Branch AGM held on 26th April 2023, to provide a funding scheme for branch members to help cover the cost of therapies, and sports / recreational activities in 2023 that will be of benefit to our members with Down syndrome.

Details of the Funding Scheme can be found on our Website


Members should submit completed application forms, accompanied by receipts and relevant supporting details as per the Terms & Conditions to the Branch Administrator Brendan Stephenson before the end of January 2024 for therapies/activities that took place the previous year (eg. activities/therapies that took place in 2023, the application should be made between 1st January. – 31st January 2024.) 

The Treasurer (who is a volunteer) will endeavour to process applications before the end of February. (Applications submitted after 31st January will be processed the following year)

Please send applications to:

Down Syndrome Ireland Louth Meath Branch
9 Ashdale,
Wheaton Hall,
Co. Louth
A92 KDK8

Summer Aquafit Bootcamp

Our first Aquafit of the Summer is Wednesday 12th July, at Aura Trim Leisure Centre from 2 to 2:45 pm.

This Camp will be facilitated by Eleanor Murray, Aura Trim Employee and Branch Member, and another Aura Trim Staff Member.

We have organised an AQUA Boot Camp in association with Aura Trim Leisure Centre.

Great Music And Great Moves in the pool.

Where: Aura Trim Leisure Centre

When: Wednesday 12th July

Time: 2 PM

Aged 13 up (Have to be able to stand independently in the water, in the Shallow End and follow instructions . There will be a lifeguard but no assistant in the water)

Contact Cara 0857105437

Minimum of 6 participants and a Maximum of 15. Places will be filled on a first-come-first served basis.


Happy Valentine’s day.

Just a reminder of our Valentine’s party tomorrow night.

Please RSVP Ellie Cosgrove at 087 6671393 or🏹

We have organised a Valentine’s Party for our Adult and Older Teenage Members.🏹

When: Wednesday 15th February 2023

Time: 8 PM

Where: Conyngham Arms Hotel Slane

DJ: DJ Philmeister Philip Connolly

RSVP: Ellie Cosgrove 087 6671393

Finger Food Provided

Cover Charge €10


Employment Morning

We held a “Louth/Meath Employment Morning” on the 17th of February.

Adults with Down syndrome, parents/family members & key/support workers were welcomed on the day.

It took place from 10am-1pm in the D Hotel, Marsh Rd, Drogheda, Co.Louth, A92 HF5F.

The morning gave us an opportunity to tell you about our Employment Programme, but also to find out the interests of members locally in relation to work.

Schedule: 10am – arrive, tea, coffee & scones

10.30 – Employment talk for adults with Down syndrome, parents & support workers -Q&A & discussion about local employers -Complete employment questionnaires to gather info & create a database of job seekers

11.30 – Employment skills workshop (for adults with Down syndrome only)

1.00 – Finish

Please email for more details

#ShareTheJourney#InclusionInTheWorkplace#abilityprogrammeDown Syndrome Ireland@downsyndromeirelandThe d hotel

Afternoon Tea Invitation

Warrior Wolves and Down Syndrome Ireland Louth Meath Branch are inviting you to Afternoon Tea.

When: Tomorrow Wednesday, February 22nd 2023

Time: 3 pm

Where: McAleers The Food House, I5 Clanbrassil St, Dundalk.

We are having an Afternoon Tea next Wednesday in Dundalk with the Warrior Wolves.

Just to meet up and have a chat about the upcoming Athletics Come & Try day 🤩

RSVP: Tessa 0838758665

Personalised Budgets Demonstration Projects

The HSE is looking for up to 180 adults with a disability to participate in the Personalised Budgets Demonstration Projects over the coming two years, DSI heard at a conference around the pilot scheme this week.  The closing date for expressions of interest for Phase 1 is October 16th 2019

Aisling Hunt, Personalised Budgets Project Manager, appeared at a conference hosted by the Disability Federation of Ireland and outlined the full scope of the upcoming demonstration projects.

The HSE is looking for participants who access day services, residential services, respite services, rehabilitative training and personal assistance across the country.

How is the HSE going to test the Personalised Budgets Demonstration Projects:

The HSE is looking to test three difference models;

a person managed fund
a co-managed fund with a service provider and
a broker managed fund.

The Project will run in two phases.  Phase 1 will open for expressions of interest in late August and will commence from October 2019. Phase 2 will commence from April 2020. The HSE is seeking 90 participants in both phases.

Who can apply to participate in Personalised Budgets Demonstration Projects:

As we previously outlined to our members here, only adults with a disability that are currently in receipt of HSE-funded disability services, either directly provided by the HSE or through disability service providers can apply.

Young people leaving school in 2019 and 2020 that have a commitment to a funded day service can also apply.

Who cannot participate at this time?

Children with a disability
Older Persons Services
Individuals not in receipt of HSE disability funded services, either directly provided by the HSE or through the non-statutory sector
Adults currently in receipt of HSE funded services where the associated funding cannot be unbundled

How long is the Personalised Budgets Demonstration Projects going to run for?

The project will run for two years. It is anticipated that each successful applicant will participate in the demonstration projects for at least 12 months.

What can participants spend their money on:

Participants can only spend their direct payment on specific personal supports funded by the HSE. These supports will be agreed and identified in each participants’ Personal Support Plan.
Participants cannot use the direct payment to pay for informal care from a spouse, partner or close relative.
Participants cannot use their direct payment to pay for therapeutic services which are available from the HSE in the community.
Participants cannot use their direct payment to pay for supports that would normally be provided by another Government Department or Statutory Agency e.g. transport.
Participants will be asked to keep records on what they spend their personalised budget on and how it matches what was agreed in their personal support plan.

If you would like to be considered?

If any of our members would like to be considered to participate in the Project, please contact the Personalised Budgets Demonstration Projects Office and additional information regarding participation will be forwarded to you.

The closing date for expressions of interest for Phase 1 is October 16th 2019. No applications for Phase 1 will be considered after this date. Phase 2 will commence in April 2020.

Postal Address

Personalised Budgets Demonstration Projects Office
Community Strategy and Planning
Health Service Executive
Block D, Parkgate Business Centre
Parkgate Street
Dublin D08 YFF1

Via email to –

Via telephone – 01 6352885

Valentines Party 2019 in the Conyngham Arms Hotel Slane.

Valentines Party 2019 in the Conyngham Arms Hotel Slane.

We had a wonderful Valentines Part on Valentines night in the always fabulous Conyngham Arms Hotel Slane.

A big Thank you to our Member Conor O’Dowd and Liz Murray for the Photos.

A big Thank you also Liz Murray and her team for organising the party.