Wicklow footballer to carry flag at Paralympics

Bray teenager Gary Messett has been chosen as Ireland's flag-bearer for Friday's opening ceremony of the twelfth Paralympic Games in Athens.

The talented seven-a-side footballer, who turned 17 at the start of the month, is part of Ireland's Cerebral Palsy squad.

"I've no words to describe it, to be honest," said the midfielder, when hearing the news. "I'm delighted and will be extremely proud to carry the flag for my country at such an important occasion."

The 12-man squad qualified for the Games following an excellent fifth-place finish at the World Championships in Argentina 11 months ago.

Messett, who was too young to take part in South America, is now an integral part of the Irish team, playing in central midfield or on the left wing.

His involvement, through the local Wolfe Tone U16s, saw him win his first cap in Ireland's Holland Invitational tournament victory in April.

Meanwhile, Ireland's Chef de Mission Jim McBride has confirmed that the team's technical director Liam Harbison is to take temporary charge of the athletics team, after Liam Moggan's withdrawal on Saturday due to illness.

Portmarnock native Harbison, who led Ireland's Boccia team to the top of the medal table in Sydney, took up his director's position in 2002.

Paralympics veteran Jimmy Byrne - PCI's honorary treasurer - will take over the athletics team manager role next Monday.

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