Isle of Man Walking Football Association travelled to Dublin last week to compete in a tournament held at the AUL Complex.

France, Italy, Switzerland, England, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland entered teams into the over-50s, over-60s, over-70s and women’s over-40s categories, including a number of ex-professional players in their ranks which meant the competition was going to be tough.

Unfortunately, because of the Isle of Man’s small numbers, illness, injuries and family commitments, IoMWFA was only able to send 13 players - including a single goalkeeper - to make up two teams in the over-50s and over-60s.

Not having substitutes meant that, while other teams players were able to take rests in the warm temperatures in Dublin, tiredness took a toll on both the Manx sides.

Over-50s team manager Victor Moitas had to step in as over-50s goalkeeper but made some fabulous saves and stops despite his lack of experience in the position.

Small-sided games on quite large pitches can mean high scores and these completely mis-represent the excellent football performances and competitiveness of the over-50s.

For example, having a perfectly good Tony Sewell strike disallowed as a goal at one end because of the doubt of the referee caused by the state of the side netting, to conceding a goal seconds later at the other end.

The difference between defending a 3-1 lead against France and their opponents getting back in the game with an equaliser.

The over-50s team did score some excellent goals across their four matches though, with Sewell netting three goals plus Steve Falconer and Mark Baines scoring one each.

The over-60s were expecting a long weekend after a 3-0 loss to the Republic of Ireland in their first game, but competed really well in all their remaining fixtures.

They held a strong Italian team to 0-0 at half-time, but poor decisions and passing caused by tiredness meant another 3-0 loss.

Things got better though after Darran Kenna scored the only goal in a 1-0 win over the Swiss in their last game of the first day.

Sunday brought bigger challenges like a game against Northern Ireland who had given England their first defeat in this competition the day before.

In a tough battle, IoMWFA equalised through an excellent strike by 76-year-old Stan Puzzar, not only the oldest man competing in the over-60s category but probably the oldest player in the competition. Eventually though, Northern Ireland ran out 2-1 winners.

A tough game against the Italians saw another pivotal decision go against IoMWFA where at 2-2, a penalty area infringement was missed by the referee, only for that player to pick up the ball and pass it down field creating a 2v1 from which they scored the winning goal seconds later.

The over-60s’ sixth and final game was against a normally very strong England team which included players such as ex-Man Utd and Nottingham Forest striker Peter Davenport.

Needing to win by five clear goals to win the competition, England got off to a commanding 4-0 start, but the Isle of Man fought back well and for about 10 minutes or so were the more dominant team.

The English confidence was dented quite a bit when a bit of great short passing in front of goal left Graham Cain free who hit a hard shot across the keeper into the far side-netting.

Attacking changes and the long weekend helped England get back where they needed to be though and they won the game and competition through a 6-1 victory.