Stirling City Allstars embarked upon a special journey last month when they travelled to Northern Ireland for what was more than a game of football.
The club, Forth Valley's only football club for adults with disabilities, were the only team from Scotland to take part in the Coca-Cola Communities Cup.
The tournament, held in Belfast, took place over 2 days at the Billy Neill Centre for Excellence and 17 players made
the trip – for many, their first taste of competing overseas.
The project was built on the success of a similar trip last year, Club Chairperson Alban Dickson explained: “Last year, the club really pushed itself to take a selection of players to the same tournament and after the success of that we were desperate to expand and open up the opportunity to more players.”
The trip was only made possible thanks to some special support from the Stirling and Bridge of Allan Round Table small grants fund and a successful application from Awards for All Scotland.
“We knew exactly how we wanted to expand on last year but knew from the off that it would cost us a lot more,” added Alban.
“It was great to receive recognition of our project from both local and national sources of financial support.
“The trip wouldn't have been possible without Awards for All but we greatly appreciated the assistance of the Stirling & Bridge of Allan round table who doubled their donation
from what we originally asked for.”
With 40 teams competing for trophies the Scottish players represented their nation well with one team even getting as far as the semi-finals before being put out on penalties.
Despite bearing the responsibility of being goalkeeper for tense shoot-out, goalkeeper John Shanks summed up the trip.
He said: “I learnt that this team has now got a special place in my heart.
"Teamwork and determination do pull off well together.”
The experience paid off for the players' footballing development too.
In the two tournaments since then the club have won two divisions, came second in another and even brought back a trophy from below the border in Harrogate on the 8th July.
Throughout August the club are holding open training sessions and ask any interested volunteers to join them at King's Park from 6.30pm.