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Bekah's off to Brazil!

Rebekah Grant was born deaf and wears a cochlear implant in one ear. A talented footballer, she will be playing for Ireland in this year's World Deaf Futsal Championship Writes Tara Maher.

Rebekah Grant, from Carrigaline, is getting ready to take part in the 5th World Deaf Futsal Championship in Sao Paolo, Brazil. She is one of Sinias Sicar’s key players after putting on an impressive display at the recent European Championship.

Known to her friends as Bekah, she is a key player for both Carrigaline United AFC Senior Women's team and the Carrigaline GAA Junior team. She is currently in her 3rd year of Health and Leisure in MTU’s Tralee campus.

Bekah Grant (centre) with her dad Jonny, uncle Philip, aunt Olwyn, gran Rosemary, mum Kirsty & her brother Ethan, at Rebecca's Table Quiz Fundraiser for the World Deaf Futsal Championship in Brazil in November, 9th June 2023. Photo Siobhán Russell

She was first introduced to futsal at the age of fifteen when her Dad came across Deaf Sports Ireland ad on facebook. She played her first tournament in Holland, she described it as a ‘fantastic experience’ and hasn’t looked back since.

Futsal is a football-based game played on an indoor hard court. It is a five-a-side game, one of whom is a goalkeeper. It is thirty minutes a side and is a very fast paced sport. The girls do not wear their implants while playing, to communicate with one another they will all use sign language.

Bekah recently took part in the European Deaf Futsal Championship wearing the green jersey. Ireland enjoyed a successful tournament. The girls were knocked out of the competition at the quarter-final stages by reigning champions Poland. This loss meant they placed in the 5th - 8th place ranking playoffs which saw them take on Sweden. Ireland beat Sweden on a score of five goals to two, which included a brace from the Carrigaline native, and saw Ireland secure a place in the World Cup. Bekah scored an impressive eight goals in the tournament including a hat-trick against Israel which saw her become the competition's fifth highest goal scorer. Bekah also won the Best Female Player at the European Championship. She was awarded her Irish caps by Republic of Ireland manager, Stephen Kenny.

Bekah in action.

Ireland will now compete in the 5th World Deaf Futsal Championships in Sao Paulo, Brazil from the 10th-19th November. Bekah is looking forward to the challenge ahead and hopes to make it in the top four of the competition and score another hat-trick or two. The Irish team are training every second week in Dublin to get themselves tournament ready.

Bekah isn’t the only Cork girl on the panel. She is playing alongside Douglas Hall's Natalie O’Brien. Playing together on the futsal court, Bekah and Natalie will be coming head to head on the soccer pitch soon in the Local Cup. Bekah, a striker, is looking forward to coming up against defender Natalie who she described as a “strong, physical and talented player.”

Bekah admitted that playing sports while being deaf can be challenging. A combination of wind and background noise can be quite distracting. She commended her coaches and teammates for their use of hand signals and pointing to help her read the game.

Bekah recently starred in an MTU student documentary called ‘Scoring in Silence’. In the documentary Bekah tells her story through sign language. She discusses how even though being deaf has challenged her on and off the pitch, it has led her to a world of opportunities.

With her natural talent, determination and work ethic, it came as no surprise when she won the Sports Person of the Year Award at the Munster Technological University recently.

Bekah is currently fundraising to cover the costs of the trip and recently held a table quiz in Carrigaline GAA club which was a huge success. The trip is majority self-funded with a small contribution from Deaf Sports Ireland and the FAI.

A great ambassador for the deaf community, Bekah hopes that after seeing her success, more people with disabilities will challenge themselves and get involved in sports teams, “you never know, you might end up playing for Ireland”.

Bekah, from all the girls on the Carrigaline United Senior Ladies team and the Carrigaline Ladies Gaelic Football team we wish you the best of luck!!

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