GARY Marheineke is heading off to Ireland at the beginning of March for a hectic weekend as part of the Great Britain Amputee football team.

The 28-year-old brother of Huntingdon Town manager Ricky Marheineke is the only goalkeeper to have been invited on the weekend at the University of Limerick, and his trip has been funded by estate agents Harvey Robinson.

Marheineke, who was born without an arm below his right elbow, said he was astonished when he first watched the amputee team playing in last year's World Cup on YouTube.

“It's a bit different from the mainstream game but the talent is unbelievable,” he said. “It's pretty exciting. We are flying out on the Friday and training and playing games all weekend. We are playing the Irish amputee team on the Saturday – and we have another game on the Sunday.

“There were two goalkeepers who went to the Amputee World Cup last year – so this is my chance to impress. I'm still getting used to the rules but the small changes make the game amazing – it's really clever.

“Outfield players are one-leg amputees who use crutches, goalkeepers are one-arm amputees – though I was born without mine.”

As well as receiving £300 from Harvey Robinson, Marheineke has also been kitted out by The GK Union Ltd, a company run by St Ives Town secretary Simon Clark.

Clark also introduced Marheineke to London-based glove manufacturers The One Glove Company, who have supplied Marheinke, a Huntingdon Rowdies coach, with further gear.

Marheineke first got in touch with Grant McNicoll at Harvey Robinson. “He was over the moon to hear what I was doing and said the company would give us the money to make it happen,” he said. “They were delighted to get behind me and support me. That was fantastic.

“And then Simon at The GK Union said he could help me out, too – and The One Glove Company: how could their name be any better? As soon as they tweeted me I had a little giggle with my girlfriend. We took it from there really.”

McNicoll, a partner at the Huntingdon estate agents, told The Hunts Post: “The team is a charity organisation and Gary approached us to help – I think what he does is unbelievable, so we were happy to help out.

“We already sponsor Huntingdon Town, and we are involved in other sponsorships at places like Stukeley Meadows.”

Clark said: “I knew Gary had been nominated for the Hunts Post Sports awards last year and I was talking to his brother and he said I should get Gary involved in the website – www.thegkunion.co.uk – so straight away I got in touch with him.

“We did an interview for the website and had a chat and I offered him some kit.

“I have some really good contacts and I explained the situation to Miles Leighton at The One Glove Company and he was immediately interested.

“As Gary said, we always smile about the name of the company, because it is perfect. I would say Gary has three brilliant sponsors.”

It was Andy Coles from the Huntingdonshire FA who first told Marheineke about amputee football.

“To be fair, I don't really think of myself as having a disability,” said the goalkeeper. “So I didn't really think it was for me. But we watched some videos I said 'I want to play this'. So we drove up to Sheffield and we had a chat with the coaches and they said 'come and give it a try'.

“So that's what I'm doing...”