The Football Association of Ireland and Paralympics Ireland have launched a search to find new players for Rio 2016 ©FAI

Ireland has launched a nationwide search to find new players to represent its cerebral palsy football team at next year's Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

They are hoping to strengthen the squad which finished sixth at the Cerebral Palsy World Cup in England earlier this year.

Players who have cerebral palsy, acquired brain injury or those who have suffered a stroke aged between 16 and 30 could be eligible to play. 

The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) have partnered with Paralympics Ireland for the new campaign, with a number of players already identified having taken part in trial at the FAI National Training Centre in Dublin last Saturday (December 12). 

"We want your help to find new players to add to our elite international squad, to compete in what is one of the largest sporting events in the world," said the FAI. 

"We will promote this opportunity through numerous media channels, national newspapers, clubs, leagues and coaches around Ireland with the hope that players who qualify will step forward and grap the opportunity of a lifetime with both hands."

Cerebral palsy football features seven players on the field at a time rather than 11, the measurements of the playing field are smaller, there is no offside law and throw-ins may be made with just one hand.

Matches consist of two halves of 30 minutes each.

The sport has appeared in every Paralympic Games since 1984, when it was held in Stoke Mandeville and Ireland won the silver medal.

They also won bronze medals at Seoul 1988 and Barcelona 1992. 

The sport has been controversially dropped after Rio 2016, however, and a campaign is currently underway to get it reinstated for Tokyo 2020.