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Irish Defence Forces manager Richie Barber admits his side will need to be much more clinical in their finishing if they want to make an impression in the World Military Games later this year.

After dominating most of the opening half the Irish were edged out 2-1 by the United Kingdom Armed Forces for the second successive year in their latest meeting at Richmond Park Inchicore this afternoon.

Barber expressed his disappointment at this defeat ahead of fixtures against United States, Algeria and Qatar in the World Games.

“I’m really disappointed I thought we should have won the game, however the biggest lesson is we need to be clinical and when the three points or the victory is there to be taken there can be no excuses especially at the World Games in China. You must win the games you should win”.

The Irish went close to establishing a clear lead with first Paul Sheehan hitting the visitors post with a cracking shot while Ben O’Donoughue and Lee Delaney both forced goalkeeper Luke Cairney into making top class saves to keep out their efforts.

Later David Long might have prodded the ball home in a goal mouth scramble but despite having all the play Barber’s side had nothing to show for it.

Then disaster overtook the home side on the half hour when they concede the opener in the UK side’s first real attack, after a Danny Earl cross from the right was somehow turned past his own ‘keeper by defender Adrian Friel.

At least Dave O’Riordan restored parity minutes before the break when he converted a penalty after Cairney had taken down Derek Walsh.

Then another set back for the Irish came minutes after the resumption when Lee Delaney fouled Andrew Todd and Sam Atkinson beat Gavin Mulreaney with a well placed spot kick.

The UK dug in after going in front and made it difficult for the Irish to test Cairney to any great effect. Jody Dillon did set up a couple of half chances and Craig Doran saw his shot headed out for a corner by Carl Evans.

Barber added
“We should have been out of sight by half time after bossing the half and doing everything right. We passed them off the park, hit the post and their ‘keeper made two great saves. Then one mistake gifted them their goal but we recovered and converted the penalty to go in level. The second half performance was a big disappointed I think we lost our composure” 

Barber will now look to organising some friendly outing against League of Ireland sides before they take on the Netherlands Armed Forces in September in the build up to the World Military Games in China next October.

IRISH DEFENCE FORCES: Gavin Mulreaney; Aidan Friel, Scott Delaney, Lee Delaney, David Long; Chris Kenny, Dave O’Riordan; Ben O’Donoughue, Adrian Rafferty, Derek Walsh; Paul Sheehan. Subs: Craig Doran (for S Delaney 25), Ray McCann (for Walsh 60), Jody Dillon (for Sheehan 65), Stephen Fisher (for O’Donoughue 75), Tony Smith (for O’Riordan 78), Ken Deegan, Ross McCarthy.

UK ARMED FORCES: Luke Cairney; Michael Cushion, Carl Evans, Ryan Paddock, Sam Rawlings; Sam Atkinson, Alex Woodhouse; Danny Earl, Danny Kerr, Michael Campbell; Andrew Todd. Subs: Alan Sneddon (for Campbell 60), Mike Atkinson (for Cushion 65), Matthew Cape, Kyle Willis, David Parker, Brodie Gray, Lewis Cooper. 

Referee: Eoghan O’Shea Assistants: Declan Tolan, Derek Stafford.

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