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IRISH DEFENCE FORCES ADVANCE TO WORLD MILITARY GAMES QUARTER-FINALS IN CHINA

IRISH DEFENCE FORCES………..1
QATAR DEFENCE FORCES……….1

THE IRISH rugby squad might be preparing for their return from the orient but the Irish Defence Forces continue to fly the flag proudly after advancing to the quarter-finals of the World Military Games in China earlier today.

The Irish Defence Forces soccer team advance to the last eight after an excellent performance in a 1-1 draw with Qatar who were runners up in the last CISM World Games in Oman in 2017.

All the more remarkable for Richie Barber’s side is the small selection base available compared to global heavyweights with only a couple of the squad having played top flight football.

It was one of them – Chris Kenny who was to be the Irish hero along with goalkeeper Ken Deegan – when he cooly slotted home a penalty after a second half handball against Qatar.

The Irish started with a 4-5-1 formation to stifle their opponents and threatened through counter attacks and set pieces in the opening 15 minutes, but it was the opposition who edged the early possession stakes.

Qatar were awarded a penalty on 16 minutes after a foul in the box which was saved fantastically by keeper Ken Deegan. Unfortunately the joy was short lived as Qatar caught the Irish cold from the resulting corner with a bullet header into the top corner.

The Irish responded well and did not panic holding their shape and continuing to threaten through set pieces and counter attacks with chances falling to the excellent Tony Smith and Chris Kenny despite the debilitating conditions which was more suited to their opponents.

After half time the Irish began to pose more problems for Qatar and that growing pressure was were rewarded with a penalty after Adrian Rafferty’s effort was stopped by the hand of a Qatar defender.

Chris Kenny fired home the equaliser.

Qatar threw everything at Ireland but the Irish defence held firm – superbly marshalled by Sean Guerins of St Michael’s Tipperary. As the game progressed the Irish team -knowing a win would guarantee a place in the Quarter Finals – took a more attacking approach in the final ten minutes and caused the Qatar defence major problems with chances for Chris Kenny and Gavin Dillon just lfashin wide of the target.

The game nearly ended in a dream result in the last 30 seconds when Craig Doran stole the ball 40 metres inside his own half and drove forward towards the Qatar goal.
Doran fed the ball to Craig Shortt who beat the defender with an audacious piece of skill and then nut-megged the goalkeeper only to have his effort cleared off the line by a last ditch tackle.

The Irish then had a long wait as they required other game results to swing in their favour to know their faith which didn’t kick-off until the afternoon.

The good news eventually came through to the delight of the proud Irish contingent as they copper-fastened their place in the last eight in the world.

Ireland Defence Forces Squad
Goalkeepers: Ken Deegan (St. Francis), Gavin Mulreaney (Unattached)
Defenders: Lee Delaney (Evergreen), Chris Doolan (Ballymun United), Sean Guerins (St. Michaels FC), David Long (St. Francis), Dean Tilley (St. Patrick’s CY)
Midfielders: Ben Donohue (St. Pauls FC), Ricky Fox (Shamrock Rovers), Aidan Friel (Finn Harps), Glenn Fullam (Sacred Heart FC), Chris Kenny (Wexford FC), Sean Poutch (St. Mochtas FC), David Stack (Cobh Wanderers),
Forwards: Jody Dillon (Stradbally Town), Adrian Rafferty (Cherry Orchard), Paul Sheehan (Glin Rovers), Tony Smith (Curracloe FC)

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