Irish Defence Forces chase Military World Cup qualification

The Irish Defence Forces will look to qualify for the inaugural CISM World Military Soccer Championships next week when they host a European qualifying group which will also contains Germany and Holland.

The group winners will automatically qualify for the World Cup Finals next year in Azerbaijan while the runners-up will play off in early 2013 against the runners-up from Group 2 to decide the final European place at the World Championships.

While this is the first soccer World Cup organised by CISM, the International Military Sports Council, it will be the third CISM international soccer competition in which the Irish Defence Forces have competed.

In 2007, at the first attempt, they qualified for the soccer competition at the CISM World Military Games in India and
finished seventh overall before narrowly missing out on qualification for the 2010 Games in Brazil on goal difference.

Irish Manager, Comdt Declan Sheridan, and coaches Cpl Tommy Hewitt and Pte Paddy Foy, are very aware of the task facing the Irish team, being in a group with two powerhouses of European soccer. Germany and Holland both qualified for the last CISM World Military Games in Rio, with Germany finishing fifth having been beaten on penalties by the
eventual winners.

The Irish team is comprised of players drawn from all levels of Irish soccer. Pte Philip Gorman (Shelbourne), Gnr Noel McGee (Athlone Town), Rec Craig Wall (Wexford Youths) and Pte Niall Scullion (Athlone Town) are well known Airtricity League players. Tpr Mark Horgan of Avondale United is an Irish Amateur International and was named as Munster Senior League Player of the Year in 2011/12 during which he helped Avondale to their second successive win in the FAI Umbro Intermediate Cup. Pte Ian Cleary is a former FAI Umbro Junior Cup Winner with Carrick United.

The qualifying group will kick-off next Monday, November 19, when Ireland face Holland at Athlone Town Stadium (2.30pm). On Wednesday, November 21, Holland will play Germany at Terryland Park, Galway (2.30pm). The final game is on Friday, November 23, when Germany and Ireland meet at Drom, home of Salthill Devon.

The Defence Forces are the Football Association of Ireland’s longest serving affiliates and next week’s CISM European qualifying group is being hosted with the support of the FAI.

“CISM” or “The International Military Sports Council” was founded in 1948 with the goal of establishing permanent relations through sport between armed forces of the world.

With its motto, “friendship through sport”, CISM has grown to become one of the largest international multi-sports federations in the world with 133 member countries and 25 distinct sporting disciplines. The Irish Defence Forces joined CISM in 1964 and over the years has competed in many disciplines including soccer, boxing, athletics, equestrian, volleyball and many more. One of the more famous Defence Forces personnel who have competed at this
level is Olympic gold medal winning boxer , Sergeant Michael Carruth.

Ireland has hosted a number of previous CISM events including the soccer qualifying group for the 2007 Games, cycling, cross country running and boxing. The continued participation of the Irish Defence Forces in CISM competition is crucial to maintaining high sports and physical fitness standards while fostering positive relationships with other
Armed Forces.


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