Wexford soldiers to play in Euros
Three soldiers from Co Wexford will be participating this week in the armed forces European Soccer Championships which are taking place in Holland.
On Thursday the three soldiers, Ricky Fox and Chris Kenny (both from Enniscorthy) and Tony Smith (from Castlebridge), met with Minister Paul Kehoe, assistant manager of the Irish national team, Robbie Keane, and Assistant Chief of Staff with the Irish army, Brigadier General Peter O'Halloran, who all gave them words of encouragement ahead of their trip.
The defence forces team will participate in the championships from now until Saturday, December 8. The competition is a qualifying event for the world cup with the top three teams going forward to compete in the World CISM Games which will take place in China next October.
The Irish are in a group with France and Lithuania and the first game will take place tomorrow, Wednesday, December 5, against Lithuania.
The second game will be held on Friday, December 7. The second group in the competition will feature Germany, Holland and Greece and the two group winners will qualify automatically for the World Cup while the best runner-up will also qualify.
The Irish squad is composed of 18 players along with six coaching and backroom staff.
Wexford is the second best represented county in the squad and that's something the three Model County soldiers are rightly proud of.
The team prepared for the Euros with nine games over the last four weeks resulting in seven wins and two draws against Leinster senior league and college opposition.
The team's final preparation game was against Newry City and resulted in a 0-0 draw.
Confidence is high in the Irish camp as the team was unbeaten in the preparation fixtures.
A spokesperson for the squad said the commitment shown by the players and staff 'has been exceptional'.
The prep work included several nights away from home as part of the training programme.
Minister Kehoe and Brigadier General O'Halloran, who is also the President of Defence Forces Soccer, acknowledged the support received from the FAI in preparing for the tournament and said that fact is greatly appreciated by the general staff and members of the squad.