Irish Defence Forces Claim Extraordinary Victory Over UK Armed Forces

Irish Defence Forces Claim Extraordinary Victory Over UK Armed Forces

October 20, 2021 will be remembered for a long time amongst members of the Irish Defence Forces, past and present, who have an interest in football. It is the day the Irish Defence Forces football team came from behind to shock their UK counterparts and claim the Perpetual Friendship Shield for 2021.

Ronan Kerin opened the scoring for Ireland, with a well-taken goal in the very first minute of the game. The UK Armed Forces fought back and scored the next two goals. The Perpetual Friendship Shield seemed to be theirs as the Irish Defence Forces trailed 2-1 heading into second half injury time. But Ireland's never-say-die attitude was personified by Ryan Gaffney, who headed in with a brilliant goal in the 95th minute. Penalties were then inevitable.

From there goalkeeper Gavin Mulreany provided all the heroics. He amazingly stopped a penalty from England captain Kerr. Glen Fullum converted Ireland's sixth penalty. The Donegal man then saved the penalty from Sgt Mike Atkinson, which spawned wild celebrations and 'campeones' chants.

You can watch all the highlights from a brilliant match here.


It's the first time the countries have played since 2019, when the UKAF defeated Ireland 2-1.

Here is a match report provided by the Irish Defence Forces.:

The Irish Defence Forces beat the UKAF today on penalties after a fantastic 2-2 draw in Havant and Waterloo's stadium in Southern England today.
It was a fantastic result for the Irish Team having lost the shield in 2019 in a 2-1 lose in Richmond Park Dublin and due to COVID not having the opportunity to fight again for it until today.

The pre camp is only the second time the team have been together since 2019 due to COVID and and the Defence Forces key role in supporting the state during it.

The Irish Defence Forces took a goal within the first 2 Mins with Ronan Kerins exploiting an error by the UK at the back to put the Irish into the lead. Cpl Kerins is preparing to travel overseas to UNDOF and will depart in the next Month showing great commitment to the team traveling to play.


The Irish Defence Forces dominated the first half but did not take their chances. The UKAF punished the Irish before the break when a mistake from the Irish Keeper allowed a Tap In for UKAF. The Irish Keeper (Gavin Mulreaney) made up for this 2 mins later with an excellent 1-1 save to prevent the Irish going in behind at half time. The Irish were then forced into a change when Crarford picked but a knock and had to be replaced by Glenn Fullum of Crumlin United. Adrain Rafferty then hit the post from 20 yards to deny the Irish an excellent finish to what was a very strong first half. The midfield 3 of Poutch, Crawford and O’Riordan were dominating proceedings with the 2 Delaneys (Scott and Lee) controlling the back line and the Irish went in feeling they should have got themselves in front by HT.

The Second have started with some fierce UKAF tackles and it was clear they had received harsh words at half time and began the second half very well. An injury to Ronan Kerins who had been excellent compounded Ireland's problems being replaced by Gavin Dillon. The UKAF took the lead through a well worked goal after a spell of possession for the UKAF.

The Irish began to regain control of the game from this point bringing on Fresh Legs from Dean Tilley and Ryan Gaffney. They played some good football and the tackles began flying in as the game edged towards the final 10 mins.

The last 10 mins of the game was excellent to watch with the UKAF playing counter attacking football and the Irish pressing the UKAF high and playing some excellent Football. The UKAF hit the bar and Gavin Mulreaney made 2 excellent saves in the final 10 mins with the Irish DF also hitting the bar and having a header cleared of the line. Then came the games best moment. In the 94th min the Irish DF didn’t go long and played the ball out from the back with Aiden Friel receiving the ball from Scott Delaney on the turn he played the ball into the 10, who played it first time to Dean Tilley (RF) who played a return ball down the line for Friel who continued his run. Friel played an excellent ball into the box and the Ryan Gaffney came from deep to head home a last minute equaliser.

If that Drama wasn’t enough it was down to pens to decide who would take the trophy home. The Irish were 1-0 down after the first 2 pens from each side. Then Gavin Mulreaney turned hero with 4 saves in row, the last of which was the winning save after Ryan Gaffney scored his Sudden Death Spotkick. Jubilant scenes ensued with Irish staff and players celebrating on the pitch.

A super win for the DF who will look to carry this forward into the return of CISM tournaments in 2022.

Squad: Gavin Mulreany, Dean Tilley, Aidan Friel, Lee Delaney, Scott Delaney, Craig Doran, Dave Long, Sean Poutch, Dave O’Riordan, C Crawford, Glenn Fullum, Ryan Gaffney, Adrain Rafferty, Ronan Kerins, Danny Keane, Shane Hallahan, Ben Donoughue

Staff: Colm Kavangh, Lloyd Murphy, Richie Crowe, Gavin Holigan, Ray McCann

SEE ALSO: Goal Of The Year Contender As Irish Defence Forces Hammer USA 6-1

Donny Mahoney
Article written by
Donny Mahoney is Chief Sportswriter and one of the founders of

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