Chris Kenny set to star for Ireland in World Military Games
The Wexford native, who has played for Wexford Youths and Sligo Rovers in the SSE Airtricity League, returned to the football pitch two days after returning home from Lebanon in a bid to earn his place in the Defence Forces squad for the upcoming CISM World Military Games qualifiers in the Netherlands.
Six European teams are battling it out for three spots, to qualify for next year’s competition in China. Ireland will face France and Lithuania, knowing their spot is guaranteed if they win the three-team group. Second-place could also be enough for the side.
Kenny has represented the team before at international level, and he says the pride of representing his country on the field is the highlight of his footballing career.
“My job as a soldier is to represent my country on a daily basis. One of my first loves is football. To get to represent your country doing that, no matter what the level is an unbelievable achievement. I’m just happy to get the opportunity to do so again.”
Kenny is one of a handful of players to have played in the SSE Airtricity League. Aidan Friel will captain the side in the Netherlands, having been part of the Finn Harps side that won promotion to the Premier Division earlier this year. Kenny feels the team travelling to the Netherlands would be a match for any side in the First Division.
“I reckon we would challenge for a First Division side. Most of the squad are in the Leinster Senior League. I’d expect us to make the play-offs in the First Division.
Under manager Capt. Richie Barber, the team have played warm-up games against local opposition winning seven of their nine matches and drawing the other two.
Kenny says the squad know what’s required of them and the squad “won’t be sitting back” against Lithuania and France.
The squad travel to Harskamp in the Netherlands on Sunday, before their opening match on Wednesday against Lithuania.
Ireland Defence Forces Squad:
Goalkeepers: Ken Deegan (St. Francis), Darren Kelly (Lucan United), 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 (Shamrock Rovers), 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)