They may not yet have military medals pinned to their chests, but several of those marching in a recruits’ passing-out parade at Collins Barracks have bucketloads of sports medals.
Among the members of 140th Recruit Platoon who have completed 17 weeks of gruelling training were accomplished hurlers, handballers, and soccer and rugby players.
Probably the best-known recruit on the parade ground yesterday was Denis Maher, 25, who has played inter-county with the Tipperary senior hurling team. He also received the prize for best overall recruit.
Cork recruit James McSweeny has Munster and All-Ireland intermediate hurling medals. Darren Cleary from Tipperary won a Munster Final J2 Cup last year with his rugby club, while Michael Clancy, 23, from Clare, plays rugby with Ennis and Glen O’Sullivan captains Cobh Pirates rugby team.
Recruit Tristan Fogarty, 19, from Tipperary was an All-Ireland finalist with his school’s basketball team. His fellow county man John Kerins, 20, has won Irish and Munster medals for handball and Munster medals in boxing.
Ex-soldier Eugene Murphy, from Kerry, looked on proudly as his nephew David Scannell, a Cork minor hurler, took part in the passing-out parade.
David’s cousin, Wayne Murphy from Gurranabraher, was also on hand to watch the occasion — he is a trooper stationed at the barracks with the 1st Cavalry Squadron.
Eugene was based in the barracks for 20 years and undertook seven UN peace-keeping trips to Lebanon. “It’s really a proud day to see the family’s tradition of serving with the army carrying on,” he said.
Recruit Adam Burke, 22, also has an uncle serving in the army, Corporal Cyril Aherne, while his colleague, Shane Cole, has a father serving with the battalion’s artillery, Sgt Tony Cole.
The award for best tactical student went to Derek Kiely, a talented all-round sportsman from Cork, while recruit Dale Condon, 19, also from Cork, was declared the best shot.
Brig General Philip Brennan, the General Officer Commanding 1 Brigade, which has its headquarters at the barracks, said it was “a significant milestone in the professional and personal development” of the 34 young soldiers.
“The solemn oath which the members of the platoon took on the day they enlisted in the Defence Forces is not taken lightly and your commitment and loyalty to Óglaigh na hÉireann must always be seen as a serious undertaking. You are leaders of the future,” said the senior officer.
“All of you are a credit to your parents and families.”
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