Local Army Reservists have proven themselves as sharp shooters as they were crowned champions during the annual Royal Irish Regiment operational shooting competition at Magilligan Training Centre.
B Company 2nd Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment (2 R IRISH) is based at two locations in Lowfield Camp Army Reserve Centre, Ballymena and Abbotscroft Army Reserve Centre, Newtownabbey, but has Reservists from across Co. Antrim and Belfast.
The cup everyone was trying to win was the Battalion’s silver Musketry Cup first presented in 1889 and originating from The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.
It was a hard fought victory over two days and nine different shoots that saw off close competition from rival Reservist teams from Belfast, Lisburn, Portadown, Armagh and Enniskillen.
After thousands of shots fired the result came down to the final rounds in the last shoot, a “March and Shoot”, where teams ran a 2 mile course in 20 minutes with helmet, body armour, rifle and carrying 16 lbs of weight before completing the shoot.
Ballymena Reservist, Colour Sergeant Cathcart, was delighted with the result, he said: “It has been 10 long years since the Company has won this competition, and it is a fantastic feeling to finally bring the cup home again. We have been training a number of younger shots and the balance between youth and experience has just got us across the line.”
For the first time a team from the 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment, the Army Reserve battalion’s paired Regular Army battalion from Ternhill Shropshire, entered a team. The Regular Army team, consisting of soldiers from across Ireland, was impressed with the skill of their fellow Reservists. Lance Corporal Pearse Murphy from Cork said, “These guys might be part-time, but they have shown us they have a real appetite to be the best. The standard of some of their shooting was incredible, and underlines the experience and professionalism of the Army Reserve. It has been a very enjoyable weekend competing and socialising with our Reservist colleagues. It has highlighted the strength of the bond between both battalions. I look forward to coming back next year and winning their trophy.”
Some of the winning team will now form a Battalion team as one of the teams representing Northern Ireland at the national shooting competition at Bisley, London later in the Summer. Final thoughts were left to Ranger Andrew Dance, a Reservist from Newtownabbey, “Since joining the Army Reserve I have had a number of great experiences and getting a medal and lifting the cup is the icing on the cake to date. The Army Reserve just brings out the best in you.”
B Company 2nd Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment is always looking for new talent so if you have the drive, ambition and interest and are reasonably fit, telephone 028 92260042, or text INFO to 07920 232380; or for more information search “army jobs” and go to Army Reserve at www.army.mod.uk, register your interest and you’ll be contacted by email or phone.
If its excitement you want then state “Combat” as a role. One of the recruiters will then make contact and invite you in to meet them in person.