Monday 07 March 2016 - Defence Forces GAA Stars Present National Flags.

The Defence Forces proudly assisted with the presentation of flags and proclamation packs to approximately 6000 secondary school representatives today in collaboration with the Ireland 2016 programme and the Thomas Francis Meagher Foundation.This is in addition to the 3200 primary schools nationwide that received packs under the Flags to Schools initiative since September.

Read more about The Flags to Schools Initiative

The Defence Forces provided a Presidential Escort of Honour by 2 Cavalry Squadron, a Captain's Guard of Honour by the 12th Infantry Battalion, music by the Army No 1 Band and the packs were delivered to the schools by prominent sports people that are members of the Defence Forces; camogie star Corporal Gemma O'Connor (Cork), hurling stars Major General Kieran Brennan, Corporal Paul Murphy (Kilkenny), and national handball champion Ordinary Mechanic Robbie McCarthy (Westmeath) of the Irish Naval Service.

The delivery of these packs today will assist secondary schools participate in Proclamation Day on the 15th of March, where schools are encouraged to use their packs to hold small flag raising ceremonies and recite and engage with the Proclamation, bringing a deeper understanding of our national identity to the next generation of Irish men and women, and indeed a new generation of multi cultural Irish.

Profiles of the four GAA Stars that presented flags today:

Major General Kieran Brennan (Hurling)

  • Major General Kieran Brennan is the Deputy Chief of Staff (Ops) since 16th June 2015, a native of Jenkinstown, Co. Kilkenny, he won two All-Ireland senior hurling medals in 1982 and 1983 and received a GAA All Star Award in 1984. Throughout his career, Major General Brennan has served in key staff and command appointments at Battalion, Brigade and Defence Force Headquarter level.
  • He completed two tours of duty with United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) in 1982 and 1997. He served as Company Commander with the 28 Irish Infantry Group KFOR as part of a Multinational Battle Group in Kosovo in 2004. In 2008 Major General Brennan commanded the 98 Infantry Battalion with the EUFOR Mission in Chad, and in 2010 he served as Deputy Military Advisor to the Permanent Mission of Ireland to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Vienna.
  • Major General Brennan is married to Maria and they have three children; Karen is a National School teacher while Kieran and Shane are a Captain and Lieutenant respectively in the Defence Forces.

Corporal Gemma O’Connor (Camogie)

  • Corporal Gemma O’Connor has 12 years service in the Defence Forces. On completion of recruit training she served in 4th Infantry Battalion, Collin’s Barracks Cork and now serves as a training instructor in 1 Brigade Training Centre. She is from Ballyphelane, Cork City and plays Camogie with St Finbarr’s.
  • She has served three tours of duty overseas to Liberia, Chad & Lebanon. One of the most decorated athletes in GAA history, her sporting accolades include 7 Senior All-Ireland Camogie titles representing Cork, 2 minor titles, numerous Defence Forces titles in Camogie, Ladies Football, Soccer & rugby.
  • She has received Camogie Player of the Year award twice and is the recipient of nine All Star Awards.

Corporal Paul Murphy (Hurling)

  • Corporal Paul Murphy entered the Defence Forces as a member of the 123rd Recruit Platoon, stationed in 12th Inf Bn, Sarsfield Barracks, Limerick in 2008. Upon passing out, Corporal Murphy was stationed in 3rd Infantry Battalion, Stephens Barracks, Kilkenny before deploying to Chad with 101st Battalion MINURCAT.
  • An accomplished marksman Corporal Murphy has won 3 All Army General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) shooting titles.

  • Corporal Murphy is part of the Kilkenny Senior Hurling panel, having joined the panel in 2011. Since then Corporal Murphy has won 4 All Ireland Senior Hurling Medals and 4 All Stars.
  • He is part of the Defence Forces Hurling team, captaining it for two years.

Ordinary Mechanic Robbie McCarthy (Handball)

  • Ordinary Mechanic McCarthy has been a member of the Naval Service since October 2014. He is currently carrying out his training as a mechanic on board L.É. NIAMH.
  • He is from Mullingar in County Westmeath where he has a fiancé and 2 children, a boy aged 3 and a girl aged 6.
  • An excellent handballer, he has 25 All Ireland titles and 8 World titles to his name and is currently ranked no.2 in the world and no.1 in Ireland.
  • Since joining the Defence Forces he has also added 6 Defence Forces Medals to his name. He also has played county football and hurling for Westmeath.


View a gallery of images from Todays Ceremony

Read more about Defence Forces 2016


Press Release Date: Monday 07 March 2016

For Further Information contact:

Press Officer: Comdt. Pat O'Connor

Tel: 045 49 2502 , 045 49 2503

Mobile : 087 2482130

E-mail: Press Officer