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Reserve Forces & Cadets Association
Northern Ireland



16 May 2018

As exam season finally finishes and Summer holidays beckon, Northern Ireland teenagers have been facing yet more tests, this time in the form of forty hours of tough physical and mental challenge in the Northern Ireland Army Cadet Force Military Skills Competition.

The cadet teams came from across Northern Ireland and competed in a range of military skills, including First Aid, command tasks, fieldcraft, signals, skill at arms and observation. 

It’s a famously tough weekend, but also hugely popular with participants, as Colonel Paul Shepard, Colonel Cadets 38 (Irish) Brigade explains. “You could be excused for thinking that, by this time of the year, teenagers have had quite enough of tests and exams, yet this is always one of our most popular events.  The Cadets enjoy the physicality of the challenges and they really relish getting out of the classroom and into the fresh air for some outdoor adventure – it’s a terrific stress-buster! 

“We deliberately create for them a challenging environment in order to promote their teamwork and leadership skills, but of course our young people are expertly supervised throughout, as well as encouraged and supported.  The result is a weekend when the craic is almost as mighty as the competitive spirit!  Win or lose, the Cadets will all have had a fun weekend building friendships, skills and fitness, learning that taking part in real life adventure beats virtual reality every time!”

After an exciting weekend, the A Company Team 1 Cadets were delighted to emerge victorious.  Pictured above celebrating their success alongside the ever-popular Royal Irish Regiment’s Mascot, Brian Boru X and his handler are, from left, Cadet Colour Sergeant Peter Watson, Cadet Sergeant Harry Clements, Cadet Sergeant Davey Park, Cadet Colour Sergeant Cameron McFarland, Cadet Regimental Sergeant Major Jack Crawford, Cadet Company Sergeant Major Matthew Kelly, Cadet Colour Sergeant Aaron McElroy and Cadet Sergeant Joe Patton.

The runners up team were 2nd Battalion, H Company Team 1, pictured below.  Their Section Commander, Cadet Company Sgt Major Ryan McMaster (photo bottom left), from Grosvenor Grammar School Detachment, won best overall Section Commander, closely followed by Cadet RSM Jack Crawford (photo bottom right) from the winning team.


Congratulations to all of the teams who took part in what was a fantastic competition.