FOUR Irish win Medal of Honor – Kevin Sheedy and Italia 90 at Today in Irish History

June 11: TODAY in Irish History:

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Kevin Sheedy

Snippets of Irish History by Conor Cunneen IrishmanSpeaks 

Conor is a Chicago based Motivational Humorous Business Speaker, Author and History buff.

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1871: Four Irishmen win Medal of Honor

During the Korean Expedition FOUR Irishmen were awarded the Medal of Honor.

The citation for Patrick Henry Grace reads:

“The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Chief Quartermaster Patrick Henry Grace, United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism in action on board the U.S.S. Benicia during the attack on the Korean forts, 10 and 11 June 1871. Carrying out his duties with coolness, Chief Quartermaster Grace set forth gallant and meritorious conduct throughout this action.”

James Dougherty (born Langash? Ireland 1839) citation:

“On board the U.S.S. Carondelet in various actions of that vessel. Wounded several times, Dougherty invariably returned to duty, presenting an example of constancy and devotion to the flag.”

Cork born John Coleman’s citation:

“The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Private John Coleman, United States Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism in action on board the U.S.S. Colorado in action at Korea on 11 June 1871. Fighting hand-to-hand with the enemy, Private Coleman succeeded in saving the life of Alexander McKenzie.”

Michael McNamara (County Clare) Citation:

The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Private Michael McNamara, United States Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism in action on board the U.S.S. Benecia during the capture of the Korean forts, 11 June 1871. Advancing to the parapet, Private McNamara wrenched the match-lock from the hands of an enemy and killed him.




1886: Belfast Riots Continue

The ongoing riots in Belfast partly spawned by the Loyalist victory in defeating Gladstone’ Home Rule bill are referenced in the House of Commons.

Belfast Riots (from ‘The Illustrated London News’, 19th June 1886 (engraving), English School, (19th century) / Private Collection / The Bridgeman Art Library)


THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. CHILDERS) (Edinburgh, S.) I will read to the House, in reply to the hon. Member’s Question, the whole of the information which has reached me from my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary. My right hon. Friend telegraphed to me at 1 o’clock this afternoon the following:— In addition to the statement made by me in the House last night, the only official information received goes to show that the rioting was continued in Belfast last night over a more extended area than on the previous night, that all available police and military were employed, and that there were no fatal results. One policeman is reported to have been shot in the face. We have a large number of very experienced magistrates in Belfast, and every requisition made by them has been promptly attended to. There are now over 1,600 constabulary in the town, the normal force being 502, and the military have been augmented by 250 men despatched from Dublin last night. I received a second telegram at 4 o’clock this afternoon, which is as follows:— Further telegrams from Belfast show no material change of any sort. The most serious rioting last night took place at York Street and Henley Street, at the junction of which the police were obliged to fire on the mob who were stoning the police and wrecking houses, and several men were more or less injured, but none seriously, so far as at present ascertained. Several of the police were knocked down before they fired. The rioting spread to other parts of the town, and several public-houses were wrecked and liquor carried away. This rioting was more directed against public-houses than against the police. Public-houses will be closed this evening, and the Mayor will 1491 issue a notice with a view of preventing assembling of people in the streets. That is every word I have received from the right hon. Gentleman, and I am unable to answer anything further.




1990: Italia ’90 – Ireland draw with England

Ireland plays England in its first ever match in the World Cup Finals. England took an early lead courtesy of master poacher Gary Lineker. Ireland, under the managership of “Big Jack” Charlton (who had won a World Cup medal with England 1966) fought back to equalize with a goal by Welsh-born Kevin Sheedy. Irish football authorities took advantage of FIFA rules which allowed anyone with an Irish born parent / grandparent to play for Ireland. A soccer mad Irish nation didn’t care as Ireland came to a complete stop during Italia 90.


READ: Biography Kevin Sheedy


In an amazing journey, Ireland managed to qualify for the quarter finals without winning a game! Draws against England, Egypt 0-0, Netherland 1-1 and finally a penalty kick victory 5-4 agaisnst Romania after another 0-0 draw saw Ireland matched against hosts Italy in Rome. The dream ended after a 1-0 defeat.

Ireland team (and place of birth if not Ireland) Vs. England

Pat (Packy) Bonner, Chris Morris (England), Steve Staunton, Mick McCarthy (England), Kevin Moran, Paul McGrath (England), Ray Houghton (Scotland), Kevin Sheedy (England), Andy Townsend (England), John Aldridge (England), Tony Cascarino (England)





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Want to learn more about Ireland? See these images and more in the acclaimed For the Love of Being Irish

Irish gift ideas. Best selling Irish booksRonnie Drew and Luke Kelly - Musical Irish Gifts to the worldJoyce Image in For the Love of Being IrishMichael Collins: Image from For the Love of Being Irish


This history is written by Irish author, business keynote speaker and award winning humorist IrishmanSpeaks – Conor Cunneen. If you spot any inaccuracies or wish to make a comment, please don’t hesitate to contact us via the comment button.

Visit Conor’s YouTube channel IrishmanSpeaks to Laugh and Learn.

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