Corporal faces football final before tackling first tour in Lebanon
Corporal Sinead Taylor will begin her first peacekeeping tour this month, but first she will take on Wexford Youths in Sunday's Women's FAI Senior Cup final in the Aviva Stadium.
The Offaly native, who joined the Defence Forces in 2011, will be with the 51st Infantry Group patrolling the Israeli-Lebanon border from the middle of this month.
Cpl Taylor (25) said her teammates have always been understanding about her commitments to the Defence Forces, adding: "The girls have been really good. They know I've been missing training because I've been away, but when I come back I'll be back for pre-season."
Her mother, Sharon, was "very sad" to see her depart, but said they had a family party on Friday.
"We'll be celebrating even more when she comes back," she added.
The 190 soldiers will continue the Defence Forces' long association with Lebanon during their six-month tour.
Ireland has been involved with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) since its inception in 1978.
Minister of State for Defence Paul Kehoe officially reviewed the group at a ceremony in Dublin's Cathal Brugha Barracks yesterday.
Few troops will get home for Christmas, but Commandant Brian Walsh from Galway will be able to visit his wife Cathy and his three children for a short break for the festive season.
"This is the first time that the boys are a bit older and they understand that he's going to be away for a bit longer," said Mrs Walsh.
"It'll be hard, but thank God for Facetime and Skype and all that."