Ireland’s successful high school football career included winning two Central Western Ontario Secondary Schools Association Championships and concluded with a scholarship to Ohio’s Kent State University. After school, Ireland signed with the Hamilton TigerCats for two seasons between 1967 and 1968, winning the Grey Cup Championship in 1967. In 1969 he went on Montreal Alouettes before returning to play for the London Lords in 1970. Ireland then turned his focus to coaching and in 1972 was voted Coach of the Year with the West Brant Juveniles. From 1973 to 1980 he coached the Brantford Bisons and was acknowledged as a Bisons Football Honour Roll coach.