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Republic of Ireland

A New Era…10 Talking Points

oneill keane Two games into the reign of O’Neill/Keane and the shot in the arm to Irish soccer has been like an adrenaline rush following the tedium of Trap’s last days. A positive display against Latvia followed by more of the same in Poland before an element of tiredness set in has given everyone reason for optimism. If only we’d had this six months ago. Here’s ten talking points. Continue reading →

Guest Post: Misery Merchants Back Aboard the Bandwagon

aviva stadium They’re calling them ‘Box-Office. The unveiling of Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane as Ireland’s new management has sparked a frenzy of interest in the home friendly with Latvia. Yet, if the duo weren’t in place next week, if there was no appointment, Irish ‘supporters’ would stay away in their droves. Billy Keane of Back-Post.com wonders if the Irish team would be better off without the event-junkies. Continue reading →

Roy Keane Owes Us One

keane He’s back. After a decade of railing against a host of Irish football’s inadequacies; the blazers, the players, even the fans; Roy Keane has jumped the fence, baby! Diarmuid O hAinle, author of It Started with a Handshake, reacts to the Corkman’s return and says Keane owes us one. Continue reading →

Irish Fans Keane to Move On

roy keane eyes It was one of the ugliest scenes witnessed at Lansdowne Road. Not the rampaging of English fans hurling rubble onto Irish supporters. Rather Irish supporters hurling vitriol at a former hero who had captained the country in our first ever World Cup, who had cried in the dressing room when we failed to beat Italy in the quarter-final, who later managed his country to another tournament, and who endured, along with his adversarial skipper, a trauma that would scar any man in ordinary life, let alone his footballing one. Continue reading →

Keano Saves Galaxy’s Play-off Hopes

keane v seattle Robbie Keane cancelled out Clint Dempsey’s earlier strike to send LA Galaxy into the Western Conference semi-final against Real Salt Lake. The result means Galaxy avoid the ‘Play-in’ knock-out round. Meanwhile, Thierry Henry’s New York Red Bulls captured the Eastern title and could yet face Keane’s defending champions for the MLS Cup. Continue reading →

King vs The RTE Panel Turns Nasty

noel king interview It all kicked off at the Aviva Stadium in the aftermath of Ireland’s win over Kazakhstan. Noel King didn’t take kindly to some questioning by RTE’s Tony O’Donoghue while the panel responded with Eamon Dunphy labelling King a ‘bully’. Nasty stuff tonight overshadowing a win for the Boys in Green that could secure a second spot seeding for the Euro 2016 draw. Continue reading →

Last Meeting: Cat’s Out of Kazakh

Untitled Ireland’s performance in Astana in the opening game on the road to Brazil set off alarm bells. A smash and grab raid at the death with a Robbie Keane penalty and a late show from substitute Kevin Doyle earned Giovanni Trapattoni a scarcely deserved victory. Ireland’s low morale and rudderless game-plan meant even the minnows knew how to trouble us. The cat was out of the bag. Continue reading →

Comedy Show but Who’s Laughing?

rte panel 2 It was a question posed by Bill O’Herlihy; was Friday’s defeat in Cologne as bad as the 6-1 loss in Dublin at the beginning of the campaign? Eamon Dunphy said it was worse. His colleagues Liam Brady and John Giles avoided giving a direct answer. And Noel King’s reaction to the RTE panel points to a disconnect that’s anything but funny. Continue reading →

Löw Lie the Fields of Athenry

Pic: Sean MacEntee With Ireland travelling to Germany for our penultimate qualifier, our minds are cast back to the 6-1 drubbing at home. The reaction of Friday’s hosts following the Aviva Stadium clash seemed to foresee the beginning of the end for the manager, and the growing unrest of the Irish fans. Continue reading →

View from the Other Side: Turbulence Ahead in Rhine Air

mesut ozil muslim 1 Aleix Gwilliam, co-editor of the English-language German-football website Bundesliga Fanatic, predicts a much different game between Ireland and Germany on Friday than the hammering in Dublin. Joachim Löw’s squad selection has not been without controversy but with qualification still to be secured, it could prove another long night on the banks of the Rhine for Noel King’s Ireland no matter what tactics he tries. Continue reading →

History Lessons: Return to Cologne

Ireland germany 1951 It’s become an urban footballing legend that Germany’s away shirt is green in homage to Ireland being their first opponents after the end of World War II. Except it’s not true. Well, at least the part about the second kit. Ireland did indeed play host to Germany’s first game overseas, however, following the conflict that ravaged Europe. And seven months later we travelled to Cologne for a friendly, 61 years before this Friday’s meeting in the same city. Continue reading →

The Once and Future King?

noel king sideline effect It seems it has only been in the wake of Giovanni Trapatonni’s departure, that Irish football has begun some serious soul-searching. The Italian’s time in charge has polarised the debate on whether the manager was to blame for the senior team’s ills, or as many are grappling with; ‘We just don’t have the players’. And yet, is John Delaney, Irish soccer’s kingmaker, ignoring the opportunity to change the strategy? Continue reading →

Return of the King

noel king 1990 aldo edit Noel King returns to the Irish senior set-up as caretaker manager 23 years after his involvement as coach with Jack Charlton at Italia 90. King replaces Giovanni Trapattoni in the Irish dug-out for the final World Cup qualifiers with Germany and Kazakhstan, stepping up from his role as U21 coach. Continue reading →

Ireland Manager: Mark ’02

mick mccarthy 2002 edit With the news that the FAI plan to bide their time with the appointment of a new manager, we’re likely to see some new names enter the race. The last Irish squad to qualify for a World Cup could yet prove a breeding ground for future coaches of the national team. With many of the class of ’02 dipping their toes in the management waters, and the two main protagonists Mick McCarthy and Roy Keane among the contenders to succeed Giovanni Trapattoni, Diarmuid o hAinle looks at alternatives to the seemingly manager-elect Martin O’Neill. Continue reading →

No Country for Old Men

TrapInfographic Trap & Ireland – A Living History. From despair to hope and back again. And so another chapter in the Irish football story closed early on Wednesday morning with the inevitable parting of ways with the man we all came to know only as Trap. Over the next few days, established scribes will jostle for position in drafting a definitive obituary over his reign and attempt to put into context what the Italian has done, what he has said, the way he made us feel and lastly how he will be remembered. So in the spirit of the documentation of living history, Damage Limitation add to the column inches and gives their own take on Trap the manager, Trap the man and his achievements over the past 6 years. Continue reading →

Gael Force: A Whole New Ball Game

TikiTka What happens when a kid comes from Gaelic training on Tuesday urged to play long ball, then at soccer training Wednesday, his coaches tell him something very different? The departure of Giovanni Trapattoni has sparked a bout of soul-searching among Ireland’s football community. The refrain “We just don’t have the players” has focused the attention on just what is happening at grassroots. As the main criticism of Trapatonni centred on Ireland’s manner of play, the issues run far deeper than the senior team. Diarmuid o hAinle explores a uniquely Irish state of affairs and the influence of Gaelic Games on young players. Continue reading →

No More Dreams and Songs to Sing…10 Talking Points

vid There’ll be no Green Army on the Copacabana, no swansong for Trapattoni at the World Cup (though the Italian might go there yet), and no death ball from above in the manner Ireland bombed out of the European Championship. There’ll be a new man in charge to lead the Boys in Green to France in 2016 and it’s the end of the line for some Irish players while others need to ask if they gave enough to the cause. Here’s 10 talking points from some traumatic days in Irish football. Continue reading →

End of the World for Trap and Ireland

Untitled Ireland’s defeat in Austria has heralded the end of the Trapattoni era, with the manager and assistant Marco Tardelli parting company with the FAI by ‘mutual consent. The Italian, who has been in charge since 2008, paid tribute to the Irish supporters and said he leaves the job “with emotion.” Read the full FAI statement. Continue reading →

Dalymount, 1963, Ireland 3-2 Austria

ireland-1963-crop The last time Ireland defeated Austria was in Dublin in 1963 in front of almost 40,000 at Dalymount Park in a European qualifier. Having drawn 0-0 in Vienna three weeks earlier, Ireland progressed to the last eight of the European Nations Cup thanks to a 3-2 win with two goals coming from Manchester United’s Noel Cantwell. Continue reading →

‘Maestro’ Trap Faces Austrian Mountain

trap close up crop Both smarting from defeats last Friday and trailing the play-off spot by three points, Austria and Ireland face off in Vienna desperately clinging to hope. Georg Sander of 90minuten.au traces the recent development of Austrian football, claiming the current defence is a weakness, and that former Salzburg coach Trapattoni still holds a fascination for the natives – an allure that has all but disappeared in Ireland. Continue reading →

Vien-d of the World

Untitled Some would say he was at the helm of Ireland for too long, with some ageing players, a direct style of play deemed no longer suitable for international football, and, with defeat in Austria, headed for the exit door. There are many parallels between Jack Charlton’s last days as Irish boss and the apparent imminent end of the Giovanni Trapattoni era. Vienna forms the back-drop to both. Continue reading →

Swedes Told ‘No’ To Aviva March

swedish fans march A request by Swedish fans to march from Dublin city centre to the Aviva Stadium on Friday evening and perform a Tifo display in the grounds, has been turned down by the Gardai and FAI. Up to 6,000 Swedes are expected at the crunch World Cup encounter but the march, which has become a tradition on away trips, has been ruled out by the authorities while an in-stadium display has also been shot down. Continue reading →