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The Blog Reel

‘El Nino’ Returns

B6hUQgjCQAAnZmd When Póg Mo Goal spent some time living in Madrid, the Galácticos hype was at its peak. The Bernabéu Stadium was a mecca for day-trippers as the glamour of the game’s biggest names proved intoxicating. Across the city, however, beleaguered Atlético supporters still packed the Estadio Vincente Calderon and sang the name of ‘El Nino’. Now Fernando Torres has returned. Continue reading →

On Our Way to Paradise?

Mark Lawrenson Scotland Unless you’re counting the 90 minutes in Paris which took the infamous play-off to extra-time, Ireland haven’t beaten a direct qualification rival away from home since a trip to Glasgow in 1987. With the Republic and Scotland reunited in Celtic Park on Friday, can history repeat itself? Continue reading →

A Different Shade of Green – The Alan McLoughlin Story

alan mcloughlin pic Gary Mackay’s goal for Scotland sent Ireland to Euro ’88. A facile win in Malta secured passage to our first ever World Cup in 1990. Play-offs, where the job was virtually done in the first leg, earned us the right to compete on a global stage in 2002 and 2012. The World Cup in America was different though. Irish footballing lore is peppered with iconic goals that stay at the forefront of every Republic fan’s memory. Whelan against USSR, McAteer against the Netherlands, Keane versus the Germans, even O’Shea in Gelsenkirchen. And another of those standout strikes came in Belfast in 1993. For the hero of that hour, his toughest fight was yet to come. His newly released autobiography has already been nominated for the Irish Sports Book of the Year. Continue reading →

When East Beat West

east germany 2 October 3rd is celebrated in Germany as Unity Day. When Joachim Loew’s football side triumphed in Brazil, it marked their first global title as a unified state. East and West only ever met in one World Cup, at the 1974 edition held in West Germany. Of course, East Germany were drawn in the same group as the tournament hosts. In their first and only appearance at the finals, the East shocked the watching world by beating the reigning European champions. Continue reading →

Is Doctor Quinn the Cure to Ireland’s Ills?

niall quinn side Niall Quinn is an Irish legend, a one-time top goalscorer, and a man who understands football both on and off the pitch having stepped from the changing room to the board room. So when he speaks about the development of Irish players, it’s worth paying attention. Except, we’ve heard it from Quinn before. Maybe for a man of his resources, it’s time to see action, especially if no one running Irish football is bothered to listen. Continue reading →

D-Day for Dublin’s Euro Bid

euro-cup UEFA will announce the 13 countries to host Euro 2020 on September 19 in Geneva. The Football Association of Ireland will only need to see off six rivals in its bid to host games at the multi-nation finals with 13 to be chosen from just 19 formal applications. With Scotland, Wales, and England also in the running, there’s plenty of regional competition for the capital but the Irish are confident of success this time around despite various hurdles, including football’s usual seedy politics apparently scuppering us in the past. Continue reading →

Reviving the Legacy of “Don Patricio” O’Connell

DonPatricio His name should be among the most revered in Irish football history. A former captain of both Ireland and Manchester United, he went on to manage Real Betis and FC Barcelona where he is credited with saving the Catalan giants from extinction. Instead the remains of Patrick O’Connell are buried in an unmarked grave in Kilburn, North London, an area synonymous with Irish emigrants and their broken dreams. Now a new group has come together with the aim of restoring both his final resting place and O’Connell’s reputation in the annals of the game he loved. Continue reading →

On the Mid-Night Plane to Georgia

georgia stadium Irish supporters never made it to Tbilisi when the Republic faced Georgia under Giovanni Trapatonni. Political instability moved the World Cup qualifier to Mainz, Germany. Last weekend, as the green jerseys touched down beneath the Caucuses Mountains, Tbilisi-based Mory Cunningham wondered if it was just another away match location or if the fans felt further East in this still emerging nation of stark contrasts? Continue reading →

Living the Dream

life style sports abdul Nineteen-year-old Abdeen Abdul from Navan, Co. Meath, was chosen as the winner of Life Style Sports ‘The Dream’, a nationwide search for undiscovered young Irish football talent, and will take up a once in a lifetime chance to trial for the acclaimed Nike Academy in London Continue reading →

D-Day for Dublin’s Euro Bid

euro-cup UEFA will announce the 13 countries to host Euro 2020 on September 19 in Geneva. The Football Association of Ireland will only need to see off six rivals in its bid to host games at the multi-nation finals with 13 to be chosen from just 19 formal applications. With Scotland, Wales, and England also in the running, there’s plenty of regional competition for the capital but the Irish are confident of success this time around despite various hurdles, including football’s usual seedy politics apparently scuppering us in the past. Continue reading →

Nike Genealogy of Innovation

genealogy_005 Golden Wolf the animation studio based in London’s Shoreditch bring Nike’s Genealogy of Innovation campaign to life. The I Love Dust sister company have produced spectacular visuals to tell the story of the company’s design technology over the last four decades. Continue reading →

Maracanazo, The Seleção’s Original Tragedy

Ghiggia-Uruguay-1950 It’s hard to believe now following their humiliation at the hands of Germany, that many considered this was Brazil’s World Cup to lose. Arguably you have to go back as far as 1950, when Brazil last hosted the World Cup to find a squad that had been so unduly expected to win the coveted prize in living memory. The defeat in the final – which became known as the Maracanazo, the Maracana blow – has been recalled many times in recent days, with the ghosts of 64 years ago seemimgly excorcised by the current team’s shame, writes Aidan O’Sullivan. Continue reading →

The Beautiful Game Of Thrones

tumblr_n6xmv5IcDW1taahkjo2_1280 Every four years, the bravest warriors from all the corners of the Seven Kingdoms converge to battle for The Throne. Watch the strongest showcase their skills on the battlefield MAracana in the Land of Reos. Valar morghulis, winner takes all. thebeautifulgamers.tumblr.com Continue reading →

World Cup Legends: ‘A childhood dream’

pele Amar Shah’s family ran a sports store importing footballs from Pakistan so he grew up re-enacting World Cup moments with his mates. When Adidas released a historical match-ball series for the 2010 World Cup, on a dare from his wife, he set about a mission: to have a World Cup winning legend sign each ball in the collection. This is his story. Continue reading →

Neymar, Portrait of the Artist

neymar art He’s the darling of the Brazilian national team and the poster-boy for a host nation desperately in need of a World Cup good news story. In Europe, they question if he deserves the hype after a difficult first year at Barcelona but his personality is at odds with the reputation that preceded him. As we saw in last year’s Confederations Cup, Neymar Jr could be about to light up the tournament and live up to the legend that it seems has already been created for him. Continue reading →

YBIG Football Show

ybig crop On the YBIG Football Show this week, Dave O’Grady looks at the major news of Roy Keane’s decision to turn down the Celtic job in favour of his current role, and tables a discussion on Ireland’s impressive display against Italy ahead of our two games in the USA. Continue reading →

Torres’ Atlético Shoot for the Stars

540898_335465823221308_872921764_n When Póg Mo Goal spent some time living in Madrid, the Galácticos hype was at its peak. The Bernabéu Stadium was a mecca for day-trippers as the glamour of the game’s biggest names proved intoxicating. Across the city, however, beleaguered Atletico supporters still packed the Estadio Vincente Calderon and sang the name of ‘El Nino’. Atletico Madrid, then the poor relations in Spain’s capital, have just clinched a first La Liga crown in 18 years, and, having dispatched Fernando Torres’ Chelsea along the way, now stand on the brink of European glory. Continue reading →

The YBIG Football Show

ybig crop On the YBIG Football Show this week, Dave O’Grady speaks to Dundalk defender Andy Boyle. He also catches up with YBIG’s Liam Murray about the Irish fans who took on the Northern Ireland fans in East Belfast and three Irish soccer journalists debate the Irish team ahead of Sunday’s friendly with Turkey. Continue reading →

Searching for Toto

Schillaci They’re not in Kansas anymore. Four football fans from Portsmouth are hoping to produce their own documentary travelling throughout Italy in search of Toto Schillaci, the man who finished top scorer at the 1990 World Cup and broke Irish hearts in the process. Continue reading →

Coleman and Reid Prove We Can Play Ball

Pic:  Billy Galligan/amanwithhiscamera.com With the season almost over, all eyes will turn to the World Cup in Brazil. Of course, Ireland won’t be there and the selection of Seamus Coleman and Andy Reid in their respective teams of the year is yet another indictment of Giovanni Trapattoni’s philosophy as Irish manager. They also make a mockery of the argument that we don’t have ball-players. Continue reading →

Torres Still Atleti’s Galáctico

540898_335465823221308_872921764_n When Póg Mo Goal spent some time living in Madrid, the Galácticos hype was at its peak. The Bernabéu Stadium was a mecca for day-trippers as the glamour of the game’s biggest names proved intoxicating. Across the city, however, beleaguered Atletico supporters still packed the Estadio Vincente Calderon and sang the name of ‘El Nino’. Continue reading →

Why the Republic Still Needs Robbie

robbie keane While Ireland still basks in the light of the Brian O’Driscoll love-in, his counterpart on the national football team doesn’t always enjoy 100% support. But when the history of the Irish game is written, Robbie Keane will rightly be spoken of in the same breath as our retired rugby icon. Keane still has a vital role to play in the Republic’s future fortunes. Only when he’s gone will we realise what we’ve missed. Continue reading →

That New Jack Magic

jack grealish While the Irish U21s crashed out of Euro qualification with this month’s defeat to Montenegro, one player lit up the Tallaght Stadium with his performance. Jack Grealish could be the Republic’s successor to Damien Duff, writes Dave O’Grady, host of the YBIG Football show. Continue reading →