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 →

When East Beat West

east germany 2 November 9th marks the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. When Joachim Loew’s German side triumphed in Brazil last July, 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 →

Audio: The Alan McLoughlin Interview

AlanMcLoughlin-01 An Irish football hero since November 1993, Alan McLoughlin chats to Póg Mo Goal’s Dave O’Grady about the release of ‘A Different Shade of Green – The Alan McLoughlin Story’, nominated for Irish Sports Book of the Year. He talks about his personal battle with cancer, that famous night in Windsor Park, Roy Keane’s Rolex watch and much more. 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 Support Doesn’t Work

Unbenannt They’re regarded as being among the best football supporters in the world and were featured in a promotional campaign about Ireland’s loyal Green Army of fans. But with some missing out on tickets for the qualifier with Scotland, and the FAI coming under fire, a new protest video has emerged. Continue reading →

No German Panic but Fighting Irish Could Strike Another Blow

germany fans Call it a World Cup hangover, but the Germans are still feeling a little delicate since their caipirinha-fuelled conquest by the Copacabana. Retirements and injuries have certainly affected ‘Die Mannschaft’ and their performances since the Maracana triumph have been sluggish. A friendly-drubbing at the hands of Argentina was followed up with the nervy win over Scotland, and a shock defeat to Poland. But German football fans don’t necessarily care. They are the world champions. And the country is still basking in the Brazilian glow. The flags remain on cars and outside houses, if a little more ragged now, a bit like Jogi Loew’s squad. Continue reading →

Back to Gelsenkirchen

bonner euro 88 Ireland play Germany at Schalke 04’s Veltins Arena in Gelsenkirchen but it was at the nearby Parkstadion 26 years ago that the Boys in Green first made their mark only for Wim Kieft’s header to take a cruel bounce to end our Euro ’88 dream. Continue reading →

When Killer Met Keane

10334269_873494712662720_8112683895111861696_n Check out a teaser clip of Kevin Kilbane’s interview with former Irish teammate Roy Keane for Saturday’s Football Focus on BBC One. You can also watch RTE’s Tony O’Donoghue interviewing his fellow Corkman where he asks Keane outright if he walked out of the World Cup in Saipan. 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 →

New Ireland Away Kit

Umbro-Ireland-2014-2015-Away-Kit (1) Umbro have revealed the new Ireland away kit which will be worn for the first time in the Euro 2016 qualifying game against Scotland in Glasgow this November. The design takes inspiration from the second strip worn at the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea Continue reading →

Robbie Keane Chips in With Wonder Goal

robbie keane la v ny Robbie Keane warmed up for Ireland’s upcoming crucial qualifiers, including a tilt at the world champions Germany, with a brace for LA Galaxy against New York Red Bulls. His first was an exquisite chip from Landon Donovan’s pass. Robbie also batted away questions on whether he’d be voted the league’s MVP. 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 →