Squad Rotation: A Year of Change

ireland italy euro 2012 Statistics released this week show Ireland with the fourth highest representation of footballers in the Premier League and, with the new season just starting, international boss Giovanni Trapattoni was able to name ten top flight players in his team to face Wales. This time a year ago, however, his squad was reeling from a disastrous European Championship. The manager has stuck to his word and overhauled the playing staff but for the team that lined out against Italy last summer, much has changed in just 12 months. Continue reading →

Hand of History

Untitled Perhaps unsurprisingly, Thierry Henry is a divisive figure in French football. Perceived as aloof, an adversary of Zidane, and the apparent leader of a shameful strike at the 2010 World Cup. In an extract from French Football Weekly’s Jeremy Smith’s interview with Phillipe Auclair, author of Thierry Henry: Lonely At The Top, Póg Mo Goal looks at the Frenchman’s standing in history, and THAT night in Paris. Continue reading →

Villa’s Jack the Lad Boosts Ireland

crop He’s the highly-rated winger who’s lined out for Ireland since U-15 level but such have been the performances of Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish that England came calling. Believed to have considered a switch in allegiances, in a massive boost to the Republic, the 17-year-old has accepted a call up to Noel King’s U21’s for this week’s Euro qualifier. After an exciting pre-season where he’s appeared for the club’s senior side, Shelley Osborne of Villa supporters’ site My Old Man Said takes a closer look at the rising Irish star. Continue reading →

Gael Force: A Whole New Ball Game

Untitled Champions eventually topple. As Barcelona and Spain have demonstrated their fallibility – and that of their play – so too in Gaelic football, Donegal, praised and pilloried for a revolutionary style, have been unceremoniously dumped from the All-Ireland. But what can the rise and fall of Jim McGuinness’ side tell us about the state of Irish soccer? As the main criticism of Giovanni Trapatonni centres 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 →

Lord of Gdansk – Neymar’s Barca Bow

Barcelona's Neymar gestures as he runs during their friendly soccer match against Lechia Gdansk in Gdansk Barcelona’s new signing Neymar has made his long-awaited début coming on as a 78th minute substitute in Poland. The Brazilian was introduced late on and was met with some hefty challenges from the locals Lechia Gdansk. Meanwhile Lionel Messi was up to his old tricks in the 2-2 friendly draw at the PGE Arena. Continue reading →

In Demand Mac’s the Centre of Attention

crop If there’s one universal truth in professional football, it may be that talented young players keep moving on and moving up. Sadly for Wigan supporters, it’s increasingly apparent that 22-year old midfielder James McCarthy is not exempt from this truth. Despite the 5-year contract McCarthy signed with the Latics in 2011, the last few months have seen rumours of a transfer escalate into a bidding war between top English clubs with Everton and Spurs upping the ante last week. Continue reading →

Dunne and Dusted? Richard Out of Squad

richard-dunne_2541387b Richard Dunne has been omitted from the Irish squad for the friendly clash with Wales in Cardiff. The new QPR signing’s return could depend on how much game-time he sees at Loftus Road. Meanwhile, Robbie Keane has not been asked to fly in from the States, and there’s another chance for Anthony Pilkington. Stephen Quinn is rewarded for his impressive display against Spain and is named in the squad for the August 15 friendly. Continue reading →

Red Alert: Where Next for Suarez?

suarez Despite the controversy that follows him, Luis Suarez remains a man in high demand. With rumours of a potential departure from Anfield, his performances last season and in the Confederations Cup have some of Europe’s top clubs on high alert. Who are his suitors and who might Liverpool replace him with should the Reds lose the feisty Uruguayan? Continue reading →

Up the Duff – The Comeback Kid

shane duffy everton It’s a big season for Everton’s Shane Duffy. Captain of the Irish U21 side, the Derryman is eyeing a gap in the Toffees’ back-line and a return to Giovanni Trapattoni’s Republic plans. Having suffered a life-threatening injury on international duty, Duffy knows all about comebacks. Continue reading →

Gloves Off in Battle for Irish Number One

Untitled With Liverpool’s signing of Simon Mignolet, we thought the door had opened for Keiren Westwood to reclaim the goalkeeper’s jersey for both club and country. However, Sunderland’s recruitment of Vito Mannone puts the pressure back on the Irish international who has watched from the sidelines as David Forde has grown into his role as Ireland’s ‘keeper of the faith. Continue reading →

Fan Direction #2: Cork City FORAS

CorkCity In the second of our Fan Direction series, looking at the growing phenomenon of supporter-owned football clubs in Ireland, the spotlight is on Cork City. Borne from the official supporters club, the FORAS trust became the saviours of the southern giant as she flirted with extinction. The Turners Cross outfit are now the driving force in Ireland behind an EC initiative on football governance. Continue reading →

Thin White Line Magazine

Thin White Line Magazine Thin White Line is a new football culture magazine coming out of Australia that combines great writing and photography with great design. Like American soccer magazine Howler the magazine is using crowd funding to pay for the costs of getting the publication printed. Continue reading →

Ice Ice Beattie

steven beattie Dubliner Steven Beattie is one of the growing list of Irish players who’ve come through the US Colleges’ system. Currently starring for Icelandic side Tindastóll, famous for recently spoofing Chelsea paint-drenched kit launch, Steven tells Póg Mo Goal of his experiences Stateside and the opportunities open to aspiring footballers from these shores. Continue reading →

Boys of Summer: 10 Talking Points

Republic of Ireland v Spain - International Friendly It’s been a massive end of season for the Boys in Green. Three World Cup qualifying points, positive displays against England and Spain, the emergence of Wes Hoolahan, and the growing statures of Coleman and McCarthy have whet the appetite for a real crack at toppling Austria and Sweden for a play-off berth. However, for some, criticism of the team and manager remains entrenched. Here’s 10 talking points. Continue reading →

World Cup Protests Spread To Dublin

dublin protests wide Ireland’s sizable Brazilian population was out in force on Dublin’s O’Connell Street in solidarity with their countrymen. The Confederations Cup, now underway, has become a beacon for protest in Brazil among a people who see billlions spent on white elephant stadia while hospitals are overcrowded, water is cut off in schools and public transport is in chaos. Continue reading →

Italian Job: Inter and Co Eye Up Old Lady

FC Internazionale Milano v Juventus FC - Serie A When Inter Milan defeated Juventus 3-1 last November, it brought to an end a 49 match unbeaten run for the Old Lady. Who would have thought Inter would end the season 33 points adrift – having failed to qualify for Europe for the first time in 14 years – as Juve strolled to the championship? With the manager now replaced by Walter Mazzarri, Thomas Shannon takes a look at the current Serie A betting odds for the title race next season along with an online game for fans of football nostalgia. Continue reading →

Ireland v Spain: View from the Other Side

ireland vs spain 2012 While Irish fans try to wipe the mauling by Spain from their memories, Tuesday’s opponents in New York still talk about the support of the Green Army in Gdansk. La Liga football writer and editor of Madrid Atléticos, Garreth Nunn gives us the view from the other side ahead of the Republic’s final match of the season against the world and European champions. Continue reading →