Holland Recreates Cameroon Strike…

table soccer player … in Table Football. Matt Holland relives his stunning strike against Cameroon at World Cup 2002. Sticking rigidly to a four-four-two formation, the former Ireland midfielder recalls the moment he struck to level our first game the last time we graced a major finals. Despite losing teak-tough captain Roy Keane, replacement Holland, in an uncanny resemblance to our current wooden midfield, had the ball laid to him on a plate and he stabbed it home like a hot knife through butter. Continue reading →

Being Jon Walters

iamplayer dressing room Ever wondered what it’s like to live the life of Alan O’Brien, that really fast lad Stan kept picking? Or Keith Andrews? Or Jon Walters? Now you can. Póg Mo Goal and We R Interactive have teamed up to introduce you to IAMPLAYR, the first interactive game to let you experience the life of a footballer, through the eyes of the player. And Matty Holland is a fan. Continue reading →

Passage of Play: Brian Kerr

brian kerr wide Whatever, it will be a fantastic experience for our players to take on Spain and Italy at Euro 2012. It’s a challenge they will, I’m sure, relish rather than fear. We’re well organised, we have a good spirit and great morale – it’s quite possible that we can do something extraordinary. Continue reading →

Get Into Them, They’re E.A.S.Y

draw page featured image The morning after the night before. It started out horribly. Paired with Spain, the world champions and defending European title holders. Then came Croatia, who we drew with 0-0 at the Aviva earlier this year. With two balls remaining, it looked like we might draw England but it’s the Italians who we will face on […] Continue reading →

Irish Draw on History for Inspiration

team 1988 The draw for Euro 2012 takes place on Friday with the Republic of Ireland taking pride of place in the hat in Kiev. Ten long years we’ve waited to return to the world stage. Twenty-four years on from Stuttgart, Trap has led us back among the continent’s elite. But he doesn’t want Poland, Ukraine, Italy, or England. Continue reading →

Who Let The Dogs Out?

kiev dogs platini The last time Ireland were in a major tournament, Irish fans were warned that when eating a hot dog in the Far East, its bite might be worse than its bark. It was an oriental take on the Last of the Korean Rover. The Ukrainians have taken it to a whole new level, however, by culling stray dogs that wander the streets of Kiev in a mobile crematorium. UEFA are not happy and Póg Mo Goal are joining them. Continue reading →

Get out the Kilbankini for Road to Rio

kilbane mankini Get out the Kilbankini. Ireland’s journey to reach World Cup 2014 in Brazil begins and ends in glorious nation of Kazakhstan. Germany, Sweden, and Austria all stand in the way of Giovanni Trapattoni’s quest to lead the Green Army to the shores of Copacabana. And we will approach the qualifiers off the back of an appearance at a first European Championships in 24 years. Continue reading →

Listen Up Craicow, The Irish are Comin’

players crowd v estonia Within seconds of the final whistle in Paris two years ago, the Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feelin” boomed out across the Stade de France. Every bass thump stabbing at the splintered hearts of the Irish fans who sat in disbelief. The French hung around for a matter of mere minutes before disappearing into the Parisien night, barely registering that they had just qualified for the World Cup but embarrassed and unable to look the visiting fans in the eyes. Two years on and instead of facing into 90 minutes of nail-biting tension, the Aviva Stadium is going to rock to the rhythm of the Boys in Green’s victory parade. Ireland are going back to a major finals and tonight’s gonna be a good night. Continue reading →

Trap Gets Ireland up the Pole

robbie keane v estonia penalty Well, no one was expecting that. All the pre-match thought predicted a cagey Irish performance, a low-scoring game, and deemed an away goal a bonus. We can book the flights to Poland and Ukraine. A 4-0 win reflected a dominant Irish performance, particularly in the second half and the nation is waking up today with massive smile on its face. Dublin on Tuesday is going to be a hell of a party. Continue reading →

Preview: Ireland Caught Between Estone and a Euro Place

estonia A return to the dreaded two-game shootout but this one feels different. Ireland are no longer the underdogs and we are shifting uncomfortably in our seats. Let’s put ourselves in Estonia’s boots, however. They lost four games in qualifying but wins away to the North, Slovenia, and Serbia catapulted them into dreamland. Then the play-off draw gave them the easiest of the top seeds, the Irish who haven’t qualified for a tournament in ten years. With the game drawing ever closer, the Estonians are giddy with anticipation. A first ever tournament beckons. They are us in 1987. Continue reading →

Time We Sprung the Play-Off Trap

duff st ledger paris play off GIVEN the law of averages we’re due one, aren’t we? No, I’m not talking about a smile from Mick McCarthy, or an expression from Trap that doesn’t leave the nation baffled (cats in bags – what?), but a win in a play-off. It doesn’t have to be a nine-goal thriller. Or even a thriller, for that matter. At this stage there aren’t many people who wouldn’t take a scrappy affair as long as it ends with us packing our bags (without cats please, Giovanni) for Poland and the Ukraine next Summer. Continue reading →

Pride, In the Name of Duff

team v armenia It’s time to ditch the cynicism. While England debates whether John Terry is deserving of her captaincy, a much-maligned Irish football team has more important responsibilities; two games to revive a nation that has been kicked from pillar to post and that is crying out for something to restore our battered pride. Continue reading →

Go Green On November 15

go green poster The Republic of Ireland face Estonia in the qualifying play-offs for Euro 2012. Get behind the campaign. Back Giovanni Trapattoni’s Irish squad as they strive to return the national team to the world stage, a first tournament since 2002, and our first European Championships since 1988. Whether you’ll be in the Aviva Stadium for the second leg or watching on TV, Go Green on November 15. Continue reading →

Bit O’Red Face Bourne Ultimatum

fai cup penalty cropped In 2004, Shelbourne were 90 minutes away from the Champions League groups stages. Within three years, the Tolka Park outfit were kicked out of the Premier Division because of crippling debt while Sligo Rovers were cementing their place in the top flight. Now, Sligo are in their third consecutive FAI Cup final and are the defending champions. Shels, who almost went to the wall, have secured promotion back to the Premier Division as runners-up to Cork City. This weekend the sides will be reunited in the Aviva Stadium. Continue reading →

Star Player Ken Scores a Winner

heineken star player The nice people at Heineken gave Póg Mo Goal a test drive of their new Star Player to play along live with the UEFA Champions League. It’s billed as the first global ‘dual screen’ Champions League football game. Póg Mo Goal’s Kie got a few of the lads round with Chelsea’s trip to Spain the match of choice and the Star Player experience proved a winner. Continue reading →

Only End Result Matters in End Game

armenia red card wide The result is all that matters? Not any more for the Irish. Giovanni Trapattoni has delivered the Republic to a play-off, a 50-50 shoot-out to decide who goes to Euro 2012 next summer. Yet, the manner of that achievement has polarised public opinion on our national team. It is ironic that having instilled a no-lose mentality into the minds of his players, culminating in the win over Armenia. Trapattoni can’t convert the Irish public. Only a win will send Ireland to the European Championships. Only a performance, will convince the people that we’re worth it. Continue reading →

Preview: Ireland’s Call to Arms

armenia team Despite some frustrating nights, Irish fans are beginning to realise that no second-placed side in Europe would fancy facing a team that hasn’t conceded a goal in 720 minutes of football. If Giovanni Trapattoni’s Ireland are just as miserly on Tuesday, he’ll deliver the Republic to another play-off with the ‘mentality’ that we’ve got unfinished business. Continue reading →

Preview: On our Pyrenees but Summit Still in Sight

andorra stadium A win is a must. Haven’t we heard that before? The Irish players are saying all the right things. Many are talking about the possibility of outright qualification. Yet, what has changed? Before the Slovakia game in the Aviva Stadium, Ireland needed a victory to go top of the group. Had we got it, combined with the subsequent heroic rearguard in Moscow, we would be sitting pretty at the top of the table now. Two wins and we would be packing our bags for Poland and Ukraine. Continue reading →

Keep them Rovers Rollin, Rohan

rohan ricketts wide The gaze of the footballing press continues to focus on Shamrock Rovers as the countdown to their White Hart Lane meeting with Spurs continues. In particular, former Tottenham player Rohan Ricketts has figured prominently as he prepares to return to his old stomping ground in the hooped shirt of Ireland’s history makers. Continue reading →

Euro Princesses and the Pea

peamount team Tallaght Stadium. The final stages of a major European competition. Irish particpants for the first time. Heady days for the game here. And no, it’s not Shamrock Rovers. Peamount United Ladies face Paris Saint German in the UEFA Women’s Champions League on Wednesday and take another defining step for football in Ireland. Continue reading →

Giant Leap – The First for the Irish Rovers

rovers europa wide Irish football’s finest hour? Regardless of what ensues; whether Shamrock Rovers are beaten out the gate in each of their Europa League games, they have put the League of Ireland on the map. Paradoxically, the attention and goodwill flowing towards Rovers from the wider football world may be the route by which the Republic’s domestic game gains respect at home. Continue reading →