Spud Watch: The Lay of the Land – Part 2

duff clap In the second of our installments, Spud Watch looks at the current state of the Irish squad as we continue our in-depth countdown to the European Championships. Departing a quarter-life crisis and entering a mid-life one, Spud Watch wonders whether Damien Duff is our risen Messiah, asks why is Aiden McGeady interfering with kangaroos, and curses that Jedward were asked to do a Euro song while Póg Mo Goal were overlooked. Continue reading →

“I’ll pop up again somewhere lad don’t worry” – ‘Merlin’ Mick Moves on

Mick McCarthy wolves 2 “I’m not Merlin the Magician,” – Mick McCarthy’s first words to the media as Wolves’ new manager back in summer 2006. In the intervening five-and-3/4 seasons; he has regularly been serenaded with chants of ”Super Mick, Super Mick, Super Mick McCarthy” and eventually was dubbed ”Merlin Mick,” the magician who changed around the fortunes of Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club. Continue reading →

Football on Another Level

spain futsal Ever wondered what it is that sets players such as Messi, Xavi, Iniesta, Ronaldo and Ronaldinho apart from the rest? Why their touch is so instant, their passing so precise and their movement so quick and agile? With the UEFA Euro 2012 final taking place this weekend between Russia and five-time champions Spain, Harry Maidment writes the answer lies largely in their development as young footballers and their steady diet of Futbol Sala or Futsal as it’s more widely known. Continue reading →

Derry Die Hard Yippee KO’d

mcclean airtricity league It’s exactly like measuring four gallons of water in a five gallon jug. How do you decide who to pick and who to leave out in your midfield for a first European Championships since 1988? James McClean has been crashed out of Giovanni Trapattoni’s Euro plans like an aeroplane landing at a snow-covered LAX airport. The brightest spark at the Stadium of Light, who received international clearance from FIFA yesterday, has NOT been named in Trap’s squad for the friendly this month against the Czech’s. Continue reading →

Spud Watch – The Lay of the Land: Part 1

Kaka I belong Happy New Year or Omman Pad Ooooome, Harree Kriisshna, Agnus Dei, Hosana in the Highest. I don’t know what Jewish people chant, probably anything by Carole King. A wise avuncular man I once met on the bus to the nut-house once told me that true happiness is achieved through acceptance. Does he mean I should remain passive? Or as Henry Miller suggests that we are all anchored, then how can we be going anywhere? Whether you’re a Muslim, a Protestant, a Jew, a Catholic, a Hindu; we are all just particles colliding off other particles like the ball in Super Cup Football. Continue reading →

Escape to Poland, You Own It

far and away It’s like Tommy Lee Jones’ speech in The Fugitive. If the Polish police search every petrol station, residence, warehouse, farmhouse, hen-house, outhouse or dog-house within a few miles of Poznan and Gdansk this summer they’d find an Irish fan on the run from the doom and gloom of home to follow the Boys in Green and looking to escape day-light robbery with some of the accommodation costs during Euro 2012. Or Trap’s Army could just buy a field and pitch up. Continue reading →

Action-Man has Irish on the Hunt

stephen hunt face He’s known as Rambo to many Irish supporters because of his all-action style and Stephen Hunt is relishing the task of taking first blood against the likes of Xavi and Iniesta at Euro 2012 this summer. Speaking to the fans, the Wolves winger discusses studying the Spanish team, facing Italy, Seamus Coleman, and reveals that, […] Continue reading →

Fan Camp has Green Army Pitch Perfect

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Picture the scene. You awake in your lake-side retreat to the dawn chorus of ‘Come on You Boys in Green’. You unzip your front door to look out across an entire tented village of your compatriots on a little plot of Ireland in the middle of Poland. And what’s more you didn’t even have to bring your own sleeping bag. Continue reading →

Some Like it Shot: Marilyn Kickin’ it

marilyn monroe colour Rarely has wind blowing a big girl’s blouse caught so much attention. But enough about Stephen Ireland drying his hair. The splendid Denim Kit football blog in the US has drawn our attention to some brilliant images of the blonde bombshell Marilyn Monroe kicking a soccer ball at Ebbets Field, New York in 1957. Continue reading →

Interview: Matt Holland on THAT Goal

matt holland 2002 wide Ireland will kick-off their Euro 2012 adventure with a clash against Croatia on June 10 in Poznan. Ten years ago, we began our last appearance at a major finals against Cameroon. With thanks to the I AM PLAYR interactive game which alllows users to live the life of a footballer, Póg Mo Goal brings you an interview with Ireland’ s scorer that day in Niigata, Matt Holland. Continue reading →

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 →