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 →

State of Play: Russia 0 Ireland 0

dunne kelly v russia wide Armenia 4 Slovakia 0. That scoreline puts Ireland’s result in Moscow into perspective. Taking into account the reverse result in Dublin and the fact that we were second-best for most of the night, this was a heroic display by Trapattoni’s Ireland. Richard Dunne was a stand-out performer and if Russia fail to beat Slovakia next month, Ireland still have a chance of automatic qualification. Continue reading →

Preview: Mission to Moscow

ireland slovakia crowd After Friday’s display, Ireland’s hopes of qualifying for a first tournament since 2002 looked doomed. The reaction of the crowd at the end said it all. The team were booed off the pitch, not because they failed to score but because Irish people only demand one thing, 100% effort from everyone in a green shirt. Many people paid good money to be in the Aviva last week. Many people didn’t. We can accept limited ability but cannot except limited effort. And yet, in Moscow, Ireland have a chance to pay back their fans by finally backing up their words with a performance. Continue reading →

Passage of Play: Darren O’Dea

darren o'dea wide “I am well used to intimidating atmospheres. You get that going into a restaurant in Glasgow. We are still very much alive and there is not one bit of doubt in the squad that we can’t go to Russia and get a good result. I have absolutely no doubt that next summer we will be in Poland and Ukraine” Continue reading →

Ireland 0 Slovakia 0: Superbad

McLovin WIDE McLovin Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Anton Yelchin had to go and watch absolute rubbish led by a frail shite-talker who waffles incomprehensible nonsense….but before the Late Late Show, they were at the match in the Aviva. In Dublin for the premiere of Fright Night, the duo picked the right place in Lansdowne Road to witness a horror show. Continue reading →

State of Play: Ireland 0 Slovakia 0

ireland slovakia missed chance There were two main reasons why Ireland didn’t beat Slovakia on Friday night. Firstly, Aiden McGeady’s inept performance handicapped the home side reducing our attacking threat to just one outlet, Damien Duff. And secondly, Trapattoni chose not to replace the Spartak Moscow player until six minutes to go. Continue reading →

Preview: Vak to the Fut-Eur

ireland v slovakia Slovakia; The first of four games that will decide if Giovanni Trapattoni has completed his mission to turn the Republic of Ireland into worthy performers on the game’s top stage. A win at Lansdowne Road will put daylight between ourselves and the Slovaks and pitch Ireland in a two-way shoot-out with Russia for automatic qualification. Provided, of course, Ireland back up the players’ words this week with action. Continue reading →

Tallaghtfornia Dreamin

robbie and claudine wide “As a youngster in Dublin, I dreamt of playing in LA”…..so said Claudine Keane, probably. We may not have heard the exact phrase from her husband Robbie on his move to LA Galaxy but almost. The Tallaght kid who grew up dreaming of playing for Wolves, Coventry, Inter Milan, Leeds, Spurs, Liverpool, Spurs again, Celtic, West Ham and Spurs again also grew up fantasising about playing for LA Galaxy it would seem, if the MLS club statement is anything to go by. Continue reading →

Fabregas Fires Blamed on Arsene

wenger fabregas So that wasn’t so bad was it. The summer lull has flown by, a new season is just mere hours away, and Mr. Wenger, as promised following last season’s predictable, and now annual, collapse has been “busy” in the transfer market this summer addressing all the problems which are prevalent in this team. Right? Continue reading →