State of Play: Republic of Ireland 5 Northern Ireland 0

keane v NI wide For reasons best known to themselves, certain players did not report for duty for the Republic of Ireland this week. Those who claim injuries should normally be given the benefit of the doubt but to hell with that. Since Stephen Ireland decided to bury his perfectly-alive grannies, we no longer automatically believe the excuse of players who withdraw from the Irish squad. That is an indictment of the attitude of the modern day footballer. Once upon a time we thought Irish players were different. The Kevin Doyles and Shane Longs were normal lads who made their way from real football in the League of Ireland to the big time but didn’t forget those roots. We were naïve. And now when a club sends a medical scan to Dublin, we have to ask for a second opinion. For shame. Continue reading →

Preview: Tired of Irish Excuses

stokes 1 Not even a royal welcome for the Queen, our new favourite granny, can disguise the fact that Northern Ireland don’t exactly like us at the moment. It’s ironic that there seems plenty of players up there willing to line out for the southern neighbours while others named in the squad can’t do us the courtesy of coming up with a plausible excuse. The monarch of Britain and the President of the United States can turn up for the Republic. Tony Stokes and James McCarthy say “No we can’t.” Continue reading →

The Italian Lob; Milan Over the Moon(walk)

boateng ac milan Having entertained their supporters with a 4-1 thrashing of Cagliari, AC Milan then hosted a party at the San Siro on Saturday to celebrate their 18th Scudetto. As he had promised to do if Milan won the title, Kevin Prince Boateng showed off his moonwalking skills while dressed in a Michael Jackson costume. Continue reading →

Champions Milan Conquer Rome

milan champions MASSIMILIANO Allegri has joined a select group including Arrigo Sacchi, Fabio Capello and Alberto Zaccheroni by winning the Serie A title in his first year with AC Milan. A draw in Rome was all the visitors needed, and it was what they settled for in the end despite having controlled the second half of the game. Milan’s joint top scorer, Zlatan Ibrahimović, has now finished on top of the league every year for the past eight years. Continue reading →

The Italian Lob: Roma v AC Milan

zlatan COACH Massimiliano Allegri moved from Cagliari to Milan last Summer, and he is on the verge of delivering instant success. His side’s 1-0 win over Bologna last week was more laboured than comfortable, but the result means that Saturday’s trip to Rome can effectively bring an end to this season’s title race. Continue reading →

The Italian Lob – Scanning the Scudetto

Flamini PÓG Mo Goal teams up with Dels’ Football Tips to scan the Scudetto, as the Serie A season counts down to a finale. AC Milan are within touching distance of this season’s Serie A title after doing just about enough to pick up three points at home against Bologna. An eighth-minute goal from Mathieu Flamini eventually decided the game, and left Milan needing a maximum of two points from their final three games. Continue reading →

Haven’t we been here before?

wenger A COUPLE of weeks have passed since the last blog, and how have things changed since then? Four competitions have faded into lingering hopes in one (scratch that – Bolton did a Bolton on us again on Sunday; it’s a 150/1 shot as I speak), and the usual weaknesses this team possess continue to haunt us. The most frustrating part in all of this is that the majority of neutrals love the way Arsenal play football, slick and stylish going forward, easy on the eye – like a Karen Koster xposé special, but at the end of the day, there is a soft centre in this team which prevents the obvious potential turning into success and silverware. In fact I’m sure the lovely Miss Koster probably possesses as much silver in her shiny wardrobe collection as the entire Arsenal team combined. Continue reading →

Youth Gamble Gives Trap Hand to Play

trap Review – It’s been a funny few days in the life of the Republic of Ireland’s international football team. Having scraped through a game we thought we could win comfortably, things looked grim for the remainder of the Euro 2012 qualifiers. Then, we send out a second string side who lose to the World Cup semi-finalists – and suddenly it doesn’t seem so bad…. Continue reading →

State of Play: Ireland 2 Uruguay 3

ireland uru Póg Mo Goal’s no-holds-barred player ratings – HAD Ireland equalised to make it 3-3 at the Aviva Stadium against Uruguay, they would have been full value for the draw. Playing with an abandon that was sorely missed on Saturday, a mix of the naivety but confidence of youth, and the excessive enthusiasm of those out to impress, saw an Irish side produce ambitious football that almost came up trumps. Continue reading →

State of Play: Ireland 2 Macedonia 1

keane v mac 2 Póg Mo Goal’s no-holds-barred player ratings- WITH about 22 minutes gone of last night’s Euro 2012 qualifying game, the Republic of Ireland looked like they were about to emphatically take control of Group B. Leading 2-0 and dominating against a ragged Macedonia side, Trapattoni’s Ireland were set to post a decisive victory. A defensive unit that included three players making their competitive débuts were not fazed and were in complete control. Damien Duff and Aiden McGeady on the wings were tearing Macedonia apart. Continue reading →

Preview: I’m Having Ya Macedonia

Macedonia fans   An infamous night in Skopje. Not so much a tangerine dream as an orange nightmare. In 1997 Mick McCarthy’s hopes of emulating Jack Charlton by leading the Republic to a World Cup finals disintegrated when an ageing Irish side fell to a disastrous 3-2 balls-up in the Balkans. A team that included a forward-line […] Continue reading →

State of Play: Will Trap take a Long shot on Shane?

long v slovakia wide GIOVANNI Trapattoni is nothing if not predictable. That may sound slightly caustic, but since taking charge of the Boys in Green, the Republic of Ireland manager has rarely been known for throwing caution to the wind. He was back to his stable best on Monday, when announcing his squad for the two games against Macedonia and Uruguay. Many of the usual suspects were there – Dunne, Duff, Kilbane, etc. However, perhaps Il Trap will surprise us all and shake things up a little. Continue reading →