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The Return of Ronaldinho

ronaldinho1 The day after he turned 21, all eyes at Wembley will be on Brazil’s latest superstar Neymar but the followers of the Selecao will also be hailing the return of another hero, the grinning teeth and smiling feet of the one they call Ronaldinho Gaúcho. Continue reading →

Window of Opportunity for Irish

meyler mccarthy long ireland This time last year, there were high hopes of transfer movement for Irish stars struggling at club level. A European Championship loomed on the horizon, a competition Marco Tardelli said could serve as a shop window for the Republic squad. The demand for our stars failed to materialise and Poland saw the shop bankrupt. This time however, it’s form players and old reliables that are attracting attention. Continue reading →

Handball is Dunne and Dusted; Richie and Thierry to Team Up?

dunne and henry 3 Sat disconsolate, arms barely propping himself up on the Stade de France turf, Richard Dunne was joined by the villain of the piece, Thierry Henry. ‘The Cheat of St Denis,’ as dubbed by George Hamilton, offered his hand to the Irish colossus, a recognition of the heartbreak he and his countrymen had visited upon the gallant Irish in Paris in 2009. As fate would have it, are the two to be reunited as team-mates at New York Red Bulls? Continue reading →

Prince of Rio, Heleno de Freitas

Heleno de Freitas was a Brazilian footballing superstar in the 1940’s whose fall from grace is featured in the movie ‘Heleno’ released in the USA this week. The Botafogo hero starred for Brazil at the 1948 World Cup but his personal life began to unravel soon after. Heleno developed dementia and attempted suicide. At one point, he ate newspaper clippings that had detailed his triumphs and he died at the age of just 39. Continue reading →

Plat’s That, No Euros for Ireland

Platini-Delaney There’ll be no repeat of the scenes in Poland last summer on the cobbled streets of Temple Bar. Unless Dublin is included in Michel Platini’s Euro vision. Ireland’s joint bid with Wales and Scotland to host the 2020 European Championship is dead before it got off the ground. UEFA have granted Platini’s wish to spread […] Continue reading →

Guest Post: World’s Best Supporters – For Two Weeks

4a_1012 We call ourselves the Best Fans in the World. UEFA even gave us a prize. We went to Poland in huge numbers but we can’t fill Lansdowne now for Ireland games. Our football love is reserved for Premier League clubs, mainly two of them, and mainly from the couch or the barstool. In a special guest post, Minty from YBIG.ie looks at how many Irish people take the easy way out when supporting foreign teams. Continue reading →

Aldo II: Reds Long for Shane

Shane Long could be set to follow in the footsteps of John Aldridge by becoming the darling of the Anfield Kop. Ireland’s forward is a target for Liverpool in the January transfer window, according to newspaper reports. The in-form striker has scored seven goals this season to push West Brom to an unlikely fourth in the Premier League. Continue reading →

David Who? Keano Can Rule the Galaxy

robbiekeanela He was the butt of world-wide jokes when labelled an ‘unidentified fan’ alongside David Beckham at an NBA game. But Robbie Keane could be set for the last laugh. Becks plays his final match in the MLS this weekend, and Tallaghtfornia’s finest is perfectly placed to take up the mantle as the highest-profile player in American soccer. Continue reading →

Breen Hits Rock Bottom

Sadly, it was inevitable. They’d hovered at the bottom since early in the season and finally the Gary Breen XI have dropped to the foot of the Copa del Póg Mo Goal table. Perhaps there’s a reason Trapattoni won’t watch our players in the Premier League. They’re not very good. Continue reading →

Passage of Play: Stephen Hunt

inpho_00558015-630x408 “I was pissed off, 100pc. Angry, yes. Heartbroken, yes. But no, I never thought about not wanting to play…Trapattoni has his ways. He’s stubborn. But I do like him and I think he is the right man for the job and that’s coming from a person who didn’t play at the Euros” Continue reading →

It Started With a Handshake

SNV35554 Review: Mick McCarthy took over at Ipswich Town last week and confirmed he would have said yes to a return to the Ireland job. His arrival at Portman Road drew the inevitable links to Roy Keane’s time in charge of the Tractor Boys. For Irish people, one name usually follows the other and the word Saipan is never far from the lips. Diarmuid O hAinle’s stunning new book It Started With a Handshake takes us back to 2002 but asks what if it had all turned out differently? Continue reading →

“You Can Flick Your World Cup”

SNV35554 It was the hand-shake that tremored around the world. Now two giants of Irish football have been reduced to miniature. To celebrate Diarmuid O’hAinle’s stunning book on arguably the national team’s most momentous period, the 2001 Lansdowne Road embrace between Mick McCarthy and Roy Keane has been depicted in Subbuteo form. Continue reading →

How Mick McCarthy Made Fergie

mick On this day in 1986: Mick McCarthy scored the equaliser in the first televised Manchester derby. The result saw Ron Atkinson sacked as United manager soon after paving the way for a certain young Scot named Alex Ferguson to take over on November 6th. The combination of cameras at the ground and the paranoia about travel chaos owing to the first day of bus de-regulation in the city resulted in a sub-40,000 attendance (at the time, the lowest ever at Maine Road). City were relegated at the end of the season. #Knowledge Continue reading →

Papering Over the Craic

smokingman It’s been a rough week for Irish football but a worse one for the people who report on it. The sports hacks as a collective have taken a PR battering and they’ve reverted to their defensive mode by blaming the FAI for the fiasco. Meanwhile, the public remains in the dark. Continue reading →

Swede Jaysus: Commentator Goes Comeback Crazy

Untitled Having mauled Ireland in Dublin, Germany thought they were home and leder-hosed when 4-0 up on Sweden in Berlin. Zlatan and co had other ideas though. The Swedes produced a stunning comeback to blow Group C wide open and leave Ireland trailing in third in the early World Cup qualifying running. It prompted a Swedish radio commentator to lose his cool and our own Des Cahill to ask, when have Germany ever thrown away a lead like this before? Continue reading →

Video: No Fairytale for Trap in Far Far Away

560856_10151286069255242_1824844458_n Ireland got their World Cup hopes back on track last night with a 4-1 win over the Faroe Islands but the pitch-forks are still out for the manager. An ogre in the eyes of the press and some supporters, Giovanni Trapattoni answered some of his critics by naming Seamus Coleman, Robbie Brady, and Marc Wilson in the starting eleven but will there be a happy ending or has the page turned on the Trap chapter of Irish soccer? Continue reading →

History Lessons: Home Rule for Ireland

Florrie-Burke-1951-1024x857 Remarkably, Ireland have recorded quite a few successes against the Germans over the years, especially at home. Despite the shambolic reign of Steve Staunton, we still gave them two tough encounters when last paired in a qualifying group. Despite the gloom among the home supporters, tonight’s visitors are well aware they face a potentially uncomfortable evening at Lansdowne Road. Continue reading →

Passage of Play: Lukas Podolski

Lukas-Podolski580~1 “It is an uncomfortable contest. I think their fans are crazy but in a good way. I heard they have a new stadium, there will be 40,000 crazy fans of Ireland. It will be a difficult match, we need to prepare well.” “But of course we will travel there tomorrow and get the three points on Friday.” Continue reading →

The Robbie Remix

Robbie+Keane+Real+Salt+Lake+v+Los+Angeles+6E4aV48GeEkl Robbie Keane was on target again for LA Galaxy last weekend, grabbing his fifteenth of the season, just in time for the visit of Germany to Dublin. It was Di Canio-esque, and worthy of a remix. D.I.S.C.O. K.E.A.N.O. Continue reading →

Trap’s Sermon for the Germans

irland-vs-germany-71 The high priest of Ireland’s football religion won’t be converted but Giovanni Trapattoni has a few new disciples. Announcing his squad for the upcoming qualifiers, Robbie Brady is on standby while the manager says Ireland needs a miracle to have Richard Dunne available. Now the Germans are coming to hammer the first nail in our World Cup hopes. Continue reading →