The spud that broke the camel’s back. Spud Watch has been locked away all summer chiselling out this review of last season’s climax and a lot has happened since we last spoke. Ireland picked up their first silverware since the Iceland Cup and since Harry Ramsden’s closed down. Here’s Part One of our look back at all things Irish football followed by some belligerence, and some transfer news.
THERE was an element of the surreal about the end of the game against Scotland. Ok, it was a nothing tournament but there was a trophy for the victors and there was something dream-like about the paraphernalia of the presentation ceremony being erected in the Aviva Stadium. Robbie Keane looked almost bemused at first when he raised the Nations Cup aloft but there was a genuine outpouring of pride from the stands, even if it was on on a smaller, non-consequential scale.
We play Scotland for the cup on Sunday
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.
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.”
IRISH players continue to figure prominently in the end-of-season awards with Ciaran Clark the latest to receive the plaudits.
LET’S face it. The morale of the Irish people is like a smouldering fire in a landfill somewhere in County Kildare; down in the dumps. Our football team did nothing to arrest this melancholy when the Russians made us resemble more clowns than the Moscow State Circus last October.
HE WAS out, then in. Now he’s out again. He’s just returned from injury but the reason for James McCarthy’s eventual withdrawal from tomorrow night’s Carling Nations Cup clash with Wales is as clear as mud.
I had written a critique of Giovanni Trapattoni’s original squad selection yesterday for next week’s clash with Wales. However, earlier today I was handed a revised squad update here at Spud Watch Towers and I’ll be f*cked if you think I’m gonna go back and re-edit all the nonsense and garble. But what has been handed to me is is the most exciting looking Irish squad in 5 years….
CHELSEA are reported to have made a shock £6m bid for Irish midfielder James McCarthy ahead of tomorrow’s transfer deadline.
Yet while the 20-year-old, who made a scoring return to action last week after a lengthy lay-off, has emerged as a target for the Stamford Bridge outfit, he will seek a meeting with the Irish management on his omission from the senior squad.