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Irish football

O’Neill Announces Squad for Serbia Clash

Martin O’Neill has announced his first squad as Ireland manager for the friendly with Serbia at the Aviva Stadium next month. There’s been no recall for Shay Given, whose loan spell at Middlesbrough expires at the end of February. Ipswich’s Daryl Murphy makes a return to the squad but there’s no room for Stephen Ireland. Although O’Neill oversaw the games with Latvia and Poland, he inherited those selections from interim coach Noel King. Continue reading →

Taxi for McGeady: Everton’s Irish Story

“He’s English on the outside, but, pure Irish on the inside.” The elderly woman in the ‘Western’ pub in Liverpool was referring to her grandson, Wayne Rooney. Most are Toffees in this part of Merseyside and Aiden McGeady’s arrival at Goodison Park to bolster the green contingent is a reminder that traditionally Everton were the Irish club in the city. The common football phrase “Taxi for” even owes its origins to a former Irish manager. Continue reading →

A New Era…10 Talking Points

Two games into the reign of O’Neill/Keane and the shot in the arm to Irish soccer has been like an adrenaline rush following the tedium of Trap’s last days. A positive display against Latvia followed by more of the same in Poland before an element of tiredness set in has given everyone reason for optimism. If only we’d had this six months ago. Here’s ten talking points. Continue reading →

The Once and Future King?

It seems it has only been in the wake of Giovanni Trapatonni’s departure, that Irish football has begun some serious soul-searching. The Italian’s time in charge has polarised the debate on whether the manager was to blame for the senior team’s ills, or as many are grappling with; ‘We just don’t have the players’. And yet, is John Delaney, Irish soccer’s kingmaker, ignoring the opportunity to change the strategy? Continue reading →

Ireland Manager: Mark ’02

With the news that the FAI plan to bide their time with the appointment of a new manager, we’re likely to see some new names enter the race. The last Irish squad to qualify for a World Cup could yet prove a breeding ground for future coaches of the national team. With many of the class of ’02 dipping their toes in the management waters, and the two main protagonists Mick McCarthy and Roy Keane among the contenders to succeed Giovanni Trapattoni, Diarmuid o hAinle looks at alternatives to the seemingly manager-elect Martin O’Neill. Continue reading →

No Country for Old Men

Trap & Ireland – A Living History. From despair to hope and back again. And so another chapter in the Irish football story closed early on Wednesday morning with the inevitable parting of ways with the man we all came to know only as Trap. Over the next few days, established scribes will jostle for position in drafting a definitive obituary over his reign and attempt to put into context what the Italian has done, what he has said, the way he made us feel and lastly how he will be remembered. So in the spirit of the documentation of living history, Damage Limitation add to the column inches and gives their own take on Trap the manager, Trap the man and his achievements over the past 6 years. Continue reading →

Gael Force: A Whole New Ball Game

What happens when a kid comes from Gaelic training on Tuesday urged to play long ball, then at soccer training Wednesday, his coaches tell him something very different? The departure of Giovanni Trapattoni has sparked a bout of soul-searching among Ireland’s football community. The refrain “We just don’t have the players” has focused the attention on just what is happening at grassroots. As the main criticism of Trapatonni centred on Ireland’s manner of play, the issues run far deeper than the senior team. Diarmuid o hAinle explores a uniquely Irish state of affairs and the influence of Gaelic Games on young players. Continue reading →

Squad Rotation: A Year of Change

Statistics released this week show Ireland with the fourth highest representation of footballers in the Premier League and, with the new season just starting, international boss Giovanni Trapattoni was able to name ten top flight players in his team to face Wales. This time a year ago, however, his squad was reeling from a disastrous European Championship. The manager has stuck to his word and overhauled the playing staff but for the team that lined out against Italy last summer, much has changed in just 12 months. Continue reading →

Gael Force: A Whole New Ball Game

Champions eventually topple. As Barcelona and Spain have demonstrated their fallibility – and that of their play – so too in Gaelic football, Donegal, praised and pilloried for a revolutionary style, have been unceremoniously dumped from the All-Ireland. But what can the rise and fall of Jim McGuinness’ side tell us about the state of Irish soccer? As the main criticism of Giovanni Trapatonni centres on Ireland’s manner of play, the issues run far deeper than the senior team. Diarmuid o hAinle explores a uniquely Irish state of affairs and the influence of Gaelic Games on young players. Continue reading →

Dunne and Dusted? Richard Out of Squad

Richard Dunne has been omitted from the Irish squad for the friendly clash with Wales in Cardiff. The new QPR signing’s return could depend on how much game-time he sees at Loftus Road. Meanwhile, Robbie Keane has not been asked to fly in from the States, and there’s another chance for Anthony Pilkington. Stephen Quinn is rewarded for his impressive display against Spain and is named in the squad for the August 15 friendly. Continue reading →

Gloves Off in Battle for Irish Number One

With Liverpool’s signing of Simon Mignolet, we thought the door had opened for Keiren Westwood to reclaim the goalkeeper’s jersey for both club and country. However, Sunderland’s recruitment of Vito Mannone puts the pressure back on the Irish international who has watched from the sidelines as David Forde has grown into his role as Ireland’s ‘keeper of the faith. Continue reading →

Fan Direction #2: Cork City FORAS

In the second of our Fan Direction series, looking at the growing phenomenon of supporter-owned football clubs in Ireland, the spotlight is on Cork City. Borne from the official supporters club, the FORAS trust became the saviours of the southern giant as she flirted with extinction. The Turners Cross outfit are now the driving force in Ireland behind an EC initiative on football governance. Continue reading →

Boys of Summer: 10 Talking Points

It’s been a massive end of season for the Boys in Green. Three World Cup qualifying points, positive displays against England and Spain, the emergence of Wes Hoolahan, and the growing statures of Coleman and McCarthy have whet the appetite for a real crack at toppling Austria and Sweden for a play-off berth. However, for some, criticism of the team and manager remains entrenched. Here’s 10 talking points. Continue reading →

Skipper Shane Has Georgia on his Mind

From scoring against England at Wembley to taking hold of the captain’s armband, it’s been quite a week for Shane Long. Giovanni Trapattoni has named the Irish team to face Georgia with Wes Hoolahan earning his first start in an intriguing midfield pairing with James McCarthy. Richard Dunne will also feature at some stage. Continue reading →

Passage of Play: Kevin Sheedy

“Growing up and watching the World Cups, watching Brazil and the likes of that, getting to a World Cup is something you actually strive for. So to actually play in one, play in all the games and to score against England was a fantastic memory for me” Continue reading →

Fan Direction #1: Shelbourne’s 1895 Trust

Much has been made of the fact that the two teams contesting this weekend’s Champions League final are fan-owned entities in the Bundesliga. There is a train of thought that clubs where supporters have a pivotal role in how they are run is the way forward for long-term sustainability and you don’t have to look far to see that Irish football is ahead of the game in this regard. Shelbourne are the latest club to embrace fan involvement in an official capacity with the recent launch of the 1895 Trust. Continue reading →

The Lions’ Den: England Squad Named

England manager Roy Hogdson has named his squad for the upcoming clash with Ireland at Wembley. There’ll be no switch of allegiance for young Reading goalkeeper Alex McCarthy. He earns his first call-up to the senior side. Meanwhile, Ashley Cole, who will celebrate his 100th appearance, could captain the team as could Wayne Rooney against the country of his grandmother’s birth. Continue reading →

1913 – The Riot in Ringsend

In the latest of our guest posts, Donal Fallon of the superb Come Here to Me website recounts an episode in the 1913 Lockout involving a football match between Bohemians and Shelbourne in Ringsend. Why did Jim Larkin’s paper denounce two players publicly as ‘scabs’ and call on workers not to attend the game unless to picket it? Continue reading →

R.I.P. Tony Grealish

Former Republic of Ireland international Tony Grealish has passed away at the age of 56. The midfielder played 45 times for Ireland during a career that saw him line out for Leyton Orient, Brighton and Hove Albion, West Brom and Man City among others. Continue reading →

Win the Ultimate Fan’s Experience with Heineken’s Road to the Final

With Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, and Borussia Dortmund battling it out to reach the UEFA Champions League decider, Heineken has unveiled the latest instalment of its ‘Road to the Final’ campaign with the launch of a brand new TV ad. To celebrate, Heineken is offering one lucky Irish fan and three friends an opportunity to get a seat at this season’s competition finale in London. Continue reading →

The Art of Kaká

Brazilian superstar Kaká celebrated his 31st birthday by launching his new website kakaww.com. The site features insights into the player’s life off the pitch and includes photos, interviews, blog posts and ways for his followers to interact including a fans’ artwork section. Continue reading →

Proclamation of the Republic

On April 18th 1949, Easter Monday, the anniversary of the 1916 uprising, Ireland officially declared itself a republic and left the British Commonwealth. A week later, the national team played Belgium at Dalymount Park but it would be a further five years before it would play under the name ‘Republic’. Continue reading →

Guest Post: Hillsborough – Memories from Afar but Always Standing Together

On the 24th anniversary of the Hillsborough tragedy, the city of Liverpool remembered the 96 who died during a service at Anfield, the first since the Hillsborough Independent Panel cleared supporters of blame. In our latest guest post, Christer Eikrem of Live4Liverpool.com offers the reflections of an overseas fan which are sure to strike a chord with Reds followers from this side of the Irish Sea. Continue reading →

Four Star Neymar Has Barca on Alert

Wonderkid Neymar scored all four goals as his Santos side defeated Uniao Barnarense in the Sao Paulo championship to spark further rumours that he will follow in the footsteps of Ronaldinho by signing for Barcelona. As the stories rumble on as to where the Brazilian superstar goes next, his father and agents were said to have been in Catalonia at the weekend to negotiate a sponsorship deal that raised suggestions they were also there to speak to the Nou Camp outfit. Continue reading →

Passage of Play: Paolo Di Canio

“I saw my mother’s face just before the kick-off and it was a very emotional moment for me. I was in the dug out the day after she passed away and we won the game — and it has happened again. My dedication goes to her” – Paolo Di Canio dedicates victory over Newcastle to his late mother Continue reading →

Sponsored Post: Heineken – Road to the Final

We’ve already seen some exceptional drama in the Champions League this week as the tournament builds to a thrilling conclusion in Wembley Stadium. The two German clubs Dortmund and Bayern will join La Liga’s Barca and Real Madrid in the final four after an amazing series of quarter-final games. Champions League sponsors Heineken’s brilliant new ad asks Póg Mo Goal followers, if you were lucky enough to get your hands on a golden ticket, which road to the final would you take? Continue reading →

Wembley to NYC: Game On for Irish

Giovanni Trapattoni’s mobile bill is set to soar this summer as he’ll need to name a bumper Irish panel to cater for a gruelling four matches in two weeks. There’s sure to be room for squad hopefuls and possible recalls as Ireland prepare for a historic meeting with England in Wembley, a World Cup qualifier, and a reunion with Spain in New York. Continue reading →