With his move to Chris Hughton’s Brighton sealed this week, Richie Towell will have his eyes set on a first team slot and a possibility of breaking into the Ireland squad for Euro 2016.
World-Cup bound Portugal dished out a 5-1 drubbing to a weakened Irish team in New York as Martin O’Neill suffered his heaviest defeat. Cristiano Ronaldo’s side were too much for a defence in disarray, missing first choice regulars with James McClean pulling one back to sign off Ireland’s end-of-season tour. Portugal, ranked fourth in the world, move on to Brazil.
Could we embrace an Irish version of an Iniesta-Xavi type partnership in midfield? Is Martin O’Neill prepared to transform the Republic’s style of play, and with it, our fortunes? Here’s ten talking points after a big week in the new manager’s reign.
Having bided his time, to the consternation of Irish fans, before breaking into the Republic set-up, Seamus Coleman has been rewarded with a nomination for international player-of-the-year. The Everton defender is up for the award alongside goalkeeper David Forde and captain Robbie Keane.
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.
James McClean and fellow members of the Irish football squad, Kevin Doyle, Glenn Whelan, Stephen Ward, Keiren Westwood, Paul McShane and Shane Long took on Today FM’s Shave or Dye charity challenge ahead of the friendly with Poland at the Aviva Stadium
The furore over Rory McIlroy’s decision on who to represent at the 2016 Olympics has prompted Diarmuid o hAinle to explore an issue which has existed for footballers on this island for decades.
About three weeks ago Poland’s men’s volleyball team crashed out of the Olympic Games at the quarter-final stage. Odds on for the gold medal, their failure sparked a tidal wave of criticism at home. The debate soon turned to discussion of the Irish football fans as the Polish asked why they coudn’t follow the example set by the Green Army at Euro 2012. We wonder if they’d ask the same question this week.
It was a very good night for the Irish in the League Cup with goals for Shane Long, James McClean, Jon Walters, Wes Hoolahan, Kevin Kilbane and a screamer from Nott’s Forest’s new Cox in the Box.
Only Trap could introduce a new-look Irish squad but fail to get people excited. Marc Wilson, James McCarthy, James McClean, and Seamus Coleman are in but there has been no cull. Still, the Italian has hinted that change could be coming.