They were the pioneers. After decades of heartache, the Republic of Ireland appeared at a major football finals for the first time in 1988. Twenty-four years on, we’re back, but many of Jack’s original Boys in Green can still be seen on our TV screens as pundits. Some smile dementedly at the camera, others bore us to tears when commentating on Man City games. Póg Mo Goal takes an offside look back and asks; the heroes of Euro ’88, where are they now?
Was goalkeeping coach under Mick McCarthy and then replaced Brian Kerr as the FAI’s technical director before cut-backs meant the big man from Doneagal was cut loose. Has worked as a TV pundit and presenter for TV3. Only Daniel O’Donnell gets more action with housewives of the 1980’s than Packie.
The nearly man. He must have cursed the day he set eyes on Donegal Catch but the Bournemouth FC stalwart went on to bigger things and is currently a goalkeeping coach at Arsenal showing Fabianski re-runs of Packie’s save from Timofte. “The laces were out.”
The current Birmingham City manager was widely lauded for leading the Blues to the Championship play-off semi-finals on a shoestring budget. He’s being widely tipped to take over a Premier League team. Despite years as assistant at Tottenham, with Brian Kerr and Ireland, and now in management, his finest hour in football was getting on the front cover of the Italia 90 Panini sticker album.
Up to March of this year, he was manager at Wolverhampton Wanderers having forged his reputation as a manager who will get your club promoted, but without cash, will probably see you down again. A popular pundit known for his blunt delivery, expect to hear his dulcet Barnsley tones on Euro duty this summer.
When he graces us with his presence by stepping down from his heavenly throne, McGrath shoots the breeze in Irish with former world boxing champion Bernard Dunne, busts a move with Jedward and remakes 1980s ESB ads.
Ronnie’s volley against USSR is still included in countdowns of the best goals at European Championships. He’s taken Chippy Brady’s spot on RTE’s version of the Last of the Summer Whine. Ronnie’s Liverpool/Northside accent will be accompanying George ‘Danger Here’ Hamilton on commentary duty in Poland.
The hero of Stuttgart. An official ambassador for the FAI, Razor can now be found on John Delaney’s right-hand side conducting ticket raffles in eastern European pubs on away trips. Also, part of RTE’s football coverage where his demented smile at the start of every programme still makes us nervous. Scored against England in a European Championship. A living legend.
Not many people know that Tony Galvin has a degree in Russian and during the Euro 88 clash with the USSR, the former Tottenham star could translate every time the opposition shouted “They’re thumping it long again comrades.” The Euro 88 VHS was required viewing in the Kilbane household. Instead of copying Ruud Gullit and Marco Van Basten, the young Kevin decided to take up the Galvin shuffle, kick and run past your oppenent.
Now an academy coach at Everton where he made his name as a player, Sheedy’s penalty in the shoot-out against Romania is still probably the best penalty ever taken by an Irishman.
Scored against England in a World Cup. A living legend.
Although he never featured at the finals, O’Brien went on to work as a coach at a number of League of Ireland clubs including Shamrock Rovers and Bohs, and is currently among the staff at Pat Fenlon’s Hibs. May or may not wear his Euro 88 tracksuit on the training ground.
Byrne was part of the Euro 88 and Italia 90 squads without making an appearance. Scored four times for Ireland but his final outing in a green jersey was no doubt overshadowed by the fact that it was also the final game of Middlesbrough’s finest, and star of the Irish masters team , Bernie Slaven.
Former West Brom, Preston North End and Newcastle United player, Anderson still covers Toon matches for English radio. Part of the ’88 squad without appearing. The Mr. Anderson from the Matrix was based on our John…probably.
Didn’t feature at Euro 88 but went on to play a starring role in the team that reached the World Cup in the USA. A successful management career most notably at Oldham. Shero hit the cross-bar in the game against Italy and had it gone in, it would have saved us all a lot of finger-nail chewing. Made his name as a classy midfielder at Sheffield Wednesday paving the way for another in Glenn Whelan.
An uncanny knack of scoring for Ireland, Kelly grabbed a hattrick on his debut against Israel. Went on to play League of Ireland football for Derry towards the end of his career. Was also Billy Davis’ right-hand man at several clubs including Notts Forest. Scored against England at Lansdowne when their fans tried to tear down the stadium. A living legend.
Aldo made a name for himself in management at Tranmere and can often be spotted entertaining guests in the corporate boxes at Anfield. Such is the poplarity of the Liverpudlian in Ireland still, he won celebrity You’re a Star without having a note in his head. We’re thinking of sending him to Eurovision next year.
The ice-cream man told us he never qualified to play for Ireland at the same time he released his autobiography. A betting man would say Cas was seeking the publicity. Cas is a betting man. A well-respected pundit. Scored against England in a European qualifier. A living legend.
Currently bugging the hell out of us as co-commentator on Sky Sports. The nicest guy in football, he recently quit his role as chairman of Sunderland. A future politician, mark our words. Don’t expect many votes in Cork though Quinny.