DAMIEN Duff finally returned to first team action for Fulham. Hurrah – He came on along with Stephen Kelly as Mark Hughes' side searched for an equaliser against Aston Villa. Why he decided to play Duff at left back is a mystery to me. I hope this isn't a sign of things to come for Hughes as it was this kind of shite that made Duff's career go backwards at Newcastle, not to mention getting injured every second week.

DAMIEN Duff finally returned to first team action for Fulham. Hurrah! He came on along with Stephen Kelly as Mark Hughes’ side searched for an equaliser against Aston Villa. Why he decided to play Duff at left back is a mystery to me. I hope this isn’t a sign of things to come for Hughes as it was this kind of shite that made Duff’s career go backwards at Newcastle, not to mention getting injured every second week.

Duff knows this and looked a frustrated man, picking up a yellow card for his troubles. Hopefully, Hughes returns him to the wing next week otherwise Duff is going to be wandering around doing that bizarre walk he does when he’s pissed off (he did it for practically all of Stan’s regime) – the one where he holds his hands on his hips and makes faces like that the old b*llocks Compo from “The Last of the Summer Wine.”

Richard Dunne will be upset with the nature and timing of the equalising goal. His partnership with James Collins doesn’t look the force it was under Martin O’Neill. Ciaran Clark came on early in the game to replace Reo-Coker and looks like he will see more action now. He wasn’t included in the Irish squad because his forms weren’t filled-in on time. I wish someone would de-fill Green, Whelan and Gibson’s forms.

Not a spud to be seen anywhere at Bolton

A black day for Robert Keane on Saturday. – He wasn’t even in the Spurs squad. Perhaps he was injured. He can’t even get a game on his Playstation at the minute. It’s time to go back to Scotland, score 15 or 20 goals in five months, win the Scottish League, get into the Champions League and restore some self-esteem. If Robbie Keane is still at Spurs come the end of January then he may have to consider the ass-kissing business to restore his confidence. With this in mind I declare that if he is still there after the January transfer window I will personally kiss John Delaney’s ass.

Seamus Coleman – He’s great

Seamus Coleman looks a very serious, and slightly simian, young man; just like one of the league’s other current hot prospects Gareth Bale. Although Bale does have the cut of a gimp about him, he’s probably a grand lad. Coleman is a great lad, that I am sure of, and he’s nearly as quick as Bale who like him was once to-ing and fro-ing between full-back and winger. On Saturday against Blackpool Coleman’s speed got him into great positions, one of which resulted in a goal. If he doesn’t become a world-class player in the next 2-3 years I will kiss John Delaney’s ass.

At Brum

Keith Fahey retained his starting place for Birmingham but a worrying statistic for him is that whenever he is on the pitch his team doesn’t score goals. Coincidence? Or shite observation on my part? Stephen Carr, and Wolves duo Kevin Foley and Stephen Ward, have played more Premier League games than any other Irishmen. Trapattoni has got to start earning his money. You can get a Ryanair flight to Birmingham for f*ck-all these days. Send consigliere Marco Tardelli over to Carr’s house to make him an offer he can’t refuse. By the same token he should swing round to Hull and call on McShane/Kilbane to see if his double-barrel shotgun still works.

Incidentally our new favourite Irishman Mark Noble wasn’t playing for the Hammers as he was injured. This could all be pie in the sky if Noble changes his mind about us. It reminds me of when I used to meet my cousin’s boyfriends at weddings and funerals. They seemed to come and go over the years so I found that it was best not to get too attached because they weren’t going to be sticking around for too long. Having said that if Mark Noble starts riding my cousin, he’s a dead man.

At Sunderland

Another awesome showing from the Irish at Stoke. Jonathan Walters celebrated being called up to the Irish senior squad by giving away a penalty. Glenn Whelan was an unused sub on the Stoke bench, looking more cabbage than Golden Wonder. Marc Wilson played the full game. Delap seems to be getting faded out. I suppose Tony Pulis is beginning to realise that this kind of game-plan is a bit ridiculous and you cant be doing this forever. You’ve got to come to your senses eventually. Every dog has his day and perhaps Delap’s novelty is coming to an end. It’s like that latent b*llocks Brendan Kilkenny turning up for every talent show audition looking like Fiona Looney/Amanda Brunker’s better looking lesbian sister doing somersaults. It’s funny for a few minutes the first few times he does it, but then he realises that he’s a bit of a gobshite and would probably be better off back-flipping into a hay baler or returning to his well paid job in the civil-service. Joe Stalin would be turning in his grave.

At Old Trafford

Wolves were desperately unlucky not to get something out of this game. They ain’t getting the breaks like last year and despite Doyle’s brilliant work-rate, he really needs a goal or two. I have no doubt it’s going to happen sooner rather than later; the reason being that, unlike his Irish counterpart rotting down at Spurs, he doesn’t blame the rest of the world when he makes a mistake, misses a chance etc. He simply holds his head high, jogs away and gets on with it by trying harder the next time.

With the spare time on his hands now, Keane would do well to sit down and take notes on Doyle’s behaviour on the pitch and see how he endears himself to fans, manager and the wider public (albeit with less competition than Keane). Kevin Doyle is a man’s man and, at 30 years of age, Robbie Keane is not. Arsene Wenger says that Doyle will play at the highest level at some stage though worryingly he said the same about Clinton Morrison a few years back.

John O’Shea started on the left wing of all places for Man U on Saturday, switching into the middle when the proverbial crock-of-shite Owen Hargreaves went off clutching his paltry excuse for a limb. Darren Gibson wasn’t even in the squad or sitting in the stand. Or maybe he was because it’s hard to see him at the best of times. If he is at United this time next year I will kiss John Delaney’s ass.

In Scotland and yonder

Tony Stokes got a hattrick for Celtic on Saturday. To be fair, any striker playing against Aberdeen last weekend would have got a hattrick, except maybe Robbie Keane. A bit unfair that Trap has left him out of the squad. He, at the very least, deserves a crack of the whip at senior level does young Stokes. Would anyone be really upset if Caleb Folan was dropped for a friendly?

Aiden McGeady missed a chance for Moscow in the Champions League and got subbed. Things will start to get very depressing very quickly for Aiden in Russia. He doesn’t speak the language. Every channel shows shite 90’s American sit-coms like “Blossom”, dubbed over in Russian and I doubt too many of them show “High Road” or “Taggart”. There’s only so much whacking-off, and listening to Frankie Millers “Caledonia”, before a man starts to miss home.

The best of the rest

Paul Green scored. He’s still bad.

Sean St Ledger has been linked with Liverpool or Villa; your guess is as good as mine as to the reason why. He is an integral part of a very average Preston back-four. International football is a big seller for a player. I think the reason why Jamie O’ Hara and Mark Noble are considering Ireland is it gives access to a shop window for players who are not competing in the Champions League, even when you are playing with a shite team or no team at all for that matter (remember Gary Breen and Triggs McAteer?). If Sean St Ledger ever plays in the Champions League I will kiss John Delaney’s ass.

Liam Lawrence was on the scoresheet – he’s found his level – sadly that level for us is mundane at best – At least he’s man enough to take the step down and keep playing instead of harbouring hopes and living in denial like Robbie Keane.

Shane Long scored but Reading lost. Andrew Keogh didn’t and was subbed as his Cardiff team was beaten by Swansea. Ipswich won and are back in the play-off spot.

A lot like RTE’s coverage of Gerry Adams in the 80’s and early 90’s, I have decided I am no longer going to report on McShane or Kilbane as I believe that their presence in the Irish squad upsets everyone – even their own families.


We could have Mark Noble, Jamie O’Hara, Ciaran Clark and even after the FAI invited Barry Maguire (Utrecht’s Dutch-Irish prodigy over for the Russia game) Trap still doesn’t call him up. The thought of going away to Russia and home to Slovakia with Mark Noble, Ciaran Clark, James McCarthy or Jamie O’Hara alongside Duff and Coleman is a really pleasant one and I fear that’s all it may ever be – a thought.

Still though, hopefully the process of forcing out those unimposing characters of Paul Green, Glenn Whelan and, to a lesser extent, Gibson has begun (collectively they look like those ghosts that used to chase Pacman around his house in Cabra or wherever he lived).

Finally, Uncle Tom turns 70.

A special mention to Johnny Giles this week as he turned 70. I recently met Giles wandering down Lower Baggot Street. They say you should never meet your heroes but Giles certainly defied this old saying. Very small in stature, he was smoking a fag as he strolled past. I said “Hello John” and he stopped and replied with a “Hello” and a “How are you?” He then smiled at me and wandered on. I have to say I was genuinely awestruck. When I compared this to the time I met Joe Dolan on Dominick Street in Mullingar a few years back, donning a pink golfers geansaí and not smoking a fag like Gilesy, he practically walked through me. Some people are born decent and genuine, and it makes you glad that they are still looking so well and turning 70. Some die closet homosexuals. What I am saying is that I reckon I would gladly kiss John Giles’ ass. Credit too to John Delaney who appeared alongside Gilsey’s old chums on the Late Late Show feeding into the ever-improving public opinion. The humble pie of having to kiss his ass when some of my above predictions do not come to fruition may not be so bad.

Some of the songs on the iPods of the Irish players

Mark Noble

Sign your name – Terence Trent Darby

Paul McShane

Scorn not his simplicity – Luke Kelly

Bring out the Gimp – Pulp Fiction soundtrack

Sean St Ledger

Tighten up – Archie Bell and the Drells

Rory Delap

Put Your Hands Up In The Air – Euro-disco shite

Steve Finnan

I’m a roadrunner – Junior Allstars

I get knocked down – Chumbawumba

Stephen Ireland

If you could read my mind – Gordy Lightfoot

Robbie Keane

Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now – The Smiths

Crying – Roy Orbison

Shay Given

Career Opportunities – The Clash

Use Me – Bill Withers

Some non Irish iPods –

Trezuguet / Ribery –

Not a girl, not yet a woman – Britney Spears

Girl, you’ll be a woman soon – Neil Diamond,

Gareth Bale

Apeman – The Kinks

Stop me – Mark Ronson

Harry Redknapp

If you leave me now – Chicago

I know I’m losing you – Rod Stewart and the Faces

Owen Hargreaves

I fall to pieces – Patsy Cline

Luka Modric

My name is Luka – Suzanne Vega

Ian Dowie

The first time I ever saw your face (I felt sick) – Roberta Flack