IN THE weekend’s big fixture, Man Utd v Liverpool, John O’Shea played the full 90 (just about) and Darren Gibson got 2 mins. Glenn Whelan got 10 mins while Marc Wilson was an unused sub for Stoke City. Richard Dunne came off injured at half time and is a doubt for the upcoming internationals. The anti-spud, Stephen Ireland got 70 mins after putting in another largely anonymous shift for Aston Villa.
Still no place for the fit again Joey O’Brien on the bench for Bolton – the defender hasn’t played in almost two years. Andy O’Brien continues to defy all the odds by earning a wage in the Premiership with the Trotters.
Also fit again Damien Duff played the full 90 as did fellow Irishman Stephen Kelly at Fulham.
Seamus Coleman got 45 mins versus Newcastle as his side lost 1-0. Coleman must be in with a shout with starting soon as the ageing Hibbert’s form continues to deteriorate. Still no place in the senior Irish squad – come on Trap he’s surely better than McShane?
Robbie Keane didn’t do himself any favours, missing a plethora of chances put on a plate for him.
Meanwhile Wolves Irish trio of Doyle, Ward, and Foley played the full 90 and Mick McCarthy’s side were unlucky not to come away with something before a late Spurs smash and grab.
Stephen Reid got 20 mins and his fitness problems finally seem to be behind him.
The rejuvenated Stephen Carr clocked in another 90 mins for Birmingham with Keith Fahey an unused sub.
James McCarthy played the full game – while Shay Given watched on while playing Pokemon on the bench for Manchester City.
Andy Reid finally returned from injury coming on five minutes from time, as his side drew with Arsenal. I suspect Trapattoni didn’t even notice. He’s still built like the Tayto man.
In the Championship (sadly this is where the bulk of our crop is currently trying to grow)
Paul Green got 90 mins and there was a debut for 17-year-old Dub, Mark O’Brien – O’Brien came on for Derby a minute from time.
Lee Carsley, the former spud head, was in action for Coventry. Michael Doyle and Roy O’Donovan were unused subs for the Sky Blues. Incumbent Coventry City player of the year, Kieren Westwood returned to action after some wranglings with his contract – Manager Andy Boothroyd is resigned to losing his highly-rated goalkeeper to a Premier League side come January.
Patrick MacCarthy and former under 21 captain Owen Garvan were in action for Palace.
Roy Keane’s Ipwich Town potato factory returned to winning ways against Cardiff – Darren O’Dea and Colin Healy were included with Mayo man Ronan Murray on the bench again but he was kept company by Mark Kennedy and Brian Murphy. Meanwhile Cardiff had Andy Keogh and Stephen McPhail in action.
Martin Rowland was an unused sub for QPR in their match with Leicester City. The former Irish international (and Dexy’s Midnight Runners front man) seems to be pushed out to the fringes at this stage of his career. Spud head Paddy Kenny was also in action for QPR. Kenny is the only ever Irish international to have ties to Westmeath ancestry (he’s not Joe Dolan’s love child). Kenny has nailed down first place at the Shepherds Bush club.
Meanwhile another Irish goalkeeper was on the bench for Leicester City. Letterkenny man Conrad Logan who, like his Donegal counterpart Shay Given, is praying for a plane-crash like the one on Dream Team, that decimated the squad (well the 1st choice goalie anyway).
Shane Long, Noel hunt, and Ian Harte all played in Reading’s 3-1 defeat to Boro.
Elsewhere Dublin-born defender Alan Dunne, and Galway goalkeeper David Forde had a day to forget in Millwalls 6 -1 home defeat to Watford.
Keith Tracey and Sean St Ledger featured for Preston North End.
Likewise Liam Lawrence for Pompey, and Mark Yeates and Stephen Quinn for Sheffield United.
Pompey’s sub goalie Darryl Flahavan wins this week’s award for the biggest spud-sounding-non-Irishman. The Englishman Flahavan surely must have some Irish connection; maybe his father was a bowl of porridge.
Irish sub goalie Joe Murphy, Cliff Byrne, and Eddie Nolan featured for Scunthope.
The much maligned and rotten potato, Paul McShane featured for Hull with Kevin Kilbane being an unused sub, worryingly, given both will probably feature at some stage over the two upcoming internationals with Russia and Slovakia.
Celtic’s Stokes and Daryl Murphy both scored in a 2-1 win – Stokes should be in the Irish senior squad at this stage given his current form.
Dubliner Adam Rooney and Richie Foran featured for Iverness; likewise Sean Dillon and Jon Daly for Dundee United.
Alan Maybury featured for St. Johnstone (remember him – he had big eyebrows and a badger head) and Dublin-born, David Van Zanten lined out for St. Mirren. He is a candidate for the most un-Irish sounding name ever, after Cascarino.
Way off Foreign:
Cillian Sheridan scored his first goal for CSKA Sofia the other week but I can’t for the life of me find out how he has got on since as it’s hard to get Bulagrian teletext over here. As for Aidan McGeady, one hopes that he is dragging logs up hills like Rocky 4 for his Spartak Moscow training. The man is feeble and desperately malnourished-looking, a good feed of spuds wouldn’t kill him.
Overall, these are worrying times – our one world class player is benched. Shay Given may get a few UEFA and Coca Cola matches to win back Mancini’s affections. Glenn Whelan ain’t getting much game time while Keith Andrews hasn’t got any yet. We are banking on Damian Duff retaining last season’s form, Darren Gibson learning something from Paul Scholes, and the Champions League improving McGeady. Likewise Robbie Keane could win back Harry with a few Champions League goals but his form is probably at a career low at club level. Dunne and Doyle must stay fit. It’s as simple as that.
With a lack of talent and first team action it would seem we are entering a potato famine.