Trap should look to reformed Kenny

Almost five years on, the fall-out from Ireland’s humiliation in Nicosia seems to go on. That galling 5-2 hammering at the hands of Cyprus signaled the end of the international road for three of the starters that night. Clinton Morrison has only appeared once in a 40-man provisional squad since, whilst sliding down the divisions in England, currently scoring occasionally at League One Sheffield Wednesday. Andy O’Brien was callously dropped by then-manager Steve Staunton, but submitted his international retirement when called up by caretaker Don Given in early 2008. The final member of the alternative three amigos is goalkeeper Paddy Kenny. His situation is unique compared the aforementioned duo, in that many observers feel Kenny has a chance of representing his adopted country again. Starting with this evening’s vital Euro 2012 qualifier at home to Macedonia.

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French failure gives Irish more reason for regret

Pele and Moore: Mutual Respect

World Cups always throw up images that get ingrained into the history of football. Whether it be Pele and Bobby Moore swapping shirts, Marco Tardelli’s manic celebration, or Paul Gascogine blubbering, each edition of the tournament provides iconic moments that will be forever remembered and for the most part cherished. So far in South Africa 2010, we are yet to witness anything quite as stirring as the three aforementioned examples. On the pitch at least. But the image of the French fitness coach, Robert Duverne, hurling his stopwatch across an empty training ground is a snapshot of the biggest non-vuvuzela related controversy of this World Cup. A controversy than has finally given the Irish something to smile about.

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Lunching with a legend

Legends in our lunchtime

Lunchtime can be a trying time in one’s schedule. Supposedly a break from the stress and rigours of work, it brings its own challenges. Often faced with the indignity of eating alone, I try and occupy myself with reading. Andre Agassi’s memoirs are what I’m flicking through at present.  And the montomy of it. My home-made ham and lettuce sandwiches seem to get blander with each passing day. So it was refreshing to have something to occupy me for the hour, or hour and a bit as it turned out. An interview with an Irish footballing icon. I strolled over to the National College of Ireland, and took my place towards the back of the tiered-seating in the lecture hall. Right on schedule, wearing a sharp triple breasted light-grey suit, in walked Paul McGrath. Continue reading

The Blame Game

HANDBALL!!

The morning after the night before. Time seemed to be passing slower than normal. I kept looking at the clock on the bottom right hand corner of my screen. It was almost 11am. ‘What’s bloody taking them so long?’ I pondered. My Microsoft Outlook was in a state of constant refreshment. But, alas finally, they arrived. The first batch of Thierry Henry related e-mails landed in my inbox. After John Terry’s Moscow misery in May of 2008, there were a bucket-full of mails jeering Terry’s misfortune at 8:15am the following morning. Whatever the reason for the delay, we all chuckled heartily at the various images of Henry with giant hands, no hands, and his Wikipedia page being ‘updated’. However the reality was, Ireland were out of the World Cup. Or were they? Continue reading

France Provide Irish With New Challenges

Domenech:Back in the Day

Domenech:Back in the Day

At approximately 14: 07 CET on Monday afternoon, there was a collective sigh around the country. The Republic of Ireland were drawn against France in the FIFA World Cup Qualifying Play-off. ”Feck it anyway” we muttered. But of the 4 potential opponents in the draw for Ireland, 3 of them would have provoked a similar reaction. Having avoided facing the freezing cold of an away leg on a plastic pitch in Russia, and sidestepped the now strangely likeable Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal, now we must turn our attentions to the French and analyse the dangers posed by Raymond Domenech’s mismanaged side. Continue reading

Big Jack Had Us All Fooled

Big Jack: The Waterboy

Big Jack: The Waterboy

As age catches up with us, cynicism is a number of unwanted traits we acquire. Suddenly, scanning through the history of our lives, we focus on memories of our younger years. We scoff  at our previous pastimes, hobbies, favoured television programmes, fashion sense and cringe at times when we embarrassed ourselves through the folly of our youth. It seems like a different life. However, this transformation into a cynic can bring us to realise that certain things we were enthralled by at this early stage in our lives were not all they were cracked up to be. Like the Republic of Ireland under Jack Charlton. Continue reading

Naive Ireland Learn Valuable Lesson

Late Drama

Late Drama

It was the sort of goal that you would expect the team leading 2-1, rather than those chasing the game at the wrong end of a 2-1 scoreline, to get. Catching the opposition out on the break with a swift counter-attack in the 90th minute to put the gloss on a convincing 3-1 triumph. However, this is Ireland we are discussing here, and for the old habit of magically turning wins into draws has again reared its ugly head. But from the slick move that resulted in Vincenzo Iaquinta setting up Alberto Gilardino for Italy’s equaliser, there are valuable lessons to be learned. And one’s that Giovanni Trapattoni must teach his players before next month’s play-offs. Continue reading

Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder

On the Comeback Trail

On the Comeback Trail

One Thomas Haynes Bayly wrote this commonly uttered phrase. No, I never heard of him either. But there is much truth in this statement. These days one way for a footballer to raise his profile, and become a favourite amongst supporters and pundit alike is to take a leave of absence for a couple of games. One might be injured, suspended or just decide that being teased about one’s new haircut is just not worth the hassle. Is the method of gaining plaudits by actually being out on the pitch and enhancing your reputation with outstanding performances old hat at this stage?  Let us take a closer look. Continue reading

Keane Divides a Country Again

40 not out

40 not out

Robbie Keane divides opinion on this island more than most of our sporting icons. Everyone can appreciate Padraig Harrington’s recently acquired nerves of steel, Henry Shefflin’s beautiful touch and poise with a hurley in his hand, or Colm Cooper’s unerring accuracy with either foot However, it seems the Tallaght native cannot seem to convince everyone of talents. Whilst some see him as the shining beacon of the Ireland set-up, who has consistently proved his worth in the toughest league in the world, the other half see him as a flat-track bully, only scoring against lower class opposition,  who tries too many flicks and tricks, and failed miserably at Liverpool. But on Saturday, after a largely infuriating display, he came up trumps for Ireland again. Continue reading

My Night in the Shed

Live to Fight Another Day

Live to Fight Another Day

My college days, as for many third level students, are a bit of a blur. A disproportionate amount of evenings were spent in the various public houses and nightclubs of Cork City. Blotched memories of drinking €2 pints in the Maltings, dancing in Fast Eddie’s and some harmless boyish horseplay in Gorby’s remind of my time in living in the ‘Real Capital’, as the locals like to call it. One Monday night however, myself and three of my esteemed colleagues decided to leave all the drunken debotchary behind us and take in some local culture: Stand in The Shed at Turner’s Cross for a Cork City game. Continue reading