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.

Continue reading

Ireland avoid familiar faults in RDS triumphs

Macken: Faultless

When someone mentions the RDS, my mind immediately wanders to a sport that rarely enters my thoughts. The mercurial world of show-jumping. After all, the initials RDS stand for Royal Dublin Showgrounds. Where better to see the legendary Eddie Macken steer an immaculately groomed mare around a litany of fences and various water hazards in the quickest possible time? More recently, it has been home to the ever-expanding rugby bandwagon Leinster for their Magner’s League and European Cup matches. Last week, Ireland’s footballers arrived at the Ballsbridge venue, in the shadow of their future home and gave manager Giovanni Trapattoni plenty to ponder over the summer months.

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

A Morale Draw

Saturday night in Sofia saw a hard-earned point for Ireland. And a deserved one at that. Too often in the past, there were late sloppy goals conceded that cost vital qualification points, which in turn cost Ireland places at major international tournaments over the past decade. This time the sloppy goal was conceded in the 29th minute as opposed to the 89th minute, but Dimitar Telkiyski’s neat finish did not spark the collapse that people may have anticipated. This Irish side is made of stronger stuff.

SOCCER-WORLD/

Continue reading

Self Inflicted Strife

It wouldn’t be the week leading up to a World Cup qualifier without some signs of unrest in the Ireland camp. Dean Kiely’s exit from the squad for the trip to Bulgaria left a sour taste in the mouth. His departure, along with Kieran Westwood’s unfortunately schulded wedding on Saturday means that our cover for Shay Given is a chap whose last game was over a month ago for the 90th placed team in the Football League, and also a youngster who saw 159 minutes of league action. Wayne Henderson and Colin Doyle have to be admired for their commitment to the cause. But manager Giovanni Trapattoni has caused a situation for himself that could have been easily avoided, and caused an unfortunate distraction for Ireland’s biggest game in recent years.

Giovanni-Trapattoni-July-2_998212

Continue reading