Friday, July 31, 2009

Bobby Robson RIP

The death has taken place of the former England and Ireland assistant manager Bobby Robson at the age of 76.

A statement issued on behalf of his family said: 'It is with great sadness that it has been announced today that Sir Bobby Robson has lost his long and courageous battle with cancer.

'He died very peacefully this morning at his home in County Durham with his wife and family beside him. Sir Bobby's funeral will be private and for family members only.

'A thanksgiving service in celebration of Sir Bobby's life will be held at a later date for his many friends and colleagues.'

A true footballing great - Rest In Peace

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Ireland squad announced for Australia game

Ireland manager, Giovanni Trapattoni, has named a 24- man squad to face Australia in Thomond Park on Wednesday, 12 August


Shay Given Manchester City
Kieren Westwood Coventry City
Joe Murphy Scunthorpe United


John O'Shea Manchester United
Kevin Foley Wolves
Richard Dunne Manchester City
Stephen Kelly Fullham
Kevin Kilbane Hull City
Eddie Nolan Preston North End
Sean St. Ledger Preston North End


Aiden McGeady Celtic
Damien Duff Newcastle United
Darron Gibson Manchester United
Glenn Whelan Stoke City
Keith Andrews Blackburn Rovers
Liam Miller Unattached
Stephen Hunt Reading
Andy Keogh Wolves
Liam Lawrence Stoke City


Caleb Folan Hull City
Kevin Doyle Wolves
Robbie Keane Tottenham Hotspur
Shane Long Reading
Leon Best Coventry City

Monday, July 27, 2009

McGeady looking forward to new start with Mowbray

Celtic and Ireland winger Aiden McGeady is hoping to rejuvenate his Celtic career following the club's recent change of manager.

The Ireland international suffered a high-profile falling out with former Hoops boss Gordon Strachan last season, resulting in a two-week suspension.

The 23-year-old midfielder has admitted that the unsavoury episode at the turn of the year was a 'real low point' in his career, but insists he is now looking to move on.

With Tony Mowbray installed as the new manager at Parkhead this summer, McGeady is keen to turn his full focus back to his football and concentrate on recapturing the form which has made him one of Europe's most exciting frontmen.

"When you get a new manager it's always going to be a new start," he said.

"After what happened between me and the old gaffer, I'm glad to have a new start.

"What happened wasn't great. It was just one of those things which sometimes happens in football.

"You can have a falling out with a coach. It's happened to a lot of players in the past and I'm sure it'll happen in the future.

"But it was a real low point in my career. I just look to learn from it. In football you've got to try to take something positive from everything."

McGeady has been impressed by Mowbray since the former West Brom coach arrived in Glasgow and expects Celtic to enjoy a productive period under his guidance.

"He comes across as a good guy with good morals. The coaching staff have been great so far, and the training has been good," he added.

"He gets his points across at training and all the boys have been very happy with the way things have gone."

Reading boss praise for prolific Long

Brendan Rodgers has praised hot-shot striker Shane Long after he scored all four of Reading’s goals in their second match in Sweden.

The 22-year-old Ireland international scored twice either side of half-time against Tolo IF on Saturday, staking his claim to spearhead the Royals attack in Rodgers’ preferred 4-3-3 formation.

Speaking after the 4-0 win, Rodgers said: “He scored four and maybe could have had three or four more, he was outstanding.

“His movements good, he’s obviously adapting to a new way of working and playing and I thought you can see he can play in that role and play with real good quality.

“He’s not just a runner and a goal-scorer ,I think you can see him developing his footballing attributes.

“His hold-up play was good and the final phase of the game in scoring goals he was prolific.”

With Welsh international Simon Church banging in four so far during pre-season, equaling his tally in one game would have given Long’s confidence a great boost.

Fellow striker, countryman and best-mate Noel Hunt also got another run-out, along with 19-year-old Nicholas Bignall who has an on-going groin problem.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Andrews focused on Ireland World Cup qualification

Keith Andrews has set his sights on helping Ireland qualify for the 2010 World Cup after this week pledging his future to Blackburn.

The 28-year-old Dublin born midfielder, who joined Rovers a year ago from MK Dons, was the subject of interest from Barclays Premier League rivals Fulham earlier this summer but has now signed a new four-year contract.

Ireland sit in second spot in Group Eight in World Cup qualifying, with three fixtures remaining, Cyprus away in September and Italy & Montenegro at home in October

Andrews said "We will know whether we have qualified automatically, or whether we need the play-offs by October. It is exciting times and fingers crossed we can do it.

"I always look at the short-term future. To play in a World Cup would be a dream come true. To cement my place on the international stage is one thing but to crack on and qualify for a World Cup it would go down in history."

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

James McCarthy signs for Wigan

Hamilton and Ireland u21 midfielder James McCarthy has agreed a four-year contract to join Wigan Athletic for a fee of about £1.2m rising to £3m depending on appearances.

Wigan's English top-flight rivals Wolves also had an offer accepted by the Scottish Premier League club.

Accies chairman Ronnie MacDonald told BBC Scotland: "James is a superb prospect and I know Roberto Martinez and Wigan will look after him."

Wigan expect the deal for the 18-year-old to be concluded within 24 hours.

Promoted Wolves were the first club to agree a fee, but once Wigan joined the race it meant it would be down to the player to choose a preferred destination.

Tottenham Hotspur made a late expression of interest, while Celtic manager Tony Mowbray admitted that his club were being priced out of the race after they, Burnley and Portsmouth had bids rejected earlier this summer.

And it appears to have been manager Martinez's promise of involvement in the first-team squad that tipped the balance in favour of Wigan.

McCarthy, who rejected a transfer to Liverpool in 2007 and was also linked with Chelsea, received no such guarantees from Premier League rivals Spurs or Wolves.

He told Accies' website: "I had an absolutely brilliant time at Accies. The club have been tremendous with me."

The Ireland Under-21 international travelled to Wigan on Monday and will join his new team-mates at their pre-season training camp in Austria.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Darron Gibson extends Manchester United contract until 2012

Derry born Darron Gibson has agreed a new three year deal with Premiership champions Manchester United.

The Ireland international midfielder, who was guest of honour at the recent Tesco Foyle Cup launch in Derry, will remain at Old Trafford until 2012 and admits he can't wait for the start of next season.

"I am very happy to commit my future to United," Gibson told

"Last season I enjoyed every opportunity and when I got my chance I wanted to prove what I could do. I hope to continue that this season."

The 21-year-old, who made 14 appearances for Alex Ferguson's men last season, also played a major role in their Carling Cup success over Spurs, at Wembley in February, ended the campaign on a memorable note when he fired home United's winner over Hull City on the final day of the Premiership season.

Gibson has also been an integral part of Giovanni Trapattoni's Ireland squad during the Word Cup qualifying campaign.

The Manchester United manager expects Gibson to play an even bigger part during the 2009/10 season.

"Darron was one of the young players who emerged last season as a United first-team player," Ferguson explained to United's official website.

"His appearance ratio did not really reflect the high regard in which we hold him, as he has constantly worked hard to challenge for a first team spot."

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Sean McGinty signs for Man United

Manchester United have agreed a fee to sign Charlton Athletic and Ireland u17 international youngster Sean McGinty.

The Premier League giants have reportedly reached an agreement for a compensation package for the youngster, and now McGinty looks set to join the youth ranks at Old Trafford.

The 15-year-old was offered a scholarship at The Valley but has seemingly rejected it, and looks set to end his three-year stay with the club.

Maidstone-based McGinty joined the Addicks at the age of 12 and, despite his age, represented both Charlton's U18 side and reserves last season.

After several appearances for the U18s, McGinty made his first start for the second XI in a 1-0 defeat to Millwall at Stonebridge Road in April.

He then went on to feature in a 5-0 win over Southampton in a behind-closed-doors fixture at Sparrows Lane and also started a 2-0 triumph at Reading.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Mick McCarthy factor proved crucial in Doyle decision

Ireland striker Kevin Doyle admits the speed of Mick McCarthy’s advances convinced him to join Barclays Premier League newcomers Wolves.

Doyle completed his record-breaking £6.5million move from Reading late on Monday night after undergoing a medical.

The 25-year-old joins Wolves on a four-year contract believed to be worth £35,000-a-week after spending a week considering his options.

The much sought-after Ireland international was being chased by half-a-dozen top-flight clubs including Sunderland, Fulham, Bolton, Everton and Aston Villa. Tottenham and West Ham also joined the race late.

Wolves were the first club to open talks with Doyle and had already triggered the £6.5m release clause in his contract with Reading, who paid Cork City just £78,000 for his services in 2005.

Wolves made contact with the Royals immediately after their exit from the Championship play-offs at the hands of Burnley in May and quickly had a bid accepted.

Nothing happened for a month as the Wexford man returned home to recover from a calf strain sustained in the first leg of the play-off semi-final.

But after meeting with Wolves boss McCarthy and being shown around the club’s facilities last week, he needed just seven days to mull it over.

Everton and Aston Villa attempted to hijack the deal at the 11th hour on Monday night but Doyle’s mind was already made up — even though he could
have earned more elsewhere.

He becomes Wolves’ third signing after Nenad Milihas and Doyle’s former Reading team-mate, Marcus Hahnemann.

Unveiled yesterday morning, Doyle thanked Wolves for their expedience. ‘The fact that the day the season was over they put in a phone call and had a bid accepted, that interest straight away made me think “they’re keen”.

‘They came in and settled things with Reading so they were the first club I spoke to. I was expecting a long summer but Wolves were in straight away.

‘I spoke to the manager and chief executive over a week ago and came to the training ground to see everything. I’ve been making my mind up over the last couple of weeks and am just really pleased the decision has been made.

‘The facilities here are top class and it’s great to be going back to the Premier League again. I’m sad to be leaving Reading because I had some great years but I’m going with their blessing, which is nice. This is a fresh start.’

His exit signals the start of the break-up of Reading’s Irish contingent with winger Stephen Hunt next to move this summer, leaving Shane Long, Noel Hunt, Jay Tabb
and David Mooney at the Madejski Stadium while Doyle swaps one Irish camp for another.

He will settle in quickly with fellow internationals Andy Keogh and Kevin Foley already in the Wolves squad as well as former Under 21 forward Stephen Ward, while boss McCarthy played for and managed the national side.

Doyle will also link up again with American goalkeeper Hahnemann, who joined Wolves for free last month and who also influenced the striker’s thinking.

‘I’m leaving one set of Irish lads to join another as well as obviously knowing Marcus,’ he said. ‘It always makes it that little bit easier to settle in when there are a few faces you recognise.’

Doyle shot to prominence in Reading’s first season in the Premier League and hit the back of the net 13 times in 28 appearances — just the sort of firepower McCarthy will want to keep Wolves from avoiding the drop.

However, the FAI Player of the Year insists the top flight should hold no fears for the newly-promoted club after Reading’s amazing eighth place in 2006/07, when they narrowly missed out on Europe before relegation a season later.

He said: ‘We finished a point and a goal away from Europe when I went up with Reading. I don’t know why we did so well but we all went in there wide-eyed, excited and fresh to play and that got us through.

‘But it’s not a completely different world and you realise you can do well there. I wanted to get back there with Reading but we didn’t do it last season.

‘I’m delighted to be joining what is historically a massive club and one which will be trying to establish itself in the Premier League.’