Monday, August 31, 2009

Stephen Ireland continues his self-exile

Stephen Ireland has stated that his decision to retire from international football as, “the best decision I ever made”, all but ending, it would appear, any hope the Manchester City midfielder might represent his country again in the medium term.

In an interview with a British Sunday newspaper, Ireland is asked about the work he undertook to improve his fitness during the close season and reveals he was looking forward to the other players at City being away on international duty as it will give him a chance to resume his latest hobby of running up flights of steps!

The Man City player continued “I’m not thinking about it (coming back for Ireland) at all. It’s just my position and it feels like the best decision I ever made.”

Stephen Ireland's latest interview has caused a wave of comments on Ireland football forums with almost every supporter responding in a negative way to Ireland's continued self exile and lack of commitment to his country.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ireland U21 squad announced

Ireland under-21 manager Don Givens has named an 18-man squad for next month's European Championship qualifier in Tallinn against Estonia.

Histon's Lanre Oyebanjo, James McKeown of Peterborough United and Aston Villa's James Collins are included in the squad for the first time. Reading midfielder Scott Davies is also in line to make his debut for Ireland at this level.

Manager Don Givens is looking forward to the squad: 'Estonia are a good side, they work very hard and will make it difficult for us, especially since they are at home.

'They went to Switzerland earlier this month and won. I saw that match and I was impressed by them. It's a tricky fixture for us but I'm very happy with the squad I have.'

He added: 'A lot of the players are experienced at this level, having been regulars with the under-21s for some time now.

'We also have a few new faces in the squad, so I am looking forward to getting a close look at those players. This is a strong squad, one that is certainly capable of making an impact in the European Championship qualifiers.

Ireland U21 Squad

Shane Redmond (Burton Albion), James McKeown (Peterborough United), Michael Spillane (Norwich City), Brendan Moloney (Notts County), Darren Dennehy (Hereford United), Shane Lowry (Aston Villa), Ian Bermingham (Shamrock Rovers), Lanre Oyebanjo (Histon), Stephen Gleeson (MK Dons), David Meyler (Sunderland), Owen Garvan (Ipswich Town), James McCarthy (Wigan Athletic), Alan Judge (Plymouth Argyle), Jay O'Shea (Birmingham City), Scott Davies (Reading), Cillian Sheridan (Plymouth Argyle), Sean Scannell (Crystal Palace) and James Collins (Aston Villa).

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

McShane completes Hull City move

Sunderland and Ireland defender Paul McShane has been given a fresh chance to revive his career with a second move to Hull City.

The former Manchester United trainee, who spent five months on loan at the KC Stadium last season, has agreed personal terms with Phil Brown and was having a medical last night to complete a £1.5 million move.

Currently recovering from knee surgery, Wicklow born McShane is expected to resume training next week.

Hull City assistant manager Brian Horton said: "Macca was terrific with us when he was last here. He's one player we've looked at. I'm sure there'll be movement before the window closes."

Monday, August 24, 2009

Ireland U19 squad announced

Ireland Under-19 manager Sean McCaffrey has announced his squad for the upcoming Four Nations tournament, which will be held in Dublin and Bray on September 5th, 6th and 8th.

Ireland will compete against Turkey, Holland and Portugal in the Four Nations Tournament.

Ireland Under-19 squad

Ger Hanley Galway United
Ciaran Gallagher Finn Harps

Richie Towell Celtic
Rob Kiernan Watford
Gavin Gunning Tranmere Rovers (on loan from Blackburn Rovers)
Mark O’Brien Derby County
Greg Cunningham Manchester City
Shane McEleney Derry City

Stephen McDonnell Celtic
Conor Henderson Arsenal
Conor Clifford Chelsea
Conor Hourihane Sunderland
Gearoid Morrissey Blackburn Rovers
Aaron Doran Blackburn Rovers

Robbie Brady Manchester United
Patrick McEleney Sunderland
Ronan Murray Ipswich Town
Joe Mason Plymouth Argyle
Jamil Adam Barnsley

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Ireland squad named for World Cup qualifier

Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni has announced a 24 man squad for the forthcoming FIFA World Cup group 8 qualifier against Cyprus in Nicosia on September 5 and the friendly against South Africa on September 8.

Trapattoni said, “We have put ourselves in a good position in the qualification group going into this game. The match against Cyprus is very important as we continue to try to book our place in South Africa next summer.”

He continued, “The match against South Africa in Thomond Park will provide useful preparation for our final two World Cup qualifying games against Italy and Montenegro in Croke Park in October.”

Ireland squad v Cyprus and South Africa

Shay Given Manchester City
Keiren Westwood Coventry City
Joe Murphy Scunthorpe United
John O'Shea Manchester United
Kevin Foley Wolves
Richard Dunne Manchester City
Stephen Kelly Fulham
Kevin Kilbane Hull City
Eddie Nolan Preston North End
Sean St. Ledger Preston North End
Aiden McGeady Celtic
Damien Duff Fulham
Darron Gibson Manchester United
Glenn Whelan Stoke City
Keith Andrews Blackburn Rovers
Liam Miller Unattached
Stephen Hunt Hull City
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

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Marc Wilson starts season with an award

Ireland under 21 International Marc Wilson was named the Portsmouth man-of-the-match for the Premier League opener against Fulham last Saturday. Pompey lost 1-0, but Wilson looked assured alongside Sylvain Distin in the centre of defence.

He could do nothing about Fulham's winner, a Clint Dempsey shot which took a massive deflection off Bobby Zamora's back to deceive David James. But the young County Antrim born Irishman made some key challenges and clearances to ensure the Cottagers did not score again.

Wilson will be focused on cementing a regular start for Portsmouth this season and has shown great versatility in operating at right-back, centre-back & right-midfield for Pompey during the pre-season.

Wilson will also be hoping to catch the eye of Ireland international manager Giovanni Trapattoni and possibly earn a call-up to the senior squad.

Portsmouth boss Hart admits Wilson is still far from the finished article, but he has challenged the Ireland man to keep hold of his spot.

"obviously it would have been a bit nerve-wracking for him, but he coped well in two positions.

"He did well in pre-season but I thought he tired a little in the last 20 minutes. He's a young boy who is learning his trade.

"He's a good defensive midfielder as well as a defender, so he has plenty of strings to his bow.

"Marc is in the team and the way I've always been brought up is if you've got the shirt, keep it.

"That's done by performance and Marc is no different to anyone else."

Duff completes Fulham move

Fulham have completed the signing of Newcastle's Ireland winger Damien Duff for an undisclosed fee.

The 30-year-old made his name at Blackburn, where he played under current Fulham boss Roy Hodgson, before moving to Chelsea for £17m in 2003.

Duff then moved to Newcastle in the summer of 2006 for £5m.

"I am delighted to add a player of his calibre to our squad and welcome the further midfield options he provides us with," Hodgson told Fulham's website.

"I have known Damien for over a decade since he broke into the first team at Blackburn when I was manager, so I'm fully aware of his qualities and I am looking forward to working with him again."

Duff added: "I know that having spoken to the manager in recent days that the club's ambitions remain high and I am looking forward to the challenges ahead."

Friday, August 14, 2009

Fulham move for Duff

Fulham manager Roy Hodgson hopes to seal a deal for Damien Duff after confirming his interest in the Irish winger.

Hodgson has stated that Fulham are in discussions regarding the former Chelsea man, who previously worked under the Cottagers boss at Blackburn.

Duff, 30, is said to be keen on a move back to London and he could be on the verge of a reunion with his ex-manager.

"The clubs are talking and I hope the deal will go through. He's a player that interests us," said Hodgson.

"Damien and I go back a long way from when we worked together at Blackburn. He wants to come back to West London.

"Damien had injury problems at Chelsea and has done well at Newcastle given the turmoil there.

"Every time he's played for Ireland he's consistently been one of their best performers.

"We know what we'd be getting with Damien - he's an experienced and quality player."

Monday, August 10, 2009

Liam Brady: Doyle will play a part against Australia

Ireland assistant manager Liam Brady has said that former Ireland manager Mick McCarthy had “thrown them a dummy” over the availability of Kevin Doyle for Ireland’s friendly against Australia on Wednesday.

Speaking after the team trained in Tipperary today, Brady said that Doyle would be able to play for 45 minutes on Wednesday.

Brady said: “Mick McCarthy threw us a dummy last week. He said to me to tell the manager that it was very unlikely that he would be here.

“He had an operation and he said that there was a little infection in the wound and he wasn’t going to be able to participate in their friendly match on Saturday.

“But things changed. Mick rang me on Saturday and said that Doyle would be playing and he would get half an hour and therefore he could have 45 minutes for us against Australia.”

Brady said he was delighted at the positive news on Kevin Doyle, as well as being pleased with having an almost full squad, but said that Leon Best was “doubtful” for the game.

Brady continued - “Leon Best is a doubt, he is going to have an examination in Coventry and they are going to let us know if he is available to join the squad, but I have to say it’s doubtful.”