Friday, June 25, 2010

Stephen O'Halloran delighted with Coventry move

New Coventry signing Stephen O'Halloran is over the moon to have agreed his move to the club.

The Ireland u21 international full-back will officially join the Sky Blues on a free transfer from Aston Villa on July 1 and sign a one-year contract.

He told the club's official website: "I'm delighted to get the deal done. I had a meeting with the manager earlier in the week and he was very positive. He said he saw me play last season in the reserves and that he liked what he saw which was great for me."

Cork born O'Halloran, who has fought his way back to full fitness after two years out with knee problems, added he hopes to play a big part in a promotion push at the Ricoh Arena sooner rather than later.

"This is a big opportunity for me and it helps that the manager has a very positive outlook on the club," added the 22-year-old. "He will not be settling for mediocrity and I know he is desperate to get the club where it wants to be and that is the Premier League.

"It is obviously going to be one step at a time but I'm just looking forward to helping achieve that in any way I can."

'Come On You Girls In Green'

RTÉ.ie will stream Ireland's clash with Spain in the final of the UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship live on Saturday, 26 June.

The match will be available to view live on the RTÉ website for internet users in Ireland. The match kicks off in Nyon, Switzerland at 12.30pm Irish time.

The game will also be available on-demand on RTÉ.ie for seven days after the game.

Noel King's 'Girls In Green' provided a big shock on Tuesday when they knocked reigning champions Germany out of the competition at the semi-final stage, courtesy of a Megan Campbell free-kick.

Ireland's victory over Germany also ensured them a place at this year's FIFA Women's Under-17 World Cup, which takes place in Trinidad and Tobago from 5-25 September.

European Women's U-17 Championship Final - Ireland v Spain, Saturday, 26 June at 12.30pm

Republic of Ireland squad:

Grace Moloney - Reading FC
Amanda Budden - Wilton United FC
Jessica Gleeson - Tramore FC
Ciara O'Brien - Tramore FC
Jennifer Byrne - Bealnamulla FC
Megan Campbell - St. Francis FC
Tanya Kennedy - Finn Valley FC
Aileen Gilroy - Killala FC
Ciara Grant - Kilmacrennan Celtic FC
Dora Gorman - Salthill Devon FC
Siobhan Killeen - Raheny United FC
Stacie Jayne Donnelly - Reading FC
Denise O'Sullivan - Wilton United FC
Rianna Jarrett - North End Utd. FC
Niamh McLaughlin - Greencastle FC
Kerry Glynn - Montclair Thunderbolts FC
Harriet Archer Scott - Reading FC
Clare Shine - Douglas Hall FC

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Hunt completes Wolves move

Wolves insist Stephen Hunt will return as good as before after dismissing fears of his injury.

The 28-year-old Ireland international completed his £3m move to Molineux yesterday on a three-year contract, despite being in rehabilitation for a damaged foot sustained against Wolves at the end of January.

Both the club and Hunt, who attended his press conference on crutches, steered away from setting comeback dates apart from confirming he will miss the first few games of the season.

Wolves’ concerns at Hunt’s injury – he had to have a ligament re-attached to his foot – and the subsequent price were believed to have been factors in the delay in getting the deal done.

But chief executive Jez Moxey and the club are satisfied Hunt will make a full recovery.

He said: “I accept that it’s unusual for players to be bought when they’re injured. But we’ve tracked Stephen for a very long time. He’s doing well in terms of his rehabilitation.

“Hull have been very open in providing us with his medical records and the surgeons who performed the operation are very satisfied with the rehab and progress he’s making.

“There are no complications. It’s just a question of time and Stephen will play when he’s ready.

“He started work with us yesterday and has been working out in the anti-gravity treadmill.”

Hunt initially played on for three weeks with painkilling injections, after initial x-rays revealed no damage and he didn’t see a foot specialist at the time.

But, when the pain continued, the Republic of Ireland international eventually underwent an exploratory operation which showed some damage, and a little bone was pinned.

He said: “I wouldn’t say it was mis-diagnosed, but it took a bit longer than expected.

“But I had an x-ray in my medical which showed everything is in place – Wolves wouldn’t have signed me without having a good look at that.

“People only need to look at my Prozone statistics and that will tell you enough.

“I know what I’m capable of and where I want to get to and I’ll make sure I get there.

“I’ll miss the first few games of the season. Hopefully it won’t be too many but for the next two months, I’m going to be working tirelessly.

“Everyone is happy and I’m over the worst of it now.”

Monday, June 21, 2010

Aiden McGeady to leave Celtic

Celtic winger Aiden McGeady looks set to call it a day on his Celtic career in what will be a major blow to new Hoops manager Neil Lennon.

According to a report in yesterday's Sunday Mail the Ireland winger has made up his mind to leave Parkhead, with the only consolation for Celtic being that they can expect to bank around £9m for their man.

Fans favourite McGeady broke into the Celtic first team six years ago and has developed into one of the most gifted players in the SPL.

But rookie Celtib boss Neil Lennon is resigned to losing his star man, with Russian side Spartak Moscow already having seen a bid of around £8m rejected by the Hoops.

Spartak are said to be ready to return to the table with an increased offer this week and while the Irish ace would consider a move to Russia his preferred option is to take his talents to England.

McGeady won’t be short of admirers in England, with Aston Villa, Spurs , Everton, Birmingham and Sunderland all tracking the want away Celtic star.

Birmingham boss Alex McLeish has already had a bid of £8m knocked back for McGeady in January but hasn’t given up hope of landing the Celtic star.

Former Hoops boss Martin O’Neill also has the wing ace in his sights. O’Neill gave McGeady his first team break in 2004 and with James Milner set for a £26m move to Manchester City has the funds to meet Celtic’s asking price.

McGeady is under contract until 2013 and new Celtic manager Neil Lennon recently came out and said it would take “ridiculous money” for him to part with the star, but the winger is hoping Celtic don’t price him out of a move by asking for silly money for his services.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Wolves move to secure Stephen Hunt signing

Wolves will step up their bid to sign Hull City winger Stephen Hunt this weekend.

Mick McCarthy looks set to return to the Tigers to further strengthen his squad for a second Premier League campaign with a move for Hunt.

Despite recently hinting his interest in the Ireland winger may have waned, it is understood that McCarthy is determined to have him in his squad next season.

Hunt, who is married to the sister of Wolves striker Kevin Doyle, missed the latter stages of City's season with a foot injury which will also entirely rule him out of pre-season.

A potential return date has been estimated as October at the earliest, although there are some fears it could be Christmas before he is ready to make a full return.

But a source close to the player has told the Mail that initial discussions have been held between the two clubs in recent days during negotiations over Mouyokolo's move.

And it is thought those talks will advance with a view to a deal being struck for Hunt in the next seven days.

Hunt's injury, combined with City's obvious need to sell, will prevent the Tigers from securing anywhere near the £5m offered by Wolves in January for the recently-crowned player of the season. But it is thought Wolves could yet beat the £3.5m offer already made by West Brom.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Sean McDermott signs professional contract with Arsenal

Ireland u17 international Sean McDermott has signed professional papers with Arsenal this week. McDermott, who moved to Arsenal from IK Vaag last summer, featured in Vincent Butler’s u15 & u16 sides before moving up to Sean McCaffrey’s u 17 squad and played in Ireland's UEFA European Under-17 Championship qualifying campaign in March.

McDermott who is Norwegian-born, qualifies for Ireland via his Donegal born father, thus keeping the very strong connection between County Donegal and Irish goalkeepers, past and present, very much alive.

Official Arsenal FC statement:

Arsenal Football Club is delighted to announce young goalkeeper Sean McDermott has signed his first professional contract with the Club.

McDermott (17) was a regular in Steve Bould's Under-18s goal last season, making 12 appearances to help the team finish top of the FA Academy League Under-18 table.

Everyone at the Club is looking forward to the continued contribution and development of Sean with Arsenal in the forthcoming years


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Second victory not good enough for Ireland u19's

Sean McCaffrey's Irish U19 team defeated Bosnia & Herzegovina 1-0 in their final European Championship qualifier courtesy of a Conor Clifford penalty in Kiev on Monday.

However that victory was not enough to secure qualification to this summer's finals in France as England sealed their place in the eight team finals with a 1-1 draw with Ukraine at the Borodinka venue in Kiev. Chelsea midfielder, Conor Clifford scored the only goal from the spot after 68 minutes- his second in as many matches as Ireland claimed second spot in group 3 ahead of European champions, Ukraine.

In a one-sided encounter, it was Ireland who created most of the scoring opportunities throughout the game as they looked to build on their goal difference which they hoped would help their qualification hopes had Ukraine defeated England 1-0.

Daniel Kearns had the games first real opportunity after 11 minutes when he skipped away from his marker on the right wing and his shot from the outside of his right-foot flashed agonisingly across the face of goal. Three minutes later, Conor Henderson tested their opponents keeper, Tino Divkovic with a stunning free-kick from 25 yards which the keeper tipped wide for a corner.

Mervue United keeper, Ger Hanley was called into action in the 15th minute when midfielder, Zlomislić powered a free-kick towards goal but the Galway man was on-hand to avert the danger. Galway United striker, Karl Sheppard had a glorious opportunity to open the scoring in the 24th minute when Conor Henderson cleverly chipped the ball over the defence which allowed Sheppard through one-on-one with Divkovic who raced off his line and blocked the powerful shot from point-blank range.

A minute later, Bosnia & Herzegovina striker, Pandza found himself in space inside the Irish box and with the goal at his mercy, he scuffed his shot and the ball dribbled wide of Hanley's post.

Arsenal's Conor Henderson had another opportunity to break the deadlock just before the break when his 25 yard shot was just off-target as Divkovic scrambled to cover his angles. Bosnia & Herzegovina defender, Alić was dismissed by the referee in the 44th minute when he performed a two-footed lunge on Irish midfielder, Daniel Kearns. The referee made no hesitation and gave the defender a straight red for dangerous play.

Ireland started the second half with the same vigor that they finished the first period. Chelsea's Conor Clifford had two remarkable long-range efforts within minutes of eachother as he struck the crossbar after 56 minutes from over 20 yards and two minutes later he had a similar effort which went just to the left and wide.

As Ireland pushed forward in numbers, it gave Bosnia & Herzegovina a number of opportunities to attack on the break and amazingly, striker, Pandza was guilty of missing another glorious chance as he fluffed his lines in front of Ireland's goal with just Ger Hanley to beat.

Bosnia & Herzegovina keeper, Divkovic was being kept busy by the attacking Irish and he pulled-off two remarkable saves, first from substitute Harry Crawford and then from Karl Sheppard who found space inside the box but the keeper was on-hand to scramble the ball clear and keep the game scoreless.

Ireland made the breakthrough in the 67th minute when Sunderland's Conor Hourihane won his side a penalty when he made a darting run into the opponents box and he was cynically hauled down by defender, Hadžić. Conor Clifford scored his second penalty in as many matches as he calmly put the ball to the keepers left to give Ireland the lead.

Ireland were unable to build on their lead in the final quarter of the game due to the stubbornness of the Bosnia & Herzegovina defence. Substitute, Ronan Murray looked very lively after his introduction after 69 minutes and he had an opportunity to score with ten minutes remaining but his shot was blocked by an on-rushing defender. From the resulting corner, Irish defender, John Dunleavy came agonisingly close when he headed over from three yards as he out-stretched his marker to get his head to the ball.

Republic of Ireland: Ger Hanley, Richard Towell, John Dunleavy, Sean McGinty, Shane McEleney, Conor Hourihane, Conor Clifford, Conor Henderson, Daniel Kearns, Shaun Timmins, Karl Sheppard.

Substitutes: Ian McLoughlin, Ronan Murray (on for Karl Sheppard,69 mins) , Stephen McDonnell, Andrew Boyle, Harrison Crawford (on for Daniel Kearns, 46 mins), James Keohane (on for Shaun Timmins, 33mins).