Thursday, September 30, 2010

Wolves chairman expects Hunt to shine

Wolves chairman Steve Morgan has vowed that his team will come good and has tipped Irish international new-boy Stephen Hunt to prove a major hit.

Former Ireland boss Mick McCarthy takes his side to Wigan on Saturday reeling from three successive defeats that have seen them ship five late goals, after leading in two of them.

Laois born Hunt is expected back in contention after the international break and Morgan is expecting big things of the Ireland international.

He said: “Like a lot of Wolves fans, I’m really looking forward to seeing him play.

“I was a huge admirer of his when he was playing for Hull and Reading.

“I’m sure he’ll make a difference for us.”

Hunt has been progressing well from his foot injury and McCarthy hopes he can be available for the visit of West Ham on October 16.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Ireland U17's Qualify for elite stages with game to spare

Ireland confirmed their place in the Elite qualifying stages of the European u17 championship with a 2 - 0 win over Albania at the centenary stadium in Malta yesterday afternoon. Two goals in the first ten minutes was enough to see Ireland guarantee a top two finish, with a game to spare in their qualifying group.

Ireland will face Norway in Thursday's concluding qualifier knowing victory will see them finish top of the group and guarantee a first seeding in the elite draw to be made later this year.

Morling kept faith with the same starting team from Saturday and they struck within the first minute. Colm Horgan and Darragh Lenihan combined to free Kenny McEvoy into space on the right wing and his low cross was bundled over the line by the alert Philip Roberts.

That strike, with just 38 seconds gone, provided Ireland with the impetus to seek further goals and they doubled their advantage in similar fashion on ten minutes.

McEvoy worked his magic on the flank by skipping past two defenders and on cue to head home his pinpoint delivery was James Murphy.

Ireland's impressive start should have secured a third goal six minutes later only for the offside flag to be harshly raised when Tommie Hoban nodded a Mikey Drennan cross past goalkeeper Aldo Tedja.

The second half saw Ireland maintain their high tempo with Lenihan and Kealan Dillon close to adding more goals in the opening quarter of an hour. Sam Byrne, an interval replacement for Roberts, sped free of his marker on 74 minutes yet his shot from point blank range was well stopped by Tedja.

Ireland's performance was all the more admirable given the gamesmanship dished out by their opponents.

"We scored early and could have won by more," said Morling afterwards. "The players kept possession well in the second half and saw out the game for a deserved victory.
It was a great effort by the lads in an environment they wouldn't have experienced before."

"We had six players receive bookings but most of these were undeserved. I thought our lads remained calm in the face of much provocation. To qualify with a game left is a marvelous tribute to the players and they certainly were the better team in both games so far."


Coll (Manchester United); Horgan (Salthill Devon), Smith (Newcastle United), Hoban (Watford), Kavanagh (Belvedere); Drennan (Aston Villa), Lenihan (Belvedere), Dillon (Derby County), McEvoy (Tottenham Hotspur); Murphy (Reading), Roberts (Arsenal),
Substiutions: Byrne (St Joseph's Boys) for Roberts (h/t), Garmston (West Brom) for Drennan (70 mins), Sadlier (West Ham United) for Murphy (79 mins).

UEFA Under-17 Championship first phase qualifiers

Saturday September 25
Ireland 3-1 Malta.

Monday September 27
Ireland 2-0 Albania.

Thursday September 30
Ireland v Norway - Centenary Stadium, Ta' Qali (2pm).

Monday, September 27, 2010

Seamus Coleman continues to earn plaudits

Jimmy Armfield has tipped Everton's Seamus Coleman for a bright future in the game.

Killybegs born Coleman has pushed himself into regular first team contention at Goodison Park, scoring his first goal for the Club in the Carling Cup tie at Brentford last week and earning a first Premier League start at Fulham on Saturday.

Armfield, is often credited with being the first truly attacking full-back in English football and as paving the way for players like Coleman.

The Ireland U21 international spent the latter part of last season on loan at Blackpool, a club where Armfield holds hero status having spent his entire career at Bloomfield Road – a ground where a stand is now named after him.

And the former England man says he was extremely impressed with the youngster, particularly his attitude and temperament.

“Seamus did really well for Blackpool and I think going there was really good for him,” Armfield told

“He was a real favourite at the club, the fans loved him and I think they would have signed him had they had the chance but obviously David Moyes wouldn’t want to lose a talented lad like that.

“He is very adventurous, a very progressive player and I thought when he came on against Manchester United the other week the game changed a bit.

“He has a good engine and also a very good temperament. He had a good trip at Blackpool, he went to Wembley and was part of winning promotion and it was all good experience for him.”

Armfield feels the role of the full of the full-back has changed considerably in the modern game and that Coleman’s attacking intent is emblematic of a shift in emphasis.

In fact such is Coleman’s aptitude for the attacking side of the game, the Irishman was handed a start on the right of midfield at Craven Cottage.

“I think first job for a full-back is to defend but if you can attack and impose yourself going forward then that is a real asset,” Armfield continued. “I always thought that was a big part of the job. People say I was the first attacking full-back and I always wanted to impose myself on the opposition.

“I think the job of the full-back has changed and that full-backs are generally more attacking now. Players go on, they link-up down the flank and they go on again and break into the box – Ashley Cole is probably the best at it and look how important he is to Chelsea.

“Seamus has the talent and seems physically and mentally right which is very positive, but he is no age and his time will come.”

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Ireland beat Malta in opening UEFA U17 qualifier

The Ireland Under-17 team started their UEFA Championship first phase qualifying campaign with a win yesterday after beating Malta at the Centenary Stadium, Ta'Quli.

Ireland are competing with mini-groups hosts Malta, Albania and Norway for the two qualifying places into the elite phase of the competition which are due to take place in the new year.

Yesterday's victory, the first match under the management of John Morling, was never in doubt once James Murphy fired Ireland ahead on twelve minutes.

Mikey Drennan had headed over and Jamie Smith had his header saved during a two minute period prior to the breakthrough goal but Reading striker Murphy made no mistake after Colm Horgan and Philip Roberts had combined to release the forward.

Ireland continued to press and Roberts was inches from netting a great individual goal after he got past three defenders and struck the post with a shot.

Murphy then saw his effort cleared off the line as Ireland finished the first half the stronger.

The pattern of the game remained the same following the restart with the Irish peppering Malta's goal. Darragh Lenihan was denied by the goalkeeper on 51 minutes but there was nothing the custodian could do about Drennan's shot on 66 minutes which made it 2-0.

The goal arrived from a free-kick awarded for a lunge by Samir Arab on Ireland winger Kenny McEvoy which earned the Maltese defender his second booking of the contest.

Despite their numerical disadvantage, Malta then enjoyed their best period of the game and Muscat's expertly taken free-kick swept past Joe Coll on 72 minutes to reduce the arrears.

Ireland never looked like conceding again, though, and after Kealan Dillon's shot rebounded off the post, the same player made the game safe eleven minutes from time with a strong strike following some superb build-up play.

UEFA Under-17 first phase qualifying result

Malta 1-3 Ireland
Muscat 72 James Murphy 12
Mikey Drennan 66
Kealan Dillon 79

Saturday, September 25, 2010

McGeady nets first goal for Spartak

Ireland international winger Aiden McGeady was last night celebrating his first goal for Spartak Moscow.

His 77th minute equaliser saved his team from a home defeat to Amkar Perm, with the final score 2-2. The 24-year-old's goal came when he instinctively responded to a cross and scored from the right side of the Perm goal.

His club is now in sixth place, but fans were unhappy that Spartak failed to beat one of the weakest teams in the Russian premiership. Despite this, Spartak remain unbeaten in the four matches since the £9.5 million winger has played since joining from Celtic.

Immediately before the game his coach Valery Karpin had predicted the Irish international would score. "So far he did what we first of all expected from him - set up our forwards for goals. But I am sure it is very soon that we will see him finding the back of the net," he said before kick off.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Conor Henderson pens new arsenal deal

Arsenal have confirmed that Ireland u19 international Conor Henderson has signed a contract extension at the Emirates stadium.

The 19-year-old central midfield player has progressed through the junior ranks and Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger could give the player first team opportunities in the Carling Cup this season.

Henderson was handed his first professional contract with the gunners in 2008, with the left footed central player instantly impressing for Steve Bould's young Gunners.

Yet to make a senior appearance for the Emirates club, Henderson was involved with the Arsenal squad at the end of last term for the trip to Wigan and Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger ncluded Henderson in his pre-season training camp in Austria.

"Just to be included was massive for me, I was so happy to be going with the squad," Henderson said on his inclusion at the time.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Robbie Brady aiming to continue Man United reserve run

Ireland under 21 international Robbie Brady is aiming to cast off his injury concerns and consistently display his top form, after catching the eye in his first Man United Reserves start of the season.

The Dublin born former St. Kevin's Boys winger bagged a brace in United's 5-1 Lancashire Senior Cup win at Bury on Monday evening. He remained modest about his goals, however, and is merely looking for a consistent run in the reserve team.

"I had a tough time last season, nearly seven eight months out with injury," Brady told MUTV. "I've been training nearly every day this season, I'm feeling fitter for it and hopefully I can get fitter as the weeks go on.

"The first goal, I didn't hit cleanly but the 'keeper pushed it into the net. The second one just dropped to me. I was looking to open up my body and put it into the corner but the defender was too close so I just toe-poked it in."

"We were comfortable in the first half but we didn't push it in terms of goals. In the second half we upped it a bit more and the goals came one after the other," he said.

"The lads love to play flowing football in training and tonight we've shown we can do it in matches too. Hopefully we'll show more through the season. We're all close mates off the pitch as well so that helps us on the pitch. Sometimes things don't go as well as we'd like, but it was a good team performance tonight."

Brady has been a part of Ireland's international youth set-up for the last four years, progressing throuth the u15,u17 & u19 teams and this month make his u21 debut in the European u21 qualifier against Switzerland at the Cornaredo Stadium, Lugano on 3 September.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Young Ireland keeper commits to Watford

Watford have secured Academy goalkeeper Jack Bonham on a long-term professional contract after the shot-stopper celebrated his 17th birthday last week.

Ireland u17 youth international Bonham, will be contracted to the Hornets until 2013.

Watford manager Malky Mackay said: “We're delighted to have him on board; he's a good prospect and we see potential there.

“Jack has now committed himself to the football club and, under Alec Chamberlain's mentoring, we hope to see him progress and go from strength to strength.”

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Ireland squad named for crucial Euro qualifiers

Four players who missed Ireland's last two Euro 2012 qualifiers have been included in a 26-man provisional squad ahead of the games against Russia and Slovakia.

Damien Duff, Keith Andrews, Keith Treacy and Darren O'Dea missed the two wins over Armenia and Andorra.

Duff, 31, Treacy and O'Dea have been back in action for their clubs Fulham, Preston and Ipswich respectively but Andrews has yet to return for Blackburn.

Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni has also included CSKA Sofia striker Cillian Sheridan again.

The 21-year-old former Celtic player was drafted into the squad ahead of the last two internationals following the injury withdrawals.

Trapattoni warned that Russia and Slovakia remain the Republic's biggest rivals.

He said: 'We go into these qualifiers with six points from six in the opening games of the campaign in September.

'We performed well against Armenia and Andorra and we will build on these good results in our next games against Russia and Slovakia.

'These teams are the top seeds in the group and they will be looking to take three points from us to kickstart their Euro campaigns.

'But we have prepared well and will not make it easy for them as we continue to lay the foundations to qualify for the European Championship finals.'

Ireland provisional 26-man squad to face Russia on October 8 and Slovakia on October 12 in Euro 2012 qualifiers:

Given (Manchester City), Westwood (Coventry), Murphy (Scunthorpe); O'Shea (Manchester United), Dunne (Aston Villa), St Ledger (Preston), Cunningham (Manchester City), Foley (Wolves), Kelly (Fulham), McShane (Hull), O'Dea (Ipswich); Kilbane (Hull), Andrews (Blackburn), Whelan (Stoke), Gibson (Manchester United), Green (Derby), Lawrence (Portsmouth), McGeady (Spartak Moscow), Keogh (Cardiff), Duff (Fulham), Fahey (Birmingham), Treacy (Preston); Keane (Tottenham), Doyle (Wolves), Long (Reading), Sheridan (CSKA Sofia).

Monday, September 13, 2010

McGeady delighted with Spartak debut

Ireland winger Aiden McGeady has revealed that he thoroughly enjoyed his debut for Spartak Moscow after he set up the winning goal.

The £9 million former Celtic winger played the full 90 minutes as Spartak beat FC Saturn 2-1. The Irish international provided the assist for Brazilian Welliton to score the winner after the striker had already netted for McGeady's side.

"The main thing was we won," said McGeady. "It was nice that I helped with one of the goals, but the credit belongs to Welliton. He's a great striker.

"The game was extremely difficult and tense. We managed to score, but they equalised and it took us time to adjust our game. Saturn were a strong, physical team.

"They reminded me of clubs in Scotland because they were defensive and tried to play on the counter-attack. To get past them was not easy. I'm a little tired after playing the full 90 minutes. I haven't played any matches in the pre-season, but now I am starting to get match fit after playing for Ireland in Europe. Once I start getting the games in for Spartak, I will get into my stride.

"I was playing on the right wing and, although I usually played on the left with Celtic, I played on the right wing earlier in my career. Anyway, I generally fell very comfortable being in that position. It was different for me playing on the artificial grass here, but I am confident I can adapt to the surface. I had better since we play all our home games on it!

"Now I have the Champions League to look forward to. I still don't have enough match practice, but that will come once I get games under my belt."

Spartak boss Valery Karpin said: "McGeady had a good game and showed the qualities that we bought him for"

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Moyes impressed by Seamus Coleman progress.

Seamus Coleman continued his impressive progress for Everton this season after playing the last half hour in the Toffees superb comeback aginst Man United this afternoon, and David Moyes is keen to push the Donegal born defender all the way to a regular starting position in the team.

“Seamus is doing well. He is pushing all the time to get into the team. He is on the verges of it. We brought him on against Villa and brought him on further forward, but Tony Hibbert has started the season well.

“Seamus will be in the squad, he has been in and around every game. We’d like to help him progress but there is competition there with Tony Hibbert and Phil Neville.

“The one thing Seamus has got on his side is he is young as a footballer, not like 17 years old, but he’s come from Sligo Rovers and is not completely up to the full speed of the Premier League and what’s expected. But he’s progressing and getting close. He was a great 60 grand buy.”

Moyes adds: “He’s a right-back but came on further up against Villa because he has abilities to get forward. We are short of a right-sided midfielder at the moment.

“Jack Rodwell came off against Villa and he’d been on the right which is out of position for him, so we are looking for a solution there. Who knows? Seamus could be the one to give it a go there.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Ireland 3 - Andorra 1

The result was never really in doubt as the gulf in footballing ability was obvious, with Kevin Kilbane, Kevin Doyle and Robbie Keane all finding the back of the net for Ireland in their second European qualifier against Andorra in Dublin last night.

But Andorra may have won over a few critics with their combative display, and they even managed to notch a goal of their own through Christian Martinez's thunderbolt.

Giovanni Trapattoni's team never really got out of second gear but they won't mind as they kept up their 100 per cent record in Group B.

Ireland set their stall out to attack at every opportunity, with Keane and Aiden McGeady standing out with their offensive intent.

McGeady's trickery was running rings around the Andorra defence, and it only seemed a matter of time before the minnows' backline would be breached.

And so it proved as in the 14th minute, Liam Lawrence's pinpoint corner-kick was headed home at the near post by a grateful Kilbane, winning his 106th cap for his country.

In fairness to Andorra, they managed to weather the storm after the goal, but Lawrence almost made it 2-0 on the half-hour mark when he chipped the ball over the keeper but just on the wrong side of the net.

The gap between the Andorran midfield and rearguard was widening with every passing minute as the Irish professionals' fitness levels came into play.

But it was something truly special that doubled Ireland's lead, as Doyle turned inside just outside the right-hand side of the box, before powering a left-footed wonder strike into the corner of the goal.

It was a brilliant goal with the Wolves man using very little backlift, as the ball swerved from right to left past unwitting Andorran keeper Josep Gomes.

Andorra's spirit was undeterred by Doyle's magic though and not long after they had a spectacular strike of their own to celebrate.

Defender Martinez, completely out of the blue, hit a right-footed volley as purely as any player could wish to from outside the area that whistled past Shay Given.

Ireland boss Trapattoni's smiles and high-fives with his assistants soon turned into frosty stares of anger, as he berated his players for not closing Martinez down quicker.

The goal seemed to rattle the home side going into half-time and it showed for the first eight minutes or so after the interval until Keane restored the two-goal advantage and normal service resumed.

Trapattoni's men tried a little more passing and a bit more patience and it paid off as the Tottenham striker scored his 44th international goal with a deft chip over the onrushing Gomes.

Ireland were denied a stonewall penalty as Fernando Silva wrestled Doyle to the ground, but bizarrely Cypriot referee Leontios Trattou barely batted an eyelid.

Trapattoni's charges tried to find another goal to add some gloss to the scoreline but it wasn't to be and they seemed quite content to leave field with the three points in the bag.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Ireland unchanged for Andorra qualifier

Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni has resisted the temptation to make alterations to his team for tomorrow's Euro 2012 qualifier against Andorra.

Trap will field the same 11 players who started Friday evening's 1-0 win in Armenia in the first competitive international at the new Lansdowne Road.

That means keeper Shay Given will line up behind a back four of John O'Shea, Richard Dunne, Sean St Ledger and Kevin Kilbane, while Glenn Whelan retains his place in a midfield four also including Liam Lawrence, Paul Green and Aiden McGeady despite having been booked in Yerevan.

Skipper Robbie Keane will once again partner Kevin Doyle in attack, although Trapattoni intends to give other players a chance from the bench, providing that the game goes the way he hopes.

And Robbie Keane is ready to make up for lost time against Andorra tomorrow night after passing up the opportunity to move himself closer to membership of an elite club.

The Ireland skipper had one strike ruled out for offside, hit the post and fired wide from the kind of chance he converts with almost monotonous regularity during Friday night’s 1-0 Euro 2012 qualifier victory in Armenia.

As a result, he failed to add to his current tally of 43 goals in 101 senior appearances for his country and home in on the half-century which would establish him among world football’s most prolific goalscorers.

The list of men to have broken through that barrier includes the likes of Pele, Ferenc Puskas, Gerd Muller and Gabriel Batistuta, and it would be a major achievement for Keane to add his name to an illustrious roll-call.

However, while that target is understandably in the Tottenham striker’s mind, he does not mind who scores Ireland’s goals in the current qualifying campaign as long as they get the points they need to reach the finals.

Keane said: “It is, yes. I don’t want to jump the gun too quickly, but now that I am climbing close to it, of course it would be great to achieve that.

“To be in the bracket with the players who are already there and have already achieved that would be a great honour.

“But at the same time, there are still a few goals to go, so I wouldn’t be thinking about that too much.”

On paper, Andorra’s visit to Dublin for Ireland’s first competitive game at the Aviva Stadium represents a glorious opportunity for Keane to take a significant step towards reaching 50 goals for his country.

However, the man who scored a hat-trick against San Marino in the last competitive international at the old Lansdowne Road, is taking nothing for granted.

He said: “At the end of the day, I never set targets. That would be very naive of me and disrespectful to the other team.

“As a striker, it is always important to score goals and get your confidence up, but whether I score tomorrow or anyone else, the most important thing is the three points.

“Our aim is to win every game by scoring as many goals as possible, but under different circumstances in different games, it is not as easy as you think.

“Certainly, international football now is not as easy as it used to be, even six, seven years ago. Teams are a lot tighter now.”

That said, Ireland were able to open up the Armenian rearguard repeatedly on Friday, only for their captain to suffer an uncharacteristically unproductive evening in front of goal.

However, he insists he will not dwell on those misses as he attempts to start his total ticking over once again.

The 30-year-old said: “You just forget about it. It has happened to me loads of times before in the past and it will certainly happen to me in the future.

“I will miss chances and I will score chances, but I never really let my head go down about things because another chance will always come along.

“As you get older, you get more experienced. When you are younger, you want to kill yourself sometimes, but as you get older, you realise that plenty more chances will come.

“I am not really too worried about it. It would be great to score a lot of goals in this campaign, but if I didn’t score a lot of goals in this campaign and we qualified, then...”

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Keane fit for Andorra qualifier

Ireland skipper Robbie Keane will be fit for Tuesday night's Euro 2012 qualifier against Andorra after he suffered no reaction to his knee injury in last night's 1-0 win over Armenia.

The 30-year-old striker, who has been struggling with the problem, was substituted shortly after Keith Fahey's winning goal at the Yerevan Republican Stadium last night.

However, manager Giovanni Trapattoni revealed today that he took him off simply as a precaution.

He said: 'I gave him a little bit of a rest because he had, not an injury, but some pain and I wanted to be cautious about it.'

Meanwhile, Ipswich defender Darren O'Dea was expected to resume training today after recovering from a sprained knee, while Hull counterpart Paul McShane has rejoined the squad after missing the Armenia game with a hamstring problem.

However, Fulham winger Damien Duff remains sidelined by a calf strain.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Ireland start with victory

Super sub Keith Fahey launched Ireland's Euro 2012 qualifying campaign with a hard-fought victory in Armenia.

The Birmingham midfielder struck his first senior international goal after 76 minutes to edge the Irish past Vardan Minasyan's men at the sweltering Yerevan Republican Stadium.

No-one will have been more delighted than captain Robbie Keane, who passed up a glorious early chance, had a goal ruled out for offside and then hit the post on a night when things did not go for him in the final third.

However, there was as much relief as pleasure as he and his team-mates left the pitch having been put to the test by their hosts.

Armenia gave as good as they got and although goalkeeper Shay Given had few saves to make which genuinely taxed him, the home side were quick, direct and technically gifted and were certainly no push-over.

Indeed, in playmaker Henrikh Mkhitaryan, they had arguably the best player on the pitch, and the Republic will hope Armenia can take points from some of their rivals when they visit the Yerevan Republican Stadium.

The win sends Ireland into Tuesday's home clash with Group B minnows Andorra knowing a perfect start would set the up very nicely for what lies ahead.

Manager Giovanni Trapattoni admitted at his pre-match press conference in Yerevan that he would happily settle for a 1-0 win from what he promised would be a tricky fixture, and if anyone doubted his voracity, they were soon disabused of the notion.

Armenia, who have beaten both Poland and Belgium in their capital city in recent years, were far from over-awed by the task with which they were presented, and with the impressive Mkhitaryan, Shakhtar Donetsk's recent #5.8million acquisition, pulling the strings behind lone striker Yura Movsisyan, they made life intensely difficult for the visitors.

Mkhitaryan treated Derby midfielder Paul Green to a torrid welcome to competitive international football, while wide men Edgar Malakyan and Levon Pachajyan kept full-backs John O'Shea and Kevin Kilbane on the toes throughout the opening 45 minutes.

For all that, the Republic could have gone in at the break comfortably in front.

Keane might have put them ahead within eight minutes, but volleyed agonisingly wide from Kevin Doyle's flick-on with just goalkeeper Roman Berezovsky to beat, and he thought he had done so 10 minutes before the break when he shot home from Glenn Whelan's free-kick, only for an offside flag to ruin his celebrations.

However, perhaps the best chance fell to central defender Sean St Ledger, whose powerful 22nd-minute header from an Aiden McGeady corner was palmed away by Berezovsky.

Given had to save from Karlen Mkrtchyan and Pachajyan in quick succession, and he was grateful to see Movsisyan volley over 14 minutes before the break.

Trapattoni sent his side back into battle knowing they were in a game, and they were almost caught out within five minutes when Movsisyan combined well with full-back Artak Erdigaryan, but then overhit his through-ball to the supporting Mkhitaryan.

Mkhitaryan forced another save from Given and Mkrtchyan hooked just wide with Armenia sensing a genuine opportunity, and there was an anxious moment for the Ireland goalkeeper when defender Richard Dunne's headed clearance looped just over his own crossbar.

But as the home side forged forward in search of the opening goal, they left space at the back and Doyle almost exploited that 19 minutes from time with a powerful drive which Berezovsky had to palm away.

In the meantime, Trapattoni had replaced McGeady with Fahey, and it was he who finally put the visitors in front with 14 minutes remaining.

Armenia could not clear their lines as Keane and then Doyle made nuisances of themselves, and when the ball broke to the Birmingham midfielder, he smashed it past Berezovsky to snatch victory.

In a tense finish to the game, the home side penned Ireland back inside their own half, but stout defence won the day as Trapattoni's men once again ensured that one goal was enough.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Ireland team named for Euro qualifier

Ireland captain Robbie Keane and central defender Richard Dunne have both been named in the team to face Armenia in tomorrow's Euro 2012 qualifier in Yerevan.

Keane is battling a knee problem while Dunne has missed several days' training this week with a muscle problem.

However, both were expected to take part in the session at the Yerevan Republican Stadium this evening and be available for the game.

Dunne will line up in a back four alongside Sean St Ledger with John O'Shea and Kevin Kilbane as the full-backs, while the midfield will comprise Liam Lawrence, Paul Green, Glenn Whelan and Aiden McGeady.

Keane, who will win his 101st senior international cap, will partner Kevin Doyle in attack.

Ireland team to face Armenia in Yerevan tomorrow

Shay Given, John O'Shea, Sean Saint Ledger, Richard Dunne, Kevin Kilbane, Liam Lawrence, Glenn Whelan, Paul Green, Aiden McGeady, Robbie Keane, Kevin Doyle.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Marc Wilson relishing Premiership return with Stoke

Stoke City manager Tony Pulis has hailed the maturity of new signing Marc Wilson and feels the Irish international will add competition to his midfield options at Stoke.

Pulis told the club's website: "I wanted to freshen the squad up with some young players, and Marc certainly fits that criteria.

"He showed great maturity last season in what was a very difficult time for Portsmouth, so he will give us more competition for midfield places."

County Antrim born Wilson is also delighted to be back in the Premier League after suffering relegation with cash-strapped Pompey last season.

He added on the club's website: "This is a great club which is on the up and so this is a positive move for me.

"I had a taste of playing in the Premier League last season; it's the best league in the world and I wanted to get back there as soon as possible."

Wilson will also be hoping that his move back to the Premiership will increase his chances of featuring in Giovanni Trapattoni's plans for the European championship qualifiers over the next twelve months.

Stokes looking forward to Celtic challenge

Celtic new recruit Anthony Stokes says he has arrived at the club a more mature player after completing a transfer deadline day move.

Irish international Stokes put pen-to-paper on a four-year deal at the Glasgow giants following a reported £1.2million switch from SPL rivals Hibernian.

The deal has brought the 22-year-old to Parkhead three years after turning down the Old Firm club, who made overtures for the Irishman in 2007.

Stokes opted to join Sunderland instead, but after a punctuated spell in England, has finally made his way to Celtic.

And now he believes the move has come at the right time after returning to Scotland with Hibs last season.

Stokes said: "I went to Sunderland and made a lot of mistakes and I'm glad I didn't do that here because I wouldn't have the opportunity that I have today to come here and hopefully score a lot of goals and try to be here for as long as possible.

"I was probably a bit more immature then. I'm sure I still have a lot more to learn but coming here on the back of the goals I scored last year (23 in all competitions) with Hibs will give me confidence as well."

Stokes endured a frustrating time at Sunderland, scoring just five goals in 38 games in a spell that included loan stints at Sheffield United and Crystal Palace.

His return north of the border to John Hughes' side last August helped him revitalise his career - something the striker is grateful for.

Stokes went on: "I knew I was going to have to start from the bottom again and build myself up. I wasn't playing any games, even reserves.

"I was lucky a club like Hibs came in for me. I was sitting in Sunderland rotting away and as soon as the gaffer was in for me again, I knew it would be a good move for me."

And after finalising terms with Neil Lennon's side, the front man is keen to settle in a Celtic shirt.

He concluded: "Hopefully I can do well and settle here. It's been in the papers for the last few days how many clubs I have had. If it was up to me I would sign a contract for the rest of my career."