Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Shane Duffy secures Scunthorpe loan move

Ireland U21 international Shane Duffy has secured a loan move to League one side Scunthorpe from Everton.

The 19-year-old Derry born defender is presently on international duty alongside fellow Scunthorpe centre-back Niall Canavan for the Ireland's U21 side who host Hungary tomorrow night in their opening 2013 UEFA qualifier, just three weeks after they produced a stunning comeback to defeat Austria 2-1 in a friendly at the same Sligo venue.

Duffy joined Everton's Academy as a 16-year-old and after progressing through the Goodison Park ranks made his first-team debut in a Europa League tie in December 2009.

The centre-back will link up with the Scunthorpe squad after returning from international duty next week and is likely to be contention for a starting birth when Sheffield United visit Glanford Park on September 10th.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Ireland close to full strength for crucial Euro qualifiers

Irish boss Giovanni Trapattoni says winger Aiden McGeady is “100 per cent” and ready to play in the Euro 2012 qualifiers against Slovakia and Russia. The Spartak midfielder played three minutes of the Moscow derby on Sunday after missing much of the summer with an ankle injury sustained on June 10th, but met up with the Ireland squad at the first opportunity this morning and trained in Malahide.

Captain Robbie Keane is travelling from the other side of the world where he now plies his trade with LA Galaxy and will join the squad tomorrow.

The manager today spoke publicly for the first time since the striker’s move from Tottenham to Major League Soccer and appeared satisfied the decision will not affect the Tallaght man’s international future or form.

“He went with enthusiasm, he told me he was happy to go but he wanted to be with the Irish players too and he will come,” said the Italian. “Before people said he wasn’t playing enough, but I said senior players have played a lot of football and can keep their conditioning. Now I’m sure he can play despite the long flights.”

Burnley winger Keith Treacy and Sunderland defender John O’Shea will also arrive tomorrow. O’Shea featured for the first time for his new club at the weekend and played 95 minutes in the 0-0 draw with Swansea after recovering from injury.

The Irish Management team remain confident goalkeeper Shay Given will be fit after he suffered a back strain while playing for Aston Villa on Saturday. He will also join up with the squad late.

The only players to sit out training today were defenders Seán St Ledger and Darren O’Dea, and striker Shane Long, who has scored against Manchester United and Chelsea this season after leaving Reading for West Brom.

With each carrying minor knocks, their absences today were merely precautionary and Trapattoni insisted: “It was better we let them rest, the will be fine though, we are sure.”

The manager is happy the Long's form has provided him with a selection headache ahead of a big week, with Kevin Doyle, Keane and Simon Cox also vying for a place on the pitch.

"It's important to have these options. In the 90 minutes, we can start and then change. It's very important to choose every option."The Slovakia and Russia games will have a major say in the outcome of the group, with the three sides involved locked together at the top of the table on 13 points. Ireland lost at home to the Russians and drew in Slovakia in October, and there has been little to choose between the teams throughout the campaign to date.

But while Trapattoni is fully aware of the magnitude of the double-header, he is refusing even to contemplate what lies ahead in Moscow next week until the first encounter has been negotiated.

He said: "We must prepare for these two games with more attention - I say more because it is always important to improve. Every game shows us or teaches us that it is possible to improve again.

"For example, for the last game against Croatia, we were missing two or three important players. But the players who came in played well, and I am confident about them. I saw how it's possible to improve not only the system, but the attitude, mentality and how it's possible to achieve the result when we are missing one or two important players.

"Now against Slovakia and against Russia, we need to start with the winning mentality because I think we can do that. But we have to think about Russia only after three days."

Dick Advocaat's side suffered a setback yesterday when goalkeeper Igor Akinfeyev was ruled out of both of their qualifiers with a knee injury sustained in the same game in which McGeady made his return.

Vyacheslav Malafeev, the Zenit St Petersburg goalkeeper capped 18 times, is likely to take his place, though Advocaat has added Dynamo Moscow’s Anton Shunin (one cap) to the squad for the home games against Macedonia, on Friday, and Ireland.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Daniel Kearns completes Peterborough move

Dundalk today today agreed the transfer of Ireland U21 international Daniel Kearns to English Championship club Peterborough United, subject to final details being completed in the coming days.

Belfast born Kearns, who was set for his 50th appearance for the club on Tuesday night, is expected to travel to England on Monday for a medical, with a deal set to go through once that and the other relevant paperwork is completed.

Championship outfit Peterborough have held a long-term interest in Kearns and they have now firmed up their interest with a six-figure offer for the exciting attacking midfielder.

Posh boss Darren Ferguson is a big fan of the former West Ham youngster and has won the race for the 19-year-old's services, despite strong interest from Celtic and a number of other clubs.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Ireland Under-21 squad announced for UEFA qualifiers

Noel King has named his Ireland squad for the forthcoming UEFA Under-21 Championships qualifiers against Hungary and Turkey.

Ireland will host Hungary at the Showgrounds, Sligo, on Thursday, September 1st and then travel to Manisa on Tuesday, September 6

King has included 15 of the players who featured in a 2-1 friendly victory over Austria at the Showgrounds earlier this month.

Senior international James McCarthy (Wigan Athletic) has been added to the squad with Adam Barton (Preston North End) and Sean Scannell (Crystal Palace) returning from injuries which ruled them out of the game against Austria.

King said: “James will be a good addition to our squad. We are building a competitive squad now and if everybody that is eligible for this age group was fit it would be one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever had just to name the squad.

“James played in the last competitive game for the under-21s against Estonia so he knows most of the players. He has a great pedigree and everybody knows the talent he possesses.

“We’ve named James in the squad and he is fit to play. Hopefully all of the players will come through their club fixtures this weekend and steer clear of injuries.”


Ian McLoughlin MK Dons FC

Aaron McCarey Wolverhampton Wanderers FC

Lanre Oyebanjo York City FC

Shane Duffy Everton FC

Gavin Gunning Dundee United FC

Rob Kiernan Wigan Athletic FC

Niall Canavan Scunthorpe United FC

Aidan White Leeds United FC

Richie Towell Celtic FC

Mark Connolly Bolton Wanderers FC

Adam Barton Preston North End FC

Conor Clifford Chelsea FC

James McCarthy Wigan Athletic FC

Jeff Hendrick Derby County FC

Aaron Doran Inverness CT FC

Robbie Brady Hull City FC (on loan from Manchester United FC)

Sean Scannell Crystal Palace FC

Joe Mason Cardiff City FC

Rhys Murphy Arsenal

Monday, August 22, 2011

Long looking for West Brom improvement

In form Ireland international Shane Long today admitted that West Brom must beat Stoke on Sunday to save themselves from a “bad start” to the Premier League season.

The Tipperary born international revealed the Baggies are in high spirits despite two defeats at the start of the season.

But, despite two encouraging performances, Long admitted only victory in Sunday’s Hawthorns clash with the Potters will salvage an acceptable start to the campaign.

He said: “I think we need to get three points against Stoke and then we can look back on the first three games and say ‘three good performances, we’re unlucky to not have more points but we can be proud of our work.’

“But unless we can get those three points it will be a bad start to the season. We have a big week ahead of us and we need to start making all these games count.

“It’s disappointing because we are playing very well and luck is going against us but I think that’s why big teams like Chelsea and Manchester United do so well in the league, because they grind out results and get three points when it matters.

“We need to start learning from the likes of them so, if we do go 1-0 up, we hold onto it and, at least, get one point.

“We need to start punishing them. In the first half on Saturday we could have got maybe two or three goals because they held a very high line and we got in behind them.”

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Keane scores in LA Galaxy debut

Robbie Keane marked his Los Angeles Galaxy debut with a goal as his new side defeated San Jose Earthquakes 2-0 at the Home Depot Centre.

Ireland international Keane became one of the hottest properties in Major League Soccer when he swapped Tottenham for Galaxy and showed what he can do but breaking the deadlock after 21 minutes.

Mike Magee, who replaced him 18 minutes from time, added the second for the Western conference leaders, while Steven Beitashour saw red for the Earthquakes.

"We're elated with Robbie," Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena said. "He had a great 70 minutes tonight and we think there's a lot of great games ahead for Robbie and our team."

Speaking after the game Keane said "It couldn't have gone better for me. That was quite a reception and it's an experience I'm relishing."

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Peterborough chase Daniel Kearns signature

Skysports are reporting that Championship side Peterborough United have tabled a bid for Dundalk star Daniel Kearns.

The Belfast born Ireland U21 international has been earning rave reviews for the Airtricity Premier League outfit and a number of clubs have been keeping tabs on his progress

Championship outfit Peterborough have held a long-term interest in Kearns and they have now firmed up their interest with a six-figure offer for the exciting attacking midfielder.

Posh boss Darren Ferguson is a big fan of the former West Ham youngster and is hoping to win the race for the 19-year-old's services.

However, Peterborough could face competition for Kearns with Scottish giants Celtic showing an interest in the skilful attacker after he impressed against Neil Lennon's side in the Dublin Super Cup last month.

Dundalk are thought to be considering Peterborough's offer with Kearns out of contract at the end of the Airtricity season in two months.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Trapattoni to keep close eye on McClean progress

Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni has promised to keep an eye on Sunderland’s new signing James McClean, after the Derry born player declared his intention to represent Ireland rather than the IFA team.

The 22-year-old left winger wants to follow fellow Derry internationals Darron Gibson and Shane Duffy into the Ireland senior team and Trap is happy to oblige.

“James has made his decision and we will watch him closely now as he develops with Sunderland,” said Trapattoni.

“He is a young player and one we will watch for the future. He wants to play for us and that is important for me when it comes to picking players.”

Set to start the new season in the Sunderland reserves, McLean is keen to progress his club career at Sunderland and hopefully force his way into Trapattoni's senior squad in the near future.

“I know which team I want to represent and moving to Sunderland can only help my realize my dream of playing for the Republic,” said the former Derry City star.

And yet another Derry born player has also recently declared his intention to represent Ireland. Torquay United's Eunan O'Kane is waiting on FIFA clearance and his registration as an Ireland player is expected to be completed soon.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Joe Mason tipped for Bluebirds' success

Cardiff City Midfielder Peter Whittingham has backed young attacking midfielder Joe Mason to force his way into the Bluebirds’ starting XI after his stunning display against Bristol City.

Mason’s mix of direct running and vision inspired the home side to a 3-1 win after coming off the bench to replace the injured Aron Gunnarsson at the Cardiff City Stadium.

The 20-year-old Ireland U21 international, who signed at three-year contract at the club this summer after joining from Plymouth Argyle, has already received huge praise from manager Malky Mackay.

And now Whittingham has backed the Ireland under 21 international to seal a first start against Brighton tomorrow night.

“Joe has been brilliant ever since he came here. He has been amazing in training and it is just good for him to go on the pitch and show everyone what he can do,” Whiitingham said

“He picks up some great positions and he seems to ghost past people, which is great for the team. Hopefully he can carry on his form.

“After a performance like that you’d have to say he is pushing for a starting place.

“He’s played really well and he’s put himself in the frame. Good luck to the manager to make that decision,” he added.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Robbie Keane on his way to LA Galaxy

Reports this evening have suggested that record Ireland striker Robbie Keane is close to making a move to LA Galaxy.

Bolton and Blackburn, as well as Championship promotion favourites Leicester, have been linked with Keane, who has admitted he could move away from the Premier League.

Galaxy's interest emerged on Friday night and, with talks taking place, the MLS club could finalise a deal before the end of the transfer window.

If Keane was to move to Galaxy, he would become a team-mate of former England skipper David Beckham.

Reports suggest that Keane is on his way to L.A., where he will undergo a physical ahead of signing a two-year, $8 million contract.

Apparently to make room for Keane, the Galaxy are expected to trade or release former Aston Villa striker Juan Pablo Angel.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Trapattoni names provisional squad for crucial Euro qualifiers

Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni has announced a provisional 32 man squad to face Slovakia and Russia in September's crucial Euro qualifiers.

Kevin Doyle is his biggest concern, having departed the squad on Tuesday with a recurrence of a knee ligament injury suffered in the 2-1 win over Macedonia in March. The manager appeared resigned to the fact he would be without the Wolves striker when speaking after the 0-0 draw last night, but has included him nonetheless.

Ireland squad


Shay Given
Keiren Westwood
David Forde


John O’Shea
Paul McShane
Kevin Foley
Seamus Coleman
Stephen Kelly
Stephen Ward
Richard Dunne
Sean St. Ledger
Darren O’Dea
Damien Delaney
Ciaran Clark
Kevin Kilbane


Glenn Whelan
Darron Gibson
Keith Andrews
Keith Fahey
Andy Keogh
Aiden McGeady
Damien Duff
Stephen Hunt
Liam Lawrence
James McCarthy
Keith Treacy
Marc Wilson


Robbie Keane
Kevin Doyle
Jon Walters
Shane Long
Simon Cox

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Trapattoni suffers a number of Irish withdrawals

Giovanni Trapattoni has been hit with a number of injury pull-outs prior to Wednesday night's friendly international against Croatia in Dublin.

Everton winger Seamus Coleman left Goodison Park on crutches on Friday night, and while Ireland can withstand losing players for this week's game, Trapattoni won't want to be losing players for the key games in September against Slovakia and Russia. X-rays showed only ligament damage which could rule him out of those two games, but a second scan tomorrow will confirm the exact nature of the Donegal players injury.

Jonathan Walters, who came on as sub during Stoke City's Europa League play-off tie on Thursday, isn't expected to play but will travel to Dublin to have his calf injury examined. Fellow Stoke international Marc Wilson is also out due to a lump on his knee and personally spoke to Trapattoni on Friday, he is also expected to travel to Dublin today to see the Ireland medical team.

Ciaran Clark has been called into the squad after Damien Delaney suffered an ankle injury playing for Ipswich in the Championship opener against Bristol City and Keith Fahey is also out of the squad after being injured in Birmingham's 2-1 defeat to Derby.

Keith Andrews has also withdrawn from the squad due to a groin strain.

Irish boss Trapattoni says he will look at Shane Long and Simon Cox together up front but hopes to give Keane some game time while Kevin Doyle is also back in the squad after a lengthy lay off.

Trapattoni has been keeping a close eye on players and upcoming opposition over the summer months "I've pulled the plug on the holidays already," he said. "I've been watching DVDs, and have been keeping an eye on our players. I watched Villa play in Asia recently, I have watched Russia again two or three times, I have watched Slovakia again. We are preparing now for the Croatia game, but of course you get excited about the bigger games to come."

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Rangers interest in young Irish striker

Young Arsenal striker Rhys Murphy, who has recently declared for Ireland, is attracting strong interest from Glasgow Rangers.

Murphy, 20, has already been training with the Ibrox club and recently played in a trial game against Hamilton.

West Sussex-born Murphy, whose grandfather hails from Dublin has declared for Ireland, with sources saying the processing of his application by the FAI is well advanced.

Rangers boss Ally McCoist has confirmed the club’s interest in the Arsenal reserve, saying this week: "He is going to come up and join us again towards the end of next week for the following week’s training just to have a look at him."

Murphy also trained with Middlesbrough and was given a run-out in a pre-season game against Carlisle before heading north to Ibrox. There are also reports that Liverpool have expressed an interest in the striker.

Regarded as a clinical finisher, Murphy is a product of the Arsenal Academy and netted some vital goals for the U18s in their double-winning season of 2009.

Murphy’s declaration for Ireland means that should a move to Ibrox come off, it would make him one of only a handful of Irish players who have been on Glasgow Rangers’ books in the club’s history.

The most recent was Cobh-born goalkeeper Alan Smith, who joined the club from Crumlin United in 2010 and was subsequently called into the Irish U18 squad.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Ireland U21 squad announced for Austria Friendly

Ireland U21 manager Noel King has confirmed his Ireland Under 21 squad for the friendly international with Austria in the Showgrounds, Sligo on Tuesday the 9th August. Leeds United full back Aiden White is a new addition to the squad, while goalkeeper Aaron McCarey links up at this level for the first time, following his performances at the UEFA Under 19 Finals in Romania last week.

The Austria friendly is a warm up for the upcoming 2013 UEFA European U21 Championship qualifiers against Hungary (home) and Turkey (away) on 1 and 6 September.

Also included in the squad is Derry born Everton central defender Shane Duffy who is tipped to go out on loan from the Toffees before the start of the season to gain valuable game time in the Championship.

Belfast born Dundalk midfielder Daniel Kearns is also included in the sixteen man squad after an eye-catching performance against Celtic in the Dublin Super Cup at the Aviva Stadium last Sunday. Dundalk manager Ian Foster was full of praise for the 19 year old former West Ham trainee after the Aviva Stadium performance:

"He was the best League of Ireland player against Celtic by a million miles, for me. It was a strange decision at the weekend to take him off after 74 minutes when, like I say, I thought he was the best player on the pitch in League of Ireland colours. But that game will have done him the world of good and it will have done his confidence the world of good.”

Kearns has been linked with a number of clubs in the UK in recent months, and just nearly a year after signing on at Oriel Park, the young winger could be about to make an exit, with his contract set to expire at the end of the current season. “We’re not going to stand in anybody’s way,” Foster said when asked if he felt the Belfast boy’s performance against Celtic had perhaps sealed a move back across the water. “If offers do come in for Daniel now, which wouldn’t surprise me, we’ll listen to them and we’ll do what’s best for Dundalk Football Club and for Daniel Kearns’ career. I’ve said this umpteen times to Daniel, that we’ll look after him, I wouldn’t be surprised if during the week one or two enquiries do come in.”

Ireland U21 squad


Aaron McCarey Wolverhampton Wnds
Ian McLoughlin MK Dons


Niall Canavan Scunthorpe United
Mark Connolly Bolton Wanderers
Shane Duffy Everton
Gavin Gunning Scunthorpe United
Robert Kiernan Wigan Athletic
Enda Stevens Shamrock Rovers
Aiden White Leeds United


Adam Barton Preston North End
Conor Clifford Chelsea
Daniel Kearns Dundalk
Richie Towell Glasgow Celtic
Jeff Hendrick Derby County FC


Aaron Doran Inverness Caledonian T
Joe Mason Cardiff City
Sean Scannell Crystal Palace
Robert Brady Manchester United FC (On-loan to Hull City FC)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Trapattoni names Ireland squad for Croatia friendly

Goivanni Trapattoni today named a 26 man squad for the friendly international against Croatia on August 10th.

Final squad is as follows:


Shay Given
Keiren Westwood
David Forde


Seamus Coleman
Stephen Kelly
Stephen Ward
Richard Dunne
Sean St. Ledger
Darren O’Dea
Damien Delaney


Glenn Whelan
Darron Gibson
Keith Andrews
Keith Fahey
Andy Keogh
Damien Duff
Stephen Hunt
James McCarthy
Keith Treacy
Marc Wilson


Robbie Keane
Kevin Doyle
Jon Walters
Shane Long
Simon Cox