Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Trapattoni reveals Ireland squad for Greece friendly

Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni had named his squad for the upcoming friendly international against Greece in Dublin later this month.

The Boys In Green take on the Euro 2012 quarter finalists on the 14th Novemeber

Robbie Keane has been left out of the squad, as has striker Shane Long, who is suffering from a hamstring strain. Norwich striker Wes Hoolahan is included, as is Robbie Brady and Ciaran Clark.

Derry duo Shane Duffy and James McClean are also named in the 26 man provisional squad.

Ireland squad

Keiren Westwood - Sunderland AFC

David Forde - Millwall FC

Darren Randolph - Motherwell FC

Shane Duffy - Everton

Seamus Coleman - Everton

Ciaran Clark - Aston Villa

John O’Shea - Sunderland AFC

Darren O’Dea - Toronto FC

Stephen Ward - Wolverhampton Wanderers FC

Stephen Kelly - Fulham FC

Paul McShane - Hull City FC

Damien Delaney - Crystal Palace

Wes Hoolahan - Norwich City

James McClean - Sunderland
James McCarthy - Wigan Athletic FC

Seamus Coleman - Everton FC

Glenn Whelan - Stoke City

Aiden McGeady - Spartak Moscow FC

Andy Keogh - Millwall FC

James McClean - Sunderland FC

Conor Clifford - Chelsea

Keith Fahey - Birmingham City

David Meyler - Sunderland

Kevin Doyle - Wolverhampton Wanderers FC

Simon Cox - Nottingham Forest

Jon Walters- Stoke City FC

Robbie Brady - Manchester United

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Trapattoni continues with his premiership tour this weekend

Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni will continue with his new premiership tour this weekend when he take's in the game between Stoke and Sunderland at the Britannia Stadium.

This follows on from his visit to Norwich last week to eye-up Wes Hoolahan & Anthony Pilkington in their impressive defeat of Arsenal at Carrow Road.

The Stoke v Sunderland game could feature up to seven potential members of the squad for next month's friendly with Greece at the Aviva Stadium.

Potters boss Tony Pulis will  likely start with Marc Wilson and Jonathan Walters, who both impressed in the comfortable win over the Faroes, while Glenn Whelan will be involved if he shakes off his hamstring problem.

John O'Shea and McClean are regular starters for the Black Cats, while midfielder David Meyler, who has broken into Trapattoni's plans in recent months, might be brought off the bench at some stage.

Ireland's first-choice goalkeeper Keiren Westwood may need Simon Mignolet to suffer some kind of misfortune if he is to get the chance to impress O'Neill and nail-down a a regular Sunderland starting birth.

It will be interesting when the Ireland squad is announced for the Greece friendly next wednesday, if Trapattoni's sudden ability to watch players on a regular club basis will have any bearing on his squad selection.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Trap not for the sack

The Football Association of Ireland has confirmed that Giovanni Trapattoni will stay on as Ireland manager.

The association released a statement this evening confirming that the Italian would continue in his current role.

The FAI statement read: "While disappointed like everyone with the poor result and performance against Germany and understanding the frustration of some of our supporters, we believe the currnet position in the group means that qualification for Brazil in 2014 remains a realistic and achievable prospect"

"We reaffirm that Giovanni Trapattoni is to remain in charge of the national team."

The statement ended "The Board recognises the depth of feeling surrounding the team, the performances, the results and the manager, reflecting the passion which everyone in Irish football has for the game and will continue to work closely with the manager."

The 73 year old Italian’s position has come under severe pressure following a disappointing run of results and performances from the European Championships, where the team lost all three games, to a 6-1 hammering at the hands of Germany on Friday night.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Under pressure Trapattoni names starting 11 for Faroes

Robbie Keane, Marc Wilson and Robbie Brady will start for Ireland when they take on the Faroe Islands in their World Cup 2014 qualification game on Tuesday evening in Tórshavn.

Under-pressure manager Giovanni Trapittoni is facing growing pressure from supporters, former players and the media after a dismal defeat to Germany last week and his player selection.

But perhaps the most damning criticism of the Italian is the suggestion that he has now lost the dressing room, something he denies, although the reports of the mild-mannered Stephen Kelly’s dissatisfaction have been greeted as firm evidence to the contrary.

Ireland will revert to a 4-4-2 formation and three points is a must if the boys in green are to remain in contention in group C.

Ireland starting eleven

Westwood (Sunderland)

Coleman    (Everton)
O’Shea       (Sunderland)
O’Dea        (Toronto FC)
Wilson       (Stoke)

Brady         (Manchester United)
Andrews     (Bolton)
McCarthy   (Wigan)
McGeady    (Spartak Moscow)

Keane          (LA Galaxy)
Walters       (Stoke)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Tardelli aiming for three points against Germany

Ireland assistant boss Marco Tardelli is adamant that Ireland will go into their World Cup qualifier against Germany on Friday looking to secure all three points.

"We will try to win, it's normal for us. If we can win against Germany, it will be important for the team and for the country"

"But a draw? I don't know. It is better to wait. The Germans are a strong team, they are very quick and they play very well with their wingers because they cut in with their strikers".

"We know that Germany is a very good team and we have many problems, but we need to believe it's possible to play against all teams."

Ireland have been hit with an injury crisis ahead of the Germany and Faroe Islands games with Kevin Doyle, Sean St Ledger, Richard Dunne, James McClean and Glenn Whelan all missing.

Conor Clifford, David Meyler and Manchester United's Robbie Brady have been drafted into the squad as cover.

Tardelli also hinted that a change in Irish formation may be required to try and contain the German midfield threat.

"We need to change something against Germany because the Germans are a very strong team and play 4-3-3. Maybe it's possible to play 4-3-3."

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Ireland U19 squad named for Euro qualifiers

Ireland under-19 manager Paul Doolin today announced his squad for the upcoming UEFA U19 Championships qualifying tournament.

Ireland will travel to Luxembourg next month where they will meet the hosts, FYR Macedonia and Germany in Group Five.

Thursday October 11
Ireland v Luxembourg

Saturday October 13
FYR Macedonia v Ireland

Tuesday October 16
Ireland v Germany

The top two nations qualify for the Elite Qualifying Round with the finals tournament in Lithuania next summer.

    Name      Club

1. Ian Lawlor Manchester City FC 
2. Danny Rogers Aberdeen FC 
3. Brian Lenihan  Cork City FC
4. Thomas Hoban Watford FC 
5. Pierce Sweeney Reading FC
6. Ryan O'Reilly Stoke City FC
7. Shane Griffin Reading FC
8. Bradley Garmston West Bromwich Albion FC
9. Ryan Coombes St. Patrick's Athletic FC
10. Luke Gallagher Burnley FC
11. Kenneth McEvoy Tottenham Hotspur FC
12. Kieran Sadlier West Ham Utd FC
13. Michael Drennan Aston Villa FC
14. Conor Wilkinson Millwall FC
15. Jack Grealish Aston Villa FC
16. Noe Baba  Castlebar Celtic FC
17. Conor Pepper Inverness CT FC
18. Sam Byrne Manchester Utd FC

Hat-trick hero Byrne secures Ireland U17 victory

Ireland U17's secured an impressive 4-1 victory over hosts Macedonia in the second game of their UEFA Championships qualifying group in Skopje today.

Tom Mohan's side produced a disciplined and composed performance to move top of Group Ten on goal difference ahead of Sweden, who beat Romania 2-1 in the other game in the group.

Jack Byrne was the Irish hero with a hat-trick - including two first half penalties - with Dan Cleary netting a second half goal. Tauljant Sulejmanov was the Macedonian goal-scorer with a 44th minute penalty.

The opening penalty came in the 22nd minute when Eoghan Stokes was taken down by goalkeeper Nikola Aleksovski and Byrne stepped up to send the keeper the wrong way from the spot-kick.

Byrne then added a second from the spot after Lazar Stojkovski handled a Jake Mulraney cross in the 35th minute and once again Byrne converted with aplomb. The Irish missed a number of chances before handing the hosts a lifeline when they conceded a penalty four minutes into the second half. Sulejmanov firing home from the spot.

Mohan's side weathered a Macedonia storm with Real Madrid youngster Dorian Babunski the focus of the home side's attacks and Cleary calmed the Irish nerves when he headed home from a Mulraney corner in the 63rd minute.

Byrne's brilliant display was rounded up in the last minute when he volleyed home from the edge of the box. "It was an outstanding individual display by Jack but overall the performance from the whole team was very pleasing," said Mohan.

"The heat was testing but the boys stood up well to the challenge and we created a lot of chances with some very good play. We didn't take enough of those chances and let Macedonia back into it so I was pleased we finished strongly.

"The midfield was very good with Cody Mulhall doing well but overall I felt it was a good team performance. "We have Romania now on Thursday so we have to look to that. This game is done and dusted and has put us in a good position to qualify for the elite phase but the work isn't finished yet."

IRELAND: Peter Burke; Robin Dempsey, Dan Cleary, Noe Baba (C), Bobby Moseley, Craig Donnellan, Dean O'Halloran, Cody Mulhall, Jack Byrne, Eoghan Stokes (Cory Galvin 61), Jake Mulraney (Stephen Confrey 73).

Monday, September 10, 2012

Trapattoni names starting 11 for Oman

Giovanni Trapattoni has named his starting eleven for tomorrow night's friendly international against Oman at Craven Cottage.

Kevin Doyle will captain Ireland for only the second time in his career in what is an experimental side, with a number of fringe & new players being given the opportunity to impress the Irish boss.

Manchester United's Robbie Brady & Sunderland's David Meyler will both make their international debuts. However there is no place for Sunderland's James McClean in the starting team.

David Forde - Millwall

Seamus Coleman - Everton
Stephen Kelly - Fulham
Paul McShane - Hull City
Marc Wilson - Stoke City

David Meyler - Sunderland
James McCarthy - Wigan Athletic
Robbie Brady - Manchester United
Andy Keogh - Millwall

Kevin Doyle - Wolves
Shane Long - West Brom

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Trapattoni names Ireland 11 for Kazakhstan opener

Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni has named his starting eleven for tomorrow's World Cup qualifier in Kazakhstan

Trap has named a back four of John O'Shea, Darren O'Dea, Sean St Ledger and Stephen Ward will line up in front of Sunderland keeper Keiren Westwood.

Wigan's James McCarthy starts in a four-man midfield that also contains Aiden McGeady, Simon Cox, and Glenn Whelan, while Jon Walters gets the nod ahead of Kevin Doyle to partner Robbie Keane up front.

Ireland starting 11 v Kazakhstan - Westwood, O'Shea, St. Ledger, O'Dea, Ward, Whelan, McCarthy, McGeady, Cox, Walters, Keane

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Ireland U21 squad named for double Euro qualifiers

Ireland Under-21 team boss Noel King has named his squad for the forthcoming UEFA U21 Championship qualifying Group Seven fixtures with Hungary and Italy.

The Irish face Hungary in Kecskemét on Thursday September 6 then meet the Italians in Casarano four days later.

"We have two games to go in our group and the simply facts are that if we win the two of them we'll get at least second place and hopefully that will secure a playoff place," said King.

IRELAND U21 squad: Ian McLoughlin (MK Dons), Aaron McCarey (Wolves), John Egan (Sunderland), Greg Cunningham (Bristol City), Rob Kiernan (Wigan Athletic), Shane Duffy (Everton), Niall Canavan (Scunthorpe), Richie Towell (Unattached), Jeff Hendrick (Derby County), Adam Barton (Coventry City), Conor Henderson (Arsenal), Conor Clifford (Chelsea), Samir Carruthers (Aston Villa), Eunan O'Kane (Bournemouth), Sean Murray (Watford), Robbie Brady (Manchester United), Aidan White (Leeds United), Sean Scannell (Huddersfield Town), Rhys Murphy (SC Telstar), James Collins (Swindon Town).

Friday, August 24, 2012

Trapattoni names squad for opening World Cup qualifier

Giovanni Trapattoni has named his 23 man squad for the opening 2014 World Cup qualification match against Kazakhstan on September 7.

The squad will be without Damien Duff, who today made the announcement of his retirement from international football.

Commenting on Duff’s retirement, the Ireland boss said: "We will be without Damien Duff who has been a truly great player for his country.

"I thank Damien for his immense contribution and hope his professionalism and dedication will be an inspiration to the wingers who are now emerging in his place."

Keiren Westwood - Sunderland AFC
David Forde - Millwall FC
Darren Randolph - Motherwell FC

Marc Wilson - Stoke FC
John O’Shea - Sunderland AFC
Sean St. Ledger - Leicester City FC
Darren O’Dea - Toronto FC
Stephen Ward - Wolverhampton Wanderers FC
Stephen Kelly - Fulham FC
Paul McShane - Hull City FC

Glenn Whelan - Stoke City FC
Darron Gibson - Everton FC
James McCarthy - Wigan Athletic FC
Seamus Coleman - Everton FC
Joey O’Brien - West Ham United
Aiden McGeady - Spartak Moscow FC
Andy Keogh - Millwall FC
James McClean - Sunderland FC

Robbie Keane - LA Galaxy
Kevin Doyle - Wolverhampton Wanderers FC
Shane Long - West Bromwich Albion
Simon Cox - Nottingham Forest
Jon Walters- Stoke City FC

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Ireland U21 squad named for crucial Turkey qualifier

Ireland Under-21 manager Noel King today announced his squad for the crucial UEFA U21 Championships Group Seven qualifying round match against Turkey.

The Irish will host the Turks in Sligo on August 14th.

King has a number of players available to him that were unable to feature in the 2-2 draw with Italy in June while several of the squad moved to new clubs in the close season.

“I am pleased that the likes of Rob Kiernan, Adam Barton and Conor Henderson have made good progress on their respective injuries,” said King at today’s squad announcement.

“The Turkey game is massive for us. We have three very big games left in the group but we have to pick up where we left off against Italy in June.

“We will be looking for the Sligo public to come out and give us the same fabulous support we’ve had at the Showgrounds so far in the tournament and I’d love to see supporters coming from further afield to support the lads.”

The ten group winners and four runners-up with the best record against the teams first, third, fourth and fifth in their sections advance to the play-offs.

Ireland U21 Squad:

Ian McLoughlin MK Dons FC
Aaron McCarey Wolverhampton Wanderers FC

John Egan Sunderland FC
Greg Cunningham Bristol City FC
Gavin Gunning Dundee United FC
Rob Kiernan Wigan Athletic FC
Shane Duffy Everton FC
Niall Canavan Scunthorpe United FC

Jeff Hendrick Derby County FC
Adam Barton Preston North End FC
Conor Henderson Arsenal FC
Richie Towell Unattached
Conor Clifford Chelsea FC
Samir Carruthers Aston Villa FC
Eunan O'Kane Bournemouth FC

Robbie Brady Manchester United FC
Aidan White Leeds United FC
Aaron Doran Inverness CT FC
Sean Murray Watford FC
Sean Scannell Huddersfield Town FC
Rhys Murphy SC Telstar
James Collins Swindon Town FC

Friday, July 27, 2012

Richard Dunne considering Ireland international future

Ireland international defender Richard Dunne has consulted Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert for advice about whether to retire from international football to focus on his club career.

Asked if he'd considered retirement, Dunne, who is entering the final year of his Villa contract, replied: “Yes, it has a few times. It’s easy after a tournament, the way it’s gone, to make a rash decision and just say ‘that’s it’.“But I just have to think about things.

‘I was basically waiting to get back into training at Villa and then have a think and see how I feel, if I can go away again or not.

‘‘It’s a hard decision because it’s something I love doing.”

‘‘I’ve already spent four weeks thinking about it and I still can’t decide. When the time is right in my own head, I’ll know and then that will be the time.

“It’s such a massive decision because if we’ve qualified for one why can’t we qualify for the next one?

“If we were to qualify for Brazil it would be amazing.”

Dublin born Dunne made his debut for Ireland in April 2000 in a 1–0 loss against Greece in a friendly match and scored his first international goal just two months later against Mexico.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Trapattoni names 23 man squad for Serbia friendly

Giovanni Trapattoni has announced his squad for the upcoming friendly against Serbia.

Skipper Robbie Keane, keeper Shay Given, central defender Richard Dunne and midfielder Stephen Hunt have been left out of the squad for next month's friendly clash with Serbia in Belgrade.

Stoke's Marc Wilson, Everton's Seamus Coleman and Wigan midfielder James McCarthy all come into the squad.

Ireland squad: Keiren Westwood (Sunderland), David Forde (Millwall), Darren Randolph (Motherwell), Marc Wilson (Stoke), John O'Shea (Sunderland), Sean St Ledger (Leicester), Darren O'Dea (Unattached), Stephen Ward (Wolves), Stephen Kelly (Fulham), Paul McShane (Hull), Glenn Whelan (Stoke), Darron Gibson (Everton), James McCarthy (Wigan), Paul Green (Leeds), Seamus Coleman (Everton), Aiden McGeady (Spartak Moscow), Andy Keogh (Millwall), James McClean (Sunderland), Keith Treacy (Burnley), Kevin Doyle (Wolves), Shane Long and Simon Cox (both West Brom), Jon Walters (Stoke).

Saturday, June 30, 2012

James McClean already focused on Irish World Cup qualifying campaign

Ireland international James McClean is already focused on Ireland's upcoming World Cup qualifying campaign and is hoping that Giovanni Trapattoni gives him the game time so he can show some of the excellent form witnessed at club level last season.

The Derry born winger saw only 14 minutes of competitive action for Ireland in the European Championships but is keen to claim a starting berth in the qualifiers which starts away to Kazakhstan in September.

Many were surprised that McClean played such a peripheral role during the Euro finals and it is hoped that after such a poor performance by the Irish team in Poland that Trapattoni will realise that changes are required if the team is to progress to the World Cup finals in Brazil in 2014.

The Ireland friendly away to Serbia in August will be an interesting guide to see if Trap is prepared to change his rigid selection policy and start young, talented prospects like James McClean and Wigan's James McCarthy.

“We have to do our best to qualify,” McClean said. “Germany are flying at the minute and Sweden are a tough side but there are other good teams there also and we know it’s not going to be easy.

“But we have to take confidence into it and believe that we can qualify. The World Cup is the biggest stage in the world and you can show what you can do. I want to be there with Ireland.

“It was great to get my competitive debut against Spain but on a personal level I was disappointed not to get more playing time,” he added. “I always thought I would get a run-out at some stage.

“I was disappointed when I didn’t get the start against Spain because, just like any player, you want to play as many minutes as possible.

“When the manager told me I was coming on during the Spain match it was obviously exciting, but it was no surprise that he didn’t make changes because he said that he was going to use the players that had got Ireland there.

“It was disappointing but understandable that he stuck with the players.

“Hopefully as we go on I can get more playing time and repay the confidence they’ve shown in me,” he concluded.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Gibson's Everton move crucial for Ireland future

Darron Gibson's move to Everton has helped to bolster his international credentials, according to Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni.

The 24-year-old Derryman impressed his experienced Italian manager as he shone during Ireland’s 1-0 Euro 2012 warm-up win over Bosnia last Saturday.

And Trapattoni believes the opportunity to play consistently at a top half Premiership club like Everton has transformed the midfielder’s prospects, after his career was in danger of going stale at Manchester United.

Gibson made 15 midfield appearances for David Moyes’ side after joining in January from Old Trafford, and is set to be rewarded with more playing time during next month’s European Championship finals in Poland.

“I think the change of club has been very important for him,” said Trapattoni (above) after former Toffees target Shane Long had sealed victory for 'The Boys In Green'.

“Darron Gibson has other qualities and I complimented him on his performance against Bosnia. That is the Gibson I wish to have.”

Trapattoni also told reporters after the game that he was impressed by Gibson’s vision, and growing maturity in the central midfield role, where he was increasingly effective for the Blues as they surged up the Premier League table in the second half of the season.

Gibson is poised to push Glenn Whelan and Keith Andrews for a central midfield starting place, and his 90 mins against Bosnia is likely to increase that possibility.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Trapattoni names Ireland team for Bosnia clash

Giovanni Trapattoni has named his starting eleven for tomorrow's Euro 2012 warm up game against Bosnia and Herzegovina at Lansdowne Road Dublin.

The team includes a start for Derry winger James McClean, while as expected, Keiren Westwood steps in for the injured Shay Given.

Darron Gibson And Glenn Whelan make up the central midfield pairing while Kevin Doyle will parner Robbie Keane up front.

Keiren Westwood

Paul McShane
Richard Dunne
Sean St. Ledger
Stephen Ward

Damien Duff
Darron Gibson
Glenn Whelan
James McClean

Robbie Keane
Kevin Doyle

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Ireland Euro 2012 - a musical extravaganza!

With only a couple of weeks to go until the 20,000+ Green Army leaves home shores for Euro 2012, it would seem that we have as many Ireland Euro 2012 songs as we have travelling fans.

Some are great, some are decent & some are...well...different!

So for your enjoyment i've linked below a selection of all the above mentioned.

What's good? What's not so good? and what needs a little more work? :)

Let us know what you think on our One Team In Ireland Twitter page & we'll post your favourites

The Rocky Road To Poland - Official Republic Of Ireland Song for Euro 2012

The Rockier Road To Poland - Shane MacGowan, The Aftermath & Friends

I-R-E-L-A-N-D! The Offside Trap - feat. MC Eoin Goal (Ireland Euro 2012)

Ireland Euro 2012 song - BOYS IN GREEN - Rory and the island (ft. Sharon Shannon)

Ireland Soccer Anthem Euro 2012 - Trapp and the Lads!

A Dark Horse - Take Me Home

All Is Possible (Just Can't Get Enough)

The Proud-Emerald Army (Party)-Official Fan Video

Euro 2012 Irish football song,"We're on the way" by Owen Branagan

Unofficial Irish Euro 2012 Song - The Genuine Articles

Ireland Euro 2012 song - My Fair Land

IRELAND Euro 2012 Song (Whiskey N Mc'Gra)

THE CELTIC ROAR Ireland Euro 2012 soccer anthem

Three Colours Euro 2012


Ireland Anthem EURO 2012 - Ambitious Minds by The Positronics

Ireland Euro 2012 Football Song - Ireland All The Way

Cead Mille Grazie Trapatonni (Song for Euro 2012)

'Road to Euro 12' Song for the Republic of Ireland

24 Years (We're going to win the Euros) Ireland EURO 2012

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Stephen Hunt confident ahead of Euro campaign

Stephen Hunt has spoken of his excitement and the ‘buzz’ surrounding the build up to Ireland’s trip to the Euro 2012 finals in Poland next month.

Speaking to Ciarán Ó Raghallaigh on the Over The Line podcast Hunt spoke of his ‘unbelievable memories’ of watching Ireland during the 1990 World Cup in Italy and the 2002 world Cup in Japan, and his hope of emulating the player s of previous campaigns.

“It would be great to be part of the history, to score a winning goal or to have a major impact on the tournament and be remembered for that. My aim for the next four weeks is to try and get in the team and be ready”

And Hunt contends that he has every chance of playing his part in the campaign and does not believe that the winger positions are set in stone, with Aiden McGeady & Damien Duff being automatic first choice wingers.

“I know the manager gives me my fair share of the games and he believes in me, and I played the same ammount of games as Duffer in the last campaign”

The Waterford born winger also spoke of the inclusion of James McClean in the squad for Poland.

“Fair play to James he’s had a good season which means 1 – he’s available for Ireland, 2 - it’s competition, and 3 - it’s healthy competition for the squad”
“ It certainly motivates you to do better but also to help james, he’s a young lad and everyone in the squad will welcome him and help him along the way, because we all want to do well”

Hunt also gave an interesting insight into how group C might play out for Ireland, a result which would see Ireland progressing to the later stages of the competition.

“We need to go there, do well and make our own history. I’ve an idea how the group will pan out that has us qualifying. I don’t think it’s important to win the Croatia, a draw just keeps everything alive and builds momentum going into the Spain game and then with the Italian game, we’d be hoping that we’d have enough in the locker to beat them, if needs be”

Monday, May 14, 2012

Dunne can't wait for Euro's to begin

Richard Dunne has spoken of his excitement at making the trip to Poland for the Euro 2012 finals next month and going head to head against some of the world’s best teams.

Ireland kick-off their Euro 2012 campaign against Croatia on Sunday June 10th in Poznan.They will then meet Spain – the tournament favourites and reigning world and European champions - in Gdansk on June 14th before meeting Italy in Poznan on June 18th.

It’s brilliant, the excitement is the same for me and Shay & Robbie as it is for every child waiting to watch the games”

"It’s a hard group and we wanted to test ourselves against the best, and we’ve got certainly the best team in the world in our group and two other brilliant teams as well, so it’s exciting more than anything because you want to play against the best teams and have the chance to beat and upset them".

“We are going to have the opportunity this summer and for us, we know what we can do, we know we can upset teams and win games”

And Dunne never doubted that he would overcome a serious shoulder injury that at one point threatened his trip to the Euro finals in june.

He suffered a fracture to the right clavicle after falling heavily when challenging Manchester City keeper Joe Hart during a league game in February.

Speaking on Today FM Dunne Said “The shoulder is really good, I had the operation and done all the rehab and I’ve a metal plate in it so it’s stronger than before, so I’m raring to go now”

“The doctor told me straight away how long it would be and that I’d be back playing before the season ended, so I never really feared I’d miss out on the Euro’s, it was just a case of being patient”

Monday, May 7, 2012

Trapattoni names Ireland Euro 2012 squad

Giovanni Trapattoni has just announced his 23 man squad for the Euro finals in Poland next month.

James McCarthy & Seamus Coleman miss out on squad selection

Shay Given - Aston Villa

David Forde - Millwall

Keiren Westwood - Sunderland

Sean St Ledger - Leicester City

Stephen Kelly - Fulham

Richard Dunne - Aston Villa

Stephen Ward - Wolverhampton Wanderers

John O'Shea - Sunderland

Darren O'Dea - Leeds United

Kevin Foley - Wolverhampton Wanderers

Glenn Whelan - Stoke City

Keith Andrews - West Bromwich Albion

Keith Fahey - Birmingham City

Stephen Hunt - Wolverhampton Wanderers

James McClean - Sunderland

Darren Gibson - Everton

Aiden McGeady - Spartak Moscow

Damien Duff - Fulham

Shane Long - West Bromwich Albion

Robbie Keane - Los Angeles Galaxy

Kevin Doyle - Wolverhampton Wanderers

Simon Cox - West Bromwich Albion

Jon Walters - Stoke City

Standby list - Randolph,Green,Keogh

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Decision day for Trapattoni - Who will make the final 23?

Giovanni Trapattoni will name his 23 man squad for the Euro 2012 finals tomorrow afternoon.

And while there has been little speculation about his five forward options for the finals (Keane,Doyle,Long,Cox, Walters), the same cannot be said about his possible choices over the midfield eight.

The probable inclusion of Derry's James McClean has made the midfield eight even more competitive, and with so much quality to choose from in this category, some big names are going to be left behind to watch the finals on TV.

Duff, Whelan, Andrews and Mcgeady are certain to be on the plane to Poland next month, and Gibson and Hunt will likely make the final 23, but if McClean is included that leaves a number of established players fighting it out for the final midfield birth.

James McCarthy, Seamus Coleman and Keith Fahey will all be hopeful of gaining the final midfield spot, but two will miss out. And will Trap decide to shock the country by including Paul Green?

Defence is likely to made up of Dunne, O'Shea, Stledger, Ward, Kelly, O'Dea and Foley.

We'll find out at 3.30pm tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Ireland continue World ranking climb

Ireland have continued their march up the FIFA rankings list. The home draw with the Czech Republic has resulted in Giovanni Trapattoni’s side moving up one spot to 18th place alongside Switzerland in the latest world rankings announced by FIFA.

It's Ireland's highest ranking since the summer of 2005 and shows the continued progress made by Giovanni Trapattoni during his four year reign as Irish boss.

Spain, Ireland’s Group C opponents at the Euro 2012 finals, remain top of the pile while Croatia (8th) and Italy (12th) are still ranked above Giovanni Trapattoni’s side, although the Italians have fallen outside of the top 10 losing three places in March.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

O'Neill praise for outstanding McClean

Ireland international James McClean capped off a great few days with a man of the match display as Sunderland defeated QPR at the Stadium Of Light.

fresh from signing a new Black Cats contract yesterday, the Derryman set up the first goal, added one of his own before playing a crucial role in the third to secure a 3-1 victory over QPR.

And today's impressive display did not go unnoticed by manager Martin O'Neill who showered praise on the Irish winger.

"I thought he was outstanding today, absolutely outstanding. And to be perfectly honest he's been outstanding since he came into the limelight," O'Neill told Sky Sports.

"I think (it was a) great performance by him today and he's earned every penny of it and he's been a great boost to the football club here in his time.

"He's got a great attitude to it. Not just a great attitude, he's got a great ability as well as he's shown this afternoon, I thought he was outstanding and I'm obviously delighted for him."

The 22-year-old penned an improved deal until the end of the 2014-15 season yesterday having signed from Derry City for just £350,000 last summer.

McClean's continued progress has also given Irish boss Giovanni Trapattoni more food for thought ahead of his squad selection for Euro 2012.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Whelan proud of Stoke international appearance record

Ireland midfielder Glenn Whelan has spoken of his pride at becoming Stoke City's most-capped international player.

Dublin born Whelan won his 37th cap against the Czech Republic on 29 February and that surpassed the 36 appearances made by England goalkeeper Gordon Banks during his five-year spell with the Potters.

"To beat Gordon Banks, who's not just a Stoke legend but also an England legend, it will be great to look back on," Whelan told BBC Radio Stoke.

Banks won a total of 73 caps for England, with the other 37 coming before his move from Leicester City to Stoke in 1967.

28 year old Whelan made his international debut for Ireland in June 2008, five months after joining the Potters from Sheffield Wednesday. The Irish central midfielder started his career with Manchester City after joining from Irish feeder club Cherry Orchard in 2001.

Whelan has been a mainstay in Giovanni Trapattoni's central midfield and is a likely starter for 'The Boys In Green' when they travel to Euro 2012 in June.

Three days after playing in a 1-1 draw for the Irish against the Czechs, Whelan helped Stoke to a 1-0 win against Norwich , their second consecutive Premier League victory and a result that lifted Tony Pulis's side back into the top half of the Premiership table.

"Coming off four straight defeats, we knew it was going to be really tough but they were two games that we knew we could win," said Whelan.

"It's given us massive confidence going into the next game [at Chelsea on Saturday].
"Clean sheets are important, every team needs them, and we've got two of them in the last two games so we need to keep that up."

"We go into every game hoping to get a win and Chelsea is no different. We know it will be tough with the players that they've got but they're not unbeatable. We can go there with confidence, like what we've shown in the last two games."

Monday, February 27, 2012

McGeady urges Derry duo to seize their opportunity

Ireland winger Aiden McGeady has urged Derry duo Shane Duffy and James McClean to take their chance this week to impress Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni.

Duffy and McClean were not in Trapattoni's original squad for the Czech Republic friendly, but are now in line to make their international debuts on Wednesday night at Lansdowne Road.

A combination of Richard Dunne's shoulder injury and impressive defensive displays for Everton in recent months has seen Duffy return to the senior international set-up.

This week will be the 20-year-old centre-back's first opportunity with the senior squad since he ruptured his hepatic artery in a training match in May 2010 and Trapattoni said yesterday that Duffy is likely to feature at some point during the Czech Republic friendly.

Fellow Derry man McClean was added to the squad last week and Trap will be hoping to see some of his impressive recent club displays for Sunderland transfer to the international stage.

"This is the last real game before the Euros it is a big chance for everyone to impress and get in the manager's final squad selection," said McGeady.

"I was actually with James coming back in the car from the airport. We just spoke briefly. The two boys came in today for the first training session. The two of them done well and will be good additions to the squad.

"You have got the chance to impress the manager in training, but game time is when it really counts. It is up to them and it is a great opportunity for them."

The Russian season does not start until the 5th of March, so McGeady's pre-season training has meant he has seen little of McClean's rapid progress in the Premiership.

McGeady said: "The last month or so I have been everywhere in training camps. I have not seen much football. I have seen bits here and there.

"From what I know he has been performing well and he looks a really good prospect. Direct and pacey.

"He looks as if he has got a good cross on him as well and a knack of scoring goals. He has been doing really well. He's obviously worthy of his call-up."

With Trapattoni saying that McClean could play on either wing, the Sunderland man's inclusion could be seen to be competition for McGeady.

However, the former Celtic midfielder welcomes any contest for his starting place and feels it can only benefit the team.

"It is the same at club level. There are always players vying for the same position," McGeady said.

"Of course if there is somebody who is going to take your place, then you up your game. I try to up my game anyway, but obviously if I do people will say it is down to someone breathing down my neck.

"The more players you have got playing at the top of their game, playing in the Premiership, then of course it is going to be healthy for the squad."

With just over three months to Ireland's opening game in Euro 2012 McGeady freely admits that the excitement of playing in his first major tournament is leading to a few restless night's.

"I wake up at night dreaming about it just," he laughed.

"You just want to get to a major finals. Now we have to make sure we stay fit and give ourselves the best possible chance to shine at the Euros.

"Everyone is absolutely buzzing for it and still on a high from last November. We are looking forward to the initial gathering at the end of May and then the championships themselves. It is going to be fantastic.

"We weren't expected to qualify and we did, but now we are there we are going to do everything we can to get out of the group. We are in a very tough group.

"Our record has been good against Italy over the last few years. We played [Croatia] not so long ago and we drew 0-0.

"Spain are obviously the favourites to win the whole competition. But it is not totally unrealistic for us to get out of the group. We have a good set of players and we are due a place in the tournament. We'll see what happens. We'll give ourselves every chance."

Monday, February 20, 2012

James McClean honoured after Ireland call-up

Sunderland midfielder James McClean has been called into Giovanni Trapattoni's Ireland squad for the friendly at Lansdowne Road on 29 February.

McClean tweeted after hearing the news of his international call-up: "Absolutely buzzin and honoured to be called up to represent my country... best feeling there is."

The Derry born winger has made a sensational starts to his Sunderland career and had been expected to be included in Giovanni Trapattoni's initial squad when it was announced earlier this month, but will now take his place along with Paul Green in a 26-man squad.

McClean was signed from his home-town club for £350,000 last summer by O'Neill's predecessor Steve Bruce, but it was not until the new manager's arrival at the Stadium of Light that he was given the opportunity to make an impact on the senior stage.

McClean made an eye-catching first-team debut as a substitute in the new manager's opening game, a 2-1 Barclays Premier League victory over Blackburn, and after a further two appearances from the bench, was handed a start against Manchester City on New Year's Day.

He has remained in the team ever since and has contributed four goals as well as some fine wing play to Sunderland's impressive run of form, which saw them beat Arsenal 2-0 on Saturday to reach the FA Cup quarter-finals and extend their record under O'Neill to 10 victories in 15 games.

Asked recently about McClean's international potential ahead of this summer's Euro 2012 finals, O'Neill said: "He is more than worth having a look at. I think he can force his way into the squad.

"Of course, the players who have got the Republic of Ireland there would deserve great credit for that, but there is always room for an emerging talent."

McClean's chance may now come earlier than he initially thought having been presented with the opportunity to impress the Italian in training at Ireland's Malahide base ahead of the clash with the Czechs.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Andrews eyeing long-term Baggies future

Ireland international Keith Andrews is already eyeing up a long-term future with West Brom following a dream debut in last week’s mauling of Wolves.

Dublin born Andrews, who started his career with Wolves in 1999, playing in 72 matches over six years, scored West Brom’s fourth goal in the 5-1 rout at Molineux.

Andrews has admitted that he would like to make the move permanent.

'I would certainly be open to a longer deal,' said Andrews.

'I have come here to play for a head coach I want to play for and a club I believe is run well and has a good set of lads that I enjoy coming in and working with every day.

'I enjoy being part of the team, so I am certainly open to it and I'm sure if I keep going the way I am then the club will be as well.

'I was delighted just to get on and make my debut and I was delighted with the result.
'The score, and to win by that margin, was Roy of the Rovers stuff. It was a dream come true.'

31 year old Andrews will be keen to get as much game time as possible for the Baggies over the next few months as he wants to remain firmly within Giovanni Trapattoni’s thoughts for a starting birth in the Irish midfield for the upcoming Euro finals in Poland later this year.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Irish players on Twitter

Keith Fahey @FaheyKeith
Sean St Ledger @seanstledger12
Shane Duffy @ShaneDuffy34
Seamus Coleman @seamiecoleman23
Steven Reid @stevenreid12
Noel Hunt @boyhunt
James McClean @JMcC_23
Shay Given @No1shaygiven
James McCarthy @JamesMcCarthy_4
Anthony Stokes @stoksey10
Conor Henderson @Henderson_91
Matt Holland @mattholland8
David Meyler @DavidMeyler
Kevin Long @kevinlong28
Jay O'Shea @Jayoshea23
Dylan Hayes @DylHayes
Jack Grealish @JackGrealish1
Derrick Williams @DerickWilliams_
Gary O'Neill @GaryONeill_8
Bradley Lewis @BradleyLewis_1
Ciaran Clark @CiaranClark_21
Sean Long @Seanie95
Dylan McGlade @Dylan_McGlade
Dean Keily @deankiely40
Stephen Folan @StephenFolan
Callum Morris @Calmorris37
Conor Hourihane @ConorHourihane
Dave Langan @DavyLangan
Paul McGrath @Paulmcgrath5
Clinton Morrison @morrisonclinton
Rory Delap @Delap24
Wes Hoolihan @weshoolahan14
Simon Cox @Scoxy31Real
Conor Clifford @conorclifford91
Kenneth McEvoy @kennethMcevoy
Sean Scannell @BigScanz
Damien Delaney @damiendelaneyIT
Darren Randolph @Randz587
Karl Sheppard @karlsheppard21
Enda Stevens @Estevens1990
Jamie McDevitt @jamiedevitt20
Rhys Murphy @_murphy34
Ronan Murray @RonanMurray28
Mark Connolly @Mark5Connolly
Liam Irwin @1liamirwin
Ben Glasgow @Ben_Glasgow
Samir Carruthers @SamirCarruthers
Mikey Drennan @mikeydrennan
Sean Murray @seanmuzza
Connor Smith @connorsmith1993
Jamie Smith @Jamie_smith5
Kealan Dillon @KealanDillon
John O'Flynn @flynny9
Darren O'Dea @DOdeaOfficial

Monday, February 13, 2012

Shane Duffy added to Ireland squad for Czech friendly

Irish boss Giovanni Trapattoni has called Everton defender Shane Duffy into the Ireland squad for this month’s international friendly against Czech Republic at Lansdowne Road.

The 20-year-old Derry born defender will replace Richard Dunne in the 24-man squad after the Villa defender learned he will sidelined for eight weeks with a fractured clavicle suffered during Villa’s 1-0 defeat to Manchester City yesterday afternoon.

Duffy will join up with the squad for training on February 26, three days before the Dublin friendly. The Derryman has shown great promise at the heart of the Everton defence in recent weeks having made his Premier League debut last month against Tottenham Hotspur.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Trapattoni names 24 man squad for Czech friendly in Dublin

Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni has named a 24-man squad for the upcoming international friendly against the Czech Republic in Dublin on February 29th.

Speaking after the squad announcement, the Irish boss said, "This game is the beginning of our Euro 2012 preparations.

"As we face this fixture, it is important for our players to remember the attitude and performance that brought us qualification.

"The Czech Republic are a strong team, and their system is similar to Croatia and Spain.

"This game is vital in helping us choose our 23-player squad for May.

"We will continue to monitor our players afterwards, and keep a close eye on their fitness in the coming months."

Goalkeepers: Shay Given (Aston Villa), Keiren Westwood (Sunderland), David Forde (Millwall).

Defenders: John O'Shea (Sunderland), Stephen Kelly (Fulham), Stephen Ward (Wolves), Richard Dunne (Aston Villa), Sean St Ledger (Leicester City), Darren O'Dea (Leeds United).

Midfielders: Kevin Foley (Wolves), Glenn Whelan (Stoke City), James McCarthy (Wigan Athletic), Seamus Coleman (Everton), Keith Andrews (West Brom), Keith Fahey (Birmingham City), Darron Gibson (Everton), Damien Duff (Fulham), Aiden McGeady (Spartak Moscow), Stephen Hunt (Wolves).

Forwards: Robbie Keane (Aston Villa), Kevin Doyle (Wolves), Shane Long (West Brom), Simon Cox (West Brom), Jon Walters (Stoke City).

Thursday, February 9, 2012

It's green for go for James McClean's Ireland international career

James McClean's Ireland international career has been given the green light by FIFA.

The move clears the way for the Derryman to be included in the Ireland squad to be announced by Giovanni Trapattoni tomorrow for the upcoming friendly against the Czech Republic In Lansdowne Road on February 29th.

McClean has taken the premiership by storm since his Sunderland debut three months ago and his eye for goal, dazzling wing play & overall performance has had Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill singing the praises of the young winger.

There had been concerns that the IFA were deliberately holding up his paperwork, however the paperwork has now been approved by FIFA and McClean is free to Start his international career with Ireland.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Keane guidance having Villa impact

Ireland striker Robbie Keane has already become Aston Villa’s in-game gaffer by shouting out pitch instructions to his short-term colleagues.

Keane has ingratiated himself to team-mates and fans alike with his brilliant double in the 3-2 victory at Wolves last Weekend and it capped an amazing full Villa start for the 31-year-old Irish captain who is currently on loan from LA Galaxy.

And Villa player Marc Albrighton has revealed that the record Irish striker’s guidance has been just as important as his goals.

“I was watching Goals on Sunday the day after the Wolves match and it was interesting to listen to Chris Kamara’s comments about Keano,” said Albrighton.

“He made the point that Keano was almost performing a manager’s role on the pitch with the other lads.

“He was telling everyone where to go and where to pass it. That’s something he’s definitely bringing to the side.

“If he can keep doing that and keep banging in the goals, we’ll all be delighted.

“He’s not only a great person to play with he’s also a nice guy to have around the place too.

“The young boys look up to him and know they can learn from him. To be training with a player with the wealth of experience like Keano is just brilliant.”

Albrighton believes all of Villa’s attacking players will benefit greatly from playing alongside Keane before his loan spell ends at the end of February.

“Robbie thinks one step ahead of everyone else,” said Albrighton.

“Not only does he see the pass before everyone else, he has the ability to execute it too

“He’s never played really as a target man, as such, he drops off into gaps and little pockets of space and he can punish people from finding these areas.

“He has the ability to thread the balls through to people like Benty, Gabby, Charles and myself and if he doesn’t do that and decides to shoot instead, we’ve all seen what happens then!

“He can only help our team and he certainly did that on Saturday.”

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Moyes praise for Shane Duffy performance

Everton Boss David Moyes has praised the maturity of Ireland U21 International Shane Duffy after his home Premier League debut at Goodison Park yesterday against Blackburn.

Speaking after the 1-1 draw Moyes said “Shane Duffy had a terrific game. He was arguably our best player today and he’s a young boy; we just needed a lot more in every department.”

Derry born Duffy has now played in the last three Everton games, standing in for the injured Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin, and after solid showings at Spurs and Aston Villa the 20 year old centre-back ran out at Goodison Park for the first time in a league game and left the stadium with the man of the match award.

Duffy looked totally composed at the heart of the 'Toffees' backline and already seems to have built up a good understanding with fellow centre-back John Heitinga. He was defensively solid and was always a threat from set pieces. He was unlucky not to have given Everton the three points when he struck the bar with a late header.

And David Moyes was delighted at the way the youngster has stepped up to the mark in such a crucial role for the side.

"Duffy has played really well in the games," Moyes told evertontv. "He has been steady and looked mature in the games he has played.

"It is not easy for a young centre-half to play in the Premier League and we have tried to keep his game steady and simple and he has done well."

Duffy spent the first half of the season on loan at Scunthorpe before his call back to the Toffees, and impressed all at Glanford Park including Iron boss Alan Knill who was keen to retain the services of the Derry man for the remainder of the season.

Earlier this week Shane Duffy set himself a target of saving David Moyes a fortune in the transfer market and if recent performances are anything to go by, he may well do just that.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Ireland to play Czech Republic on Feb 29th

The FAI today officially confirmed that Giovanni Trapattoni's Ireland will play the Czech Republic in a friendly in Dublin on February 29.

They said the friendly will be the first of two home matches to be played in the Aviva Stadium before Ireland go to the Euro Finals in June. The second friendly will take place at the end of May and the opposition will be revealed by the association soon.

The Czech's will provide a strong test for a confident Ireland side and the squad announcement should shed some light on the probable make-up of the final 23 man squad for Euro 2012.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

O'Shea praise for James McClean impact

Sunderland's experienced Ireland international defender John O'Shea has spoken of the positive impact James McClean has had on the team since emerging on to the scene as a substitute in the 2-1 win over Blackburn on December 11. McClean’s impact has gradually increased and he has started in each of Sunderland’s last three games.

The Derry born left winger who has expressed a desire in joining O'Shea in the green of Ireland in the near future, has taken the Premiership by storm with his impressive wing play and strength on the ball. And McClean's chances of a call-up by Trapattoni received a boost yesterday when Trap commented "We have time, one month, two months before we will write the list of players. We are considering him, 100%. We just don't want to put him under pressure. That is important for him, he's 22-year old"

Speaking ahead of Sunderland's trip to Stamford Bridge for the Premiership clash with Chelsea O'Shea said “James has put in a number of brilliant performances and he’s done it all off his own back.

“No one has had to guide him through and already after a few games he looks like he can develop into a great player and be an important part of the squad.

“He causes so many problems for the opposition. He’s quick, he’s strong and he’s got a lot to his game. He gets into great positions and he’s been rewarded for that with the goals he’s scored.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Darron Gibson completes Everton move

Everton have completed the signing of Irish international midfielder Darron Gibson from Manchester United for an undisclosed fee.

The 24-year-old Derry born international joins on a four-and-a-half year deal and will wear the number 4 shirt.

Gibson, whose last appearance for United came in a 5-0 win over Wigan on Boxing Day, will arrive at Finch Farm immediately and could make his debut when the Blues take on Aston Villa at Villa Park on Saturday.

A product of Manchester United's youth system, Gibson broke through the ranks during the 2005/06 campaign and has since made 60 appearances, scoring 10 goals - many spectacular efforts from long range.

Last season he scored in the Red Devils’ Champions League semi-final defeat of German outfit Schalke, just over a year after another strike helped Sir Alex Ferguson's men overcome giants Bayern Munich in the last eight of the same competition.

Gibson has made seventeen international appearances for Trapattoni’s ‘Boys In Green’ and a move away from Old Trafford was essential for the player, as regular football is a must if he is to feature in the squad for the upcoming European finals in Poland in June.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Northern born players committed to Ireland's cause

Despite the recent bold pronouncements by new NI boss Michael O’Neill regarding his intention to stop players from the North opting to play for Ireland rather than his IFA team, it would seem, going by player statements in the past week, that his misguided mission is likely to continue falling on deaf-ears with players and supporters alike.

Last Week Derry born Sunderland wonder-winger James McClean again reiterated his intention to seek selection to Giovanni Trapattoni’s Ireland squad. "I have declared myself for the Republic and that's where I see my international future. If I don't get called up, then I'll live with that but I have confidence in my own ability that I will get a call-up at some stage with the Republic of Ireland”.

"I can only imagine what it would be like to play for Ireland at a tournament like that. I remember the last time they were at a finals, in 2002, everyone in Derry was watching the team then, and for me to make the squad would be unbelievable”.

Today Marc Wilson, the Stoke City midfielder from Aghagallon in County Antrim said on the Stoke website "I have always seen myself as a Republic of Ireland player. I supported them when I was growing up and if I have to continue to bide my time and wait for my chance to come along, I am happy to do that."

Wilson has represented Ireland at u19, u21 and senior level, although he has yet to play in a competitive senior international for Trapattoni.

He added: "I would love to play for them, though, one day and I have made that clear before a number of times. Hopefully, my time will come in the future. I would love to try to be part of the squad for the European finals, but if that doesn't happen, then I will keep working hard here at Stoke and try to earn a spot in the Ireland team."

"I made the decision a few years ago (to represent Ireland) without having my head turned by anybody, and I am sticking by that. It is something I am comfortable with."

And following on from McClean & Wilson’s statements of commitment to the Irish cause, Shane Duffy the Derry born Ireland U21 international has also reiterated his desire to one day make the grade for Trap’s senior squad.

Speaking in the Irish Mail on Sunday last weekend Duffy said “ When I was a young lad growing up all I ever wanted to do was play for Ireland, nothing else. My heroes were Paul McGrath, Roy Keane and Robbie Keane. Nobody from Ireland ever got in touch with me when I was younger. I was part of the NI squad, but when Liam Brady phoned me up to ask me to play for Ireland there was never a chance I was going to say no”

Perhaps the time is now right for Michael O’Neill and the IFA to concentrate on players who feel some affiliation or bond to Northern Ireland, rather than continually attempting to disrupt the international ambitions of Irish players born in the North, who are simply following their childhood dream of pulling on an Ireland shirt and representing their nation at the Aviva Stadium.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

St Ledger on the verge of Ipswich move

Ipswich boss Paul Jewell is hopeful of signing Leicester City defender Sean St Ledger after agreeing a fee as well as personal terms with the player.

But Jewell says the 27-year-old Irish international, who has made eight league starts this term, has a number of offers to consider.

"Everything's agreed between the two clubs and with the player's personal terms," he told BBC Radio Suffolk.

"I spoke to him on Monday. He has got a few options. Hopefully he will choose us. But we're waiting on an answer."

St Ledger agreed a three-year deal with the Foxes when he joined from Preston in the summer.

But he has failed to establish himself as a regular first-choice centre-half at the King Power Stadium and, with the European Championships this year, he will be keen to remain in the thinking of Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni.

"I spoke to him at length over the weekend," Jewell added. "He just wants to make sure he makes the right decision because there are a few teams in for him.

"Hopefully we'll sell Ipswich as a long-term plan rather than a short-term option."

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Simon Cox keen to secure starting birth for club and country

Ireland international Simon Cox fired West Brom into the fourth round of the FA Cup with a hat-trick against Cardiff this afternoon.

Cox headed his first home from eight yards after a cross from Baggies captain Nicky Shorey. He doubled his tally in the 61st minute with a scorcher from 25 yards that gave Heaton no chance as it crossed the line after rattling off his post, and he sealed his hat-trick with an easy tap in from an Odemwingie pass.

The Irish striker has recently hinted that he may have to move on during the January transfer window after finding first-team football hard to come by this season.

Cox is very aware that he needs to playing every week if he's to secure a squad spot in Giovanni Trapattoni's European finals squad, and with just two Premier League starts this season he feels a move away from the the Hawthorns may be his best chance of guaranteeing a trip to Poland in June.

Speaking after the game Baggies boss Roy Hodgson said :

"That's a positive for Simon who has taken his chance when it has come along.

"I thought he did very well at Tottenham the other night as well, so with his three goals and his performance today, it's a clear positive for us and for him.

"The way he played today, he clearly showed he deserves a place in the team, and we'll be thinking very seriously about that.

"Simon's a good trainer, good finisher. In the finishing practices he is always right up there, so he has to be pleased with his day's work.

"I'm pleased for him, pleased he's shown he is a Premier League quality player and that he has taken his chance after being given it with great aplomb.

"On both occasions he has been amongst our best players."

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Robbie Brady to remain with Hull for remainder of campaign

Manchester United and Ireland U21 international winger Robbie Brady will stay at Hull City until the end of the season.

The 19-year-old Dublin born player has scored one goal from 22 appearances since joining Hull on loan at the start of the season.

Tigers caretaker boss Nick Barmby said: "We've got a great platform for him to really kick on now.

"We spoke to [Manchester United] direct and the manager's been different class with us and hopefully that relationship will continue."

Brady is set to play for the Tigers in the FA Cup tie against Ipswich Town.

The former St.Kevin's Boys winger will now spend the remainder of the 2011/12 campaign with the Tigers and will hope to play a leading role in their promotion push.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Clark looking to secure Euro squad place

Ireland international Ciarán Clark admits he has to keep his Aston Villa spot if he is to secure a place in Ireland's 23 man squad for the Euro 2012 finals in Poland.

Clark, who can play in central defence or midfield, has recently regained his Villa spot in a holding midfield role.

He is desperate to be part of the Irish squad in Poland and knows he has to impress Trapattoni at club level during the second half of Villa's Premiership campaign.

Clark who gained his first international call up in November 2010 against Norway said: "I'd like to keep getting into the Villa team because that is the only way I am going to get into the team to make the European Championships in the summer.

"I know if I play games then I will hopefully get a chance to go.

"It would be a massive experience for me to go to Euro 2012 but I haven't been picked in the last few squads.

"I hadn't really been playing for Villa but, now I'm getting a few games, it would be nice to think I've got a chance for the summer..

"I won't give up on it and hopefully I'll show I'm good enough."