September 2012 News Archive

Trapattoni names twenty three man Ireland squad...26/09/2012
Giovanni Trapattoni has this afternoon confirmed his twenty three man Republic of Ireland squad, for the upcoming Group C 2014 World Cup qualifying contests against Germany and the Faroe Islands. The contrasting performances and personnel in the two most recent outings against Kazakhstan and Oman had raised the level of interest in this selection which is likely to be a yardstick of what the future really holds. One's immediate reaction is one of bitter disappointment. The retention of several players unable to command starting positions at lower level clubs or their selection for roles with which they are unfamiliar and unsuited, however much they try (and we afford no criticism of the players, who no doubt give their all), continues to begger belief. The exclusion of Meyler, O'Brien, Pearce and Brady, albeit the latter is on standby, is bitterly disappointing. The position surrounding Ciaran Clark, is also one that really demands a more definitive explanation that the oft repeated but essentially slipshod excuse' we keep an eye on him'. Perhaps that particular eye is closed at present.


Twenty three man squad - football or fiscal decision?...26/09/2012
Two World Cup qualifying contests in five days, the second involving an arduous journey into the North Atlantic prompts the question - why only a twenty three man squad?. Injury almost inevitably impacts upon a squad before assembly and in all probability the opening contest with Germany will generate some further casualties. Rather than the piecemeal summoning of replacements, why not name an extended squad from the outset, enabling greater familiarity, knowledge and integration into the playing system?. Historically, this manager has picked extended squads and one wonders if the current fiscal position has impacted upon priorities?.

Chris Hughton suffers more North East disappointment...23/09/2012
Chris Hughton brought his Norwich City side to St James Park to face the Newcastle United club he led to promotion just sixteen months ago. The then and still unfathomable decision to part company with the amiable Hughton remains a mystery. Despite the encouragement of a multitude of well wishers, the muxch desired success was not to be as the hosts scored the only goal early in the first half. While his hopes of a belated call to the senior international ranks may now be very slim, midfielder Wesley Hoolihan, who played the full ninety minutes, still remains a skilfully talented footballer. Fellow midfielder Anthony Pilkington, who may yet receive a call to the senior ranks, was an unused substitute following his recovery from injury.


Conor Henderson in loan move to Coventry City...22/09/2012
No sooner do I plug the potential presence of twenty one year old midfielder Conor Henderson in Barclays U21 League action for Arsenal on Friday evening, than he goes and drops me in it. Conor signed a three month loan deal for new manager Mark Robins at Coventry City yesterday and has been introduced from the substitute bench after just twenty three minutes at home to Carlisle United in League One this afternoon. This move should, and hopefully will, prove beneficial to both parties.


Richard Dunne injury concerns continue to mount...20/09/2012
Our interpretation a week ago, concerning the negative injury position of Richard Dunne continues to grow wings. With the crucial 2014 World Cup qualifier against Germany now just three weeks away, the availability of the Tallaght man is looking less and less likely. Sidelined now for, in excess of seven weeks, the most recent update from Villa Park offers no real crumbs of comfort concerning his return to training, never mind serious competitive action.


How about London on Saturday afternoon Giovanni?...20/09/2012
A swift trip to Upton Park on Saturday afternoon could prove informative for Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni. Hosts West Ham United are expected to have Joey O'Brien in their starting eleven while goalkeeper Stephen Henderson is likely to be on the substitute bench. For visitors Sunderland, John O'Shea, in central defence, and James McClean are expected to start while David Meyler may feature from the bench. Sadly, Keiren Westwood looks set to again be on the substitute bench. If London is too hectic, how about the South Coast?. Southampton play host to Aston Villa, who have this left sided centre back chap Ciaran Clark in their ranks. Worth a more concentrated and considered look perhaps?.

Teenage quintet in Next Gen action for Aston Villa...20/09/2012
The European Under 19 competition, introduced last year, has commenced for the 2012/2013 season with Aston Villa fielding five Irish underage internationals in their two one victory over Glasgow Celtic at Villa Park last night. Defenders Daniel Devine and Derrick Williams, midfielders Samir Carruthers, who scored, and Jack Grealish together with striker Michael Drennan all started, while teenage striker Graham Burke was excluded, an indication perhaps that he will continue to be part of the first team squad this weekend.


Four week countdown to Germany at the Aviva...14/09/2012
Four weeks from this evening, Ireland will face Germany at the Aviva Stadium in World Cup 2014 Qualifying Group C, followed four nights later by the trip to the Faroe Islands. Manager Giovanni Trapattoni has pretty much confirmed that he will revert to the status quo in terms of team selection for the Dublin encounter. While perceived logic would suggest that the tried and trusted (at least by the manager) is the sensible course of action, one wonders if some element of enterprise might not bring it's own rewards. The mid-week assertion that errors were made by some of the younger brigade (over ambitious passing attempts, for example), is correct, but even a brief analysis of previous encounters involving the regular crew, highlights a similiar, if not greater, level of inaccuracy. Is not the repeated skyward launching of the ball from goalkeeper and defenders in previous contests a recipe for similiar profligacy?. How great, if at all, is the difference between the current straight jacketing of our regular senior players and the fresh, perhaps fearless enterprise shown to be the forte of several of the younger brigade?.


Richard Dunne injury doubt for Germany encounter?...14/09/2012
With the crucial 2014 World Cup qualifier against Germany just four weeks away, there must be growing doubts concerning the availability of defensive lynchpin Richard Dunne. The Tallaght man has now been sidelined for more than six weeks and as yet, there are no positive murmourings emanating from Villa Park surrounding his return to fitness and action. The ramifications of utilising an unfit player, evidenced by his club colleague Shay Given at EURO 2012, are potentially serious and could prove a risk too great.

Reflections on Tuesday evening by the Thames...13/09/2012
While in reality the Thames side encounter with Oman on Tuesday evening was little more than a stroll in the park, it nevertheless offered some insight to the future and indeed more pertinently the present. The younger brigade of Seamus Coleman, James McCarthy, James McClean and Marc Wilson have been on the fringes for some time and all of them provided evidence that their involvement could, perhaps should, be greater. The debutants, Robbie Brady, David Meyler, Alex Pearce and Darren Randolph each gave positive auditions that augur well for the future. There are others who, for whatever reason, were not invited to the 'party'. Perhaps a late summons may still be on the cards for Ciaran Clark, who we are told 'still has much to learn' . Would not the student learn more as part of the class rather than being confined to the schoolyard?.


Another promising quartet waiting in the wings...13/09/2012
However 'friendly' the contest on Tuesday might have been, it nevertheless highlighted the technical ability of a number of our younger Irish footballers, which rather discredits the too often repeated managerial assessment that no such quality exists within the Irish ranks. In addition to the youthful element on show earlier this week there are others who have just exited the Under 21 ranks and offer further hope for the future. Given our difficulty in the left back position, I firmly believe that three times capped Greg Cunningham should be elevated to the senior squad. Three others, Conor Henderson, Sean Scannell and Aiden White all offer huge potential and could lend further quality to the senior ranks.

England at Wembley set for Wednesday 29 May 2013...12/09/2012
The FAI has this afternoon confirmed that the Republic of Ireland will meet England at Wembley Stadium on Wednesday 29 May 2013 as part of the host nation's 150th Anniversary celebrations. A return contest is also provisionally scheduled for the Aviva Stadium on Tuesday 18 November 2014.

Ireland defeat Oman in young gun auditions (1)...11/09/2012
Ireland scored a comfortable four one success over Oman in this evening's friendly encounter in London. Twenty year old Robbie Brady, one of four debutants on the night, certainly caught the eye during his seventy minutes of game time. Deployed wide on the right, Brady terrorised his opposing full back with both technical quality and excellent pace. The former St Kevin's Boys star also took command of attacking free kick situations, and to what effect!. After seven minutes, his excellent free kick beyond the back post was headed into the danger area by Sean St Ledger and then headed to the net by Shane Long. Fifteen minutes later Brady collected the ball on the edge of the box and found the bottom corner of the net for his first senior international goal. On thirty six minutes, another free kick, this time out on the left hand side of the pitch was whipped at pace by Brady and finished to the net by Kevin Doyle. There were a couple of ambitious passes that were intercepted but his immediate reaction, to challenge and redress the situation spoke volumes. This was one hell of an introductory first half from the youngster.

Ireland defeat Oman in young gun auditions (2)...11/09/2012
Tonight was not just the Brady Show, there were others who certainly caught the eye. Arguably, the man of the match was Shane Long, who apart from his goal was instrumental in most of Ireland 's attacking play. His pace, aerial prowess and indeed predatory instinct for his goal, all qualities he has been displaying in the Premiership for some time, beg the question, why has he not been an automatic starter for Ireland?. Long linked well with old Cork City and Reading team mate Kevin Doyle and this duo certainly sent out a positive message. Of the three other debutants, midfielder David Meyler completed the full ninety minutes and displayed much promise. His tackling may require some honing but his energy and industry are eye catching. Reading defender Alex Pearce made his debut for the second half and capped a commanding defensive display with the fourth goal, a trademark header from an Aiden McGeady corner, five minutes from time. Goalkeeper Darron Randolph could not be faulted for the goal he conceded and made one spledid save in an otherwise quiet second half debut. Another youngster James McCarthy, was again prominent in midfield where he displayed football nous of the highest calibre.

Congratulations and best wishes to Robbie Brady...11/09/2012
RISSC (London) extends heartiest congratulations to Robbie Brady who is set to make his senior international debut this evening. Longer serving RISSC members may recall that the then eight year old Brady was a member of the St Kevin's Boys side sponsored by this Club from September 2000 for the following eight seasons. We would also like to say a big 'hello' to delighted parents Maria and Shay who will be in Craven Cottage this evening.

Opportunity knocks for some players but what if?...11/09/2012
The introduction of several new faces for Tuesday evening's friendly against Oman is welcome. Many will have their own thoughts on what could and might have been and I am no exception. Andrew Keogh is a smashing lad who has and will give his all for his country. I have no doubt that if asked to don the gloves, he would. Andy however is not a winger/wide midfielder and he himself, and his scoring record at Millwall, will tell you he is a forward/striker. Why oh why therefore, does our right side lineup tomorrow evening not comprise of two players who fill those specific positions for their Premiership clubs, say, Joey O'Brien at the back with Seamus Coleman in his familiar midfield position?. The inclusion of Stephen Kelly in central defence is, I believe, less contentious. Stephen played much of his underage career in central defence and I do feel that in many ways, not least technical application, he is more suited to that position.

Ireland Under 21s blow out the lights in Italy...10/09/2012
Ireland completed their 2012 UEFA Championship programme with a glittering performance against Italy in Casarano this afternoon. Debutant Sean Murray opened the scoring with a magnificent thirty yard lob from wide on the right after twenty three minutes. The hosts equalised twelve minutes later and within seconds disaster seemed to have struck Ireland as debutant centre back Derek Williams conceded a penalty which resulted in his dismissal. Monaghan man Aaron McCarey, starting for the first time, saved the penalty and kick-started a magnificent Irish response. After the restart the ten men played with a composure belying their years and after twelve minutes, lone striker Aaron Doran sped through the middle of the Italian defence like a hot knife through butter and was calmness personified as he restored the lead for Ireland. One minute later it got better, as Conor Henderson struck a glorious thirty five yard shot to the top corner to extend the lead. The lights went out almost immediately resulting in a ten minute stoppage. Following the resumption, Ireland continued to be extremely disciplined in their play and thirty minutes in, the irrerepressable Doran again sped away from his marker and replicated his earlier composure to score Ireland's fourth. The final fifteen minutes were somewhat frenetic with the hosts bombarding Ireland, who stood fast. The dismissal of Anthony Forde for a second yellow card offence reduced the ranks to nine, but the nine were good enough to complete the task. Another power failure and lights out, and a late Italy consolation goal did nothing to deflate Noel King and his magnificent charges.


Noel King with eyes vey much on the Under 21 future...10/09/2012
Head Coach Noel King has his eyes very much on the future when Ireland complete their current Under 21 campaign against Italy in Casarano at 5.30pm this afternoon. The starting eleven includes four debutants, Carruthers, Doherty, Murray and Williams together with Forde, who made his debut as a late substitute last Thursday. Those five together with starters McCarey and Egan are all eligible for the next campaign, as are substitutes O'Sullivan and Smith. Leeds United regular Aiden White will skipper the side for the first time in his tenth and farewell appearance at this level.


Stephen Henderson called into senior squad...09/09/2012
West Ham United goalkeeper Stephen Henderson is another late call up to the senior international squad for the Oman friendly on Tuesday evening. He replaces Keiren Westwood who has been released to his club Sunderland.

Reading defender Alex Pearce receives senior call...08/09/2012
Twenty three year old Reading centre back Alex Pearce has received his first call up to the Ireland senior international squad for Tuesday's friendly encounter with Oman. Five players, Darren O'Dea, John O'Shea. Glen Whelan, Jonathan Walters and Robbie Keane have been permitted to return to their respective clubs.

Under 19s draw with Latvia in friendly this afternoon...08/09/2012
The single preparatory encounter with Latvia which ended one each in Riga this afternoon was far from ideal preparation for the upcoming UEFA U19 Championship qualifiers in Luxembourg and Head Coach Paul Doolin's task was made more difficult with the injury withdrawal of Aston Villa star Jack Grealish. The squad assembled earlier this week and one must hope that the coaching team has had sufficient preparation time to implement their ideas and processes.