Coronavirus brings sport to a standstill…13/03/2020

The escalating outbreak of Coronavirus has brought an abrupt stop to the great majority of sporting events. All codes of Irish domestic football were officially postponed yesterday, Thursday, while the British mainland has followed suit today. While resumption dates of two to three weeks have been designated, given the ever expanding scale of the outbreak it does seem incongruous that those dates will become effective.

Senior Women collect six points…11/03/2020

Following their home victory over Greece last Thursday, our senior women secured their six point European Championship Qualifying target with a three nil victory over Montenegro in Budva this Wednesday afternoon. Thursday goal scoring duo Diane Caldwell and Louise Quinn combined once again to replicate their previous exploits with the opening goal after 12 minutes. Thereafter the Irish performance was disappointing and careless with the hosts, ranked 60 places below Ireland, being presented with three scoring opportunities which they failed to capitalise on. A higher quality  team would almost certainly have converted the chances. The contest continued to lack quality and was indeed quite poor until the 68th minute dismissal of Montenegro defender Djukic. Thereafter Ireland took total command and a splendid free kick from captain Katy McCabe followed two minutes later by a strike from Denise O’Sullivan set the seal on victory.

Team: Courtney Brosnan; Harriet Scott, Diane Caldwell, Louise Quinn; Aine O’Gorman, Clare Shine, Niamh Fahey, Denise O’Sullivan, Katie McCabe(C); Ruesha Littlejohn, Riannea Jarrett
Kyra Carusa for Shine 58′

Amber Barrett for Jarrett 87′

             P  W  D  L   F  A  G/D  Pts
Ireland      5  4  1  0  10  3   7   13
Germany      4  4  0  0  31  0  31   12
Greece       4  1  1  2   5  7  -2    4
Ukraine      3  0  0  3   2 19 -17    0
Montenegro   4  0  0  4   0 19 -19    0


Irish in midweek action…13/03/2020

Matt Doherty started for Wolverhampton Wanderers but was withdrawn at half-time of their one all draw with Olympiakos of Greece in the UEFA Europa League round of sixteen first leg tie on Thursday evening.

January transfer window signing Conor McCarthy started for St Mirren in this evening’s one nil Scottish Premiership victory over visitors Heart of Midlothian but was forced off through injury after just 31 minutes and was replaced by fellow January signing Jamie McGrath.

Troy Parrott
was unused on the Tottenham Hotspur substitute bench as they followed their one nil first leg defeat with a comprehensive three nil defeat by RB Leipzig in the second leg of the Champions League round of 16 at the Red Bull Arena this Tuesday evening.

U21 midfielder Connor Ronan, on loan at Blackpool from Wolverhampton Wanderers, started this evening’s two one League One defeat by visitors Tranmere Rovers. Portsmouth included Ronan Curtis and Norwich City loanee Sean Raggett in their starting eleven at Fratton Park and Raggett scored in the two all draw with fellow promotion challengers Fleetwood Town for whom Glenn Whelan started in midfield. Marcus Harnett and Paddy Madden were late substitutes for their respective clubs.

Glasgow Celtic loanee Lee O’Connor was unused on the substitute bench for Partick Thistle in their one all Scottish Championship draw with visitors Dunfermline for whom fellow loanee Jonathan Afolabi completed 90 minutes. Another loanee Aaron Drinan also completed 90 minutes for Ayr United who went down to a two nil defeat at Dundee.


League action this weekend…09/03/2020

Conor Hourihane
started for Aston Villa but was substituted after 67 minutes of their four nil Premier League drubbing at Leicester City on Monday evening.

Jason Knight completed another full 90 minutes for Derby County who defeated visitors Blackburn Rovers by three goals to nil at Pride Park in the Championship on Sunday afternoon. Knight earned the penalty which led to the ‘Rams’ third goal. Daragh Lenihan again missed out for the visitors through suspension. 

James McCarthy completed the full 90 minutes for Crystal Palace who defeated visitors Watford with the only goal at Selhurst Park in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon. Enda Stevens returned to the  Sheffield United starting eleven but suffered another injury blow and was withdrawn on 61 minutes of their one nil victory over Norwich City at Bramall Lane. John Egan started for the ‘Blades’ while David McGoldrick was a 71st minute substitute. Teenage striker Adam Idah was an 87th minute substitute for the visiting ‘Canaries’. Southampton included Shane Long in their starting eleven but he was withdrawn on 77 minutes of their one nil home defeat by visitors Newcastle United. Michael Obafemi was an 85th minute substitute for the ‘Saints’. Matt Doherty started for Wolverhampton Wanderers who played out a scoreless draw with Brighton & Hove Albion for whom Shane Duffy was an unused substitute at Molineaux. The late kick-off saw Burnley play out a one all draw with visitors Tottenham Hotspur. Jeff Hendrick started for the ‘Clarets’ while Robbie Brady and Kevin Long were unused substitutes. 

Callum O’Dowda completed the full 90 minutes for Bristol City as did Fulham duo Harry Arter and Cyrus Christie as their respective sides played out a one all draw at Ashton Gate in the Championship early on Saturday afternoon. Loanee Scott Hogan scored after 6 minutes for Birmingham City but visitors Reading scored three second half goals for victory at St Andrew’s. Josh Cullen started and loanee Aiden McGeady was an unused substitute for Charlton Athletic who lost to the only goal from visitors Middlesbrough. Alan Browne and Sean Maguire started for Preston North End while Ryan Manning started and scored for visitors QPR who earned a three one victory at Deepdale.  Olamide Shodipo was an unused substitute for the ‘R’s ‘ but there was no place for Conor Masterson. Centre back Nathan Collins was an unused substitute for Stoke City who crushed visitors Hull City and Sean McLoughlin by five goals to one at the Bet 365 Stadium. Dara O’Shea and Callum Robinson started for West Bromwich Albion who were held to a scoreless draw at Swansea City with Robinson withdrawn on 58 minutes. James Collins was in action for Luton Town who played out a scoreless draw at Wigan Athletic.

In League One, Glenn Whelan and Paddy Madden started for Fleetwood Town while visitors Blackpool included loanee Connor Ronan in their starting eleven as their sides played out a scoreless draw. Ipswich Town included Alan Judge in their side for the one nil home defeat by current leaders Coventry City at Portman Road. Free agent Alan Sheehan joined Lincoln City in midweek and started alongside Anthony Scully and loanee Conor Coventry while Cian Bolger and Zack Elbouzedi were unused on the bench for the visit of Burton Albion who were without suspended goalkeeper Kieran O’Hara and Conor Shaughnessy but Stephen Quinn and John Joe O’Toole both started their three two defeat. Transfer window signing Jack Taylor was in the Peterborough United side for the two nil victory over visitors  Portsmouth who included Ronan Curtis and loanee Sean Raggett in their starting eleven with Marcus Harness unused on the substitute bench. Chiedoze Ogbene started for Rotherham United with Trevor Clarke unused on the bench as they suffered a surprise three one defeat at Rochdale, managed by Brian Barry Murphy who included Paul McShane, Jimmy Keohane and Eoghan O’Connell in the starting eleven.

Airtricity League action this weekend…07/03/2020

Premier Division
Match Series 5 in the Airtricity League Premier Division kicked-off this Friday evening with North Side Dublin neighbours Bohemian and Shelbourne going head to head in Dalymount Park in front of the live eirSport cameras. The hosts emerged victorious by two goals to nil. Out in Inchicore, St Patrick’s Athletic scored the only goal to defeat Cork City in Richmond Park while defending champions Dundalk journied to Donegal where they overcame their host Finn Harps by four goals to nil. Derry City made the lengthy journey South to face Waterford in the RSC where, despite taking the lead, they went down to a two one defeat.

On Saturday evening, eirSport brought live coverage from the Showgrounds where Sligo Rovers, the only side still to register a goal or point. played host to table topping Shamrock Rovers. In very challenging weather conditions, the visitors emerged victorious by three goals to two.

                        P  W  D  L   F  A   G/D  Pts
Shamrock Rovers         5  5  0  0  15  4   11   15
Dundalk                 5  4  0  1  12  4    8   12
Bohemian                5  3  0  2   6  3    3    6
St Patrick’s Athletic   4  2  0  2   3  2    1    6
Shelbourne              4  2  0  2   3  4   -1    6
Waterford               4  2  0  2   3  5   -2    6
Derry City              4  1  1  2   4  4    –    4
Finn Harps              4  1  1  2   2  6   -4    4
Cork City               5  1  0  4   1 11  -10    3
Sligo Rovers            4  0  0  4   2  8   -6    0

First Division
Stradbrook hosted the South Dublin clash of Cabinteely and Shamrock Rovers 11 on Friday evening with the hosts prevailing by one goal to nil. Drogheda United crushed UCD by five goals to one in United Park while Wexford and Galway United ended scoreless in Ferrycarrig Park.

Saturday evening saw Cobh Ramblers defeat Athlone Town by three goals to two in St Colman’s Park while the scheduled Longford Town against Bray Wanderers contest was postponed because of a waterlogged Bishopsgate pitch.

                     P  W  D  L  F  A  G/D  Pts
Cabinteely           3  3  0  0  8  3   5    9
Drogheda United      3  2  0  1  7  2   5    6
Longford Town        2  2  0  0  3  0   3    6
UCD                  3  1  1  1  3  6  -3    4
Bray Wanderers       2  1  0  1  4  4   –    3
Cobh Ramblers        3  1  0  2  3  5  -2    3
Galway United        2  0  2  0  1  1   –    2
Wexford              3  0  2  1  1  3  -2    2
Shamrock Rovers II   3  0  1  2  1  4  -3    1
Athlone Town         2  0  0  2  3  6  -3    0

Senior Women face two crucial qualifiers…11/03/2020

Centre back Diane Caldwell‘s goal on the stroke of half-time gave Ireland three fully deserved points from this Thursday evening’s European Championship qualifier against Greece in Tallaght Stadium. The goal came following a corner delivered by skipper Katie McCabe which was headed into the six yard box by Caldwell‘s fellow centre back Louise Quinn. Ireland started brightly and dominated play throughout the first half and should perhaps have scored earlier. The second half was rather more fragmented but save for the tension prevailing in the final few minutes Ireland remined in control. Clearly a second goal would have provided a greater degree of comfort, but the inability to find the net on a more consistent basis remains a concern. My player of the match was Denise O’Sullivan who really looked a class apart while Ruesha Littlejohn received the vote of the sponsors.

Team: Marie Hourihan; Harriet Scott, Diane Caldwell, Louise Quinn, Aine O’Gorman; Heather Payne, Niamh Fahey, Denise O’Sullivan, Katie McCabe(C); Ruesha Littlejohn, Riannea Jarrett
Julie-Ann Russell for Payne 63′

Amber Barrett for Jarrett 72′
Clare Shine for Littlejohn 86′

             P  W  D  L   F  A  G/D  Pts
Germany      4  4  0  0  31  0  31   12
Ireland      4  3  1  0   7  3   4   10
Greece       4  1  1  2   5  7  -2    4
Montenegro   3  0  0  3   0 16 -16    0
Ukraine      3  0  0  3   2 19 -17    0


Our senior international women face two crucial UEFA EURO 2021 Qualifiers this and next week. We face Greece in Tallaght Stadium at 7.15pm on Thursday evening before travelling to Montenegro to take on our hosts in Budva on Wednesday the 11th March 2020.

Head Coach Vera Pauw will be without the injured quartet of Megan Campbell, Megan Connolly, Keeva Keenan and Jessica Ziu. New to the squad is American born striker Kyra Carusa while the evergreen Aine O’Gorman, already capped 100 times, returns to the fold.

Goalkeepers: Courtney Brosnan(West Ham United), Marie Hourihan(SC Braga), Grace Moloney(Reading), Niamh Reid Burke(Peamount United)
Defenders: Diane Caldwell(SC Sand), Jamie Finn(Shelbourne), Chloe Mustaki(Charlton Athletic), Aine O’Gorman(Peamount United), Claire O’Riordan(MSV Duisberg), Louise Quinn(Arsenal), Harriet Scott(Birmingham City), Claire Walsh(Peamount United)
Midfielders: Niamh Fahey(Liverpool), Niamh Farrelly(Peamount United), Ruesha Littlejohn(West Ham United), Hayley Nolan(University of Hartford), Denise O’Sullivan(North Carolina Courage), Julie-Ann Russell(Sydney University)
Forwards: Amber Barrett(FC Koln), Kyra Carusa(HB Koge), Rianna Jarrett(Brighton & Hove Albion), Leanne Kiernan(West Ham United), Katie McCabe(Arsenal), Heather Payne(Florida State University), Clare Shine(Glasgow City)