NewFAI Governance Review Report…21/06/2019

The Report relating to the FAI Governance Review carried out by independent nominees, Aidan Horan, Dr Moling Ryan and Joe O’Leary together with officers of the FAI and of Sport Ireland was released today, Friday the 21st June 2019. The report was published online at 11am and was formally launched at noon today.

The report runs to 133 pages and contains 78 recommendations which were approved in principle by the surviving seven member FAI Board earlier this week. The report will now be considered by the general council of the FAI and will be formally voted on at the 2019 AGM in Trim on Saturday the 27th July when it will require a 2/3rd majority of the 206 eligible voting members before it can be put into motion. The FAI will now conduct a series of Roadshows across the country in the run up to the July AGM.

The Independent Chair of the Review Committee, Aidan Horan together with Donal Conway and Kieran Mulvey, the respective Chairs of the FAI and Sport Ireland spoke at the formal launch.

In a separate but associated announcement, it has been confirmed that FAI Board Member John Earley, Chair of the Underage Committee and Chair of the SFAI, has resigned his FAI position. Following the earlier resignations of Michael Cody and Eddie Murray, this means that there are now just seven surviving FAI Board members.



NewUEFA qualifying round draws…21/06/2019

The draws for the first qualifying rounds in both the 2020 Champions League and the 2020 Europa League took place at UEFA Headquarters in Nyon on Tuesday the 18th June and were followed by the second round draws on Wednesday the 19th June 2019.
The draw for the Women’s Champions League took place on Friday the 21st June 2019.

Champions League
In the first qualifying round our representatives Dundalk have been drawn against FC Riga of Latvia with the first leg set for Oriel Park on Tuesday the 9th July and the second leg one week later in Riga.
The second qualifying round draw produced the following scenarios for Dundalk:- if they are successful against FC Riga they will play the winners of the Partizani(Albania)/Qarabag(Azerbaijan)first round contest. Defeat by FC Riga would see Dundalk face the losers of the BATE Borisov(Belarus)/Piast Gliwioce(Poland) first round contest.

In the first qualifying round, Northern Ireland representatives Linfield face Rosenborg of Norway with the first leg in Belfast, Scottish champions Glasgow Celtic take on the Bosnia & Herzegovina champions Sarajevo with the first leg at home while the Welsh representatives The New Saints will face the winners of the four team preliminary round mini-tournament which involves the champions of Andorra, Gibraltar, San Marino and Kosova who will host the event on the 25th and 28th of June.

Europa League
The draw for the first qualifying round of the 2020 Europa League sees Shamrock Rovers drawn against Brann of Norway with the first leg scheduled for Thursday the 11th July in Brann and the second leg one week later in Tallaght. If successful, Shamrock Rovers will face the winners of the first round tie between FK Kauno Zalgiris(Lithuania)and Apollon Limassol(Cyprus).

Cork City have been drawn against the winners of the preliminary round contest between Progres Niederkorn from Luxembourg and Cardiff Metropolitan University (Wales) with the first leg set for Turners Cross on Thursday the 11th July 2019 and the second leg scheduled  for the following Thursday. If they progress, Cork City will play the winners emerging from the Glasgow Rangers/Prishtina/St Joseph’s triangle with the first leg away.

Our third representatives, St Patrick’s Athletic, find themselves pitted against Norrkoping of Sweden with the away first leg set for Sweden on the 11th July 2019 and the home leg scheduled for Richmond Park on the 18th July 2019. Should they prevail, St Pat’s will face the winners of the Dinamo Minsk(Belarus)/FK Liepaja(Latvia)contest. 

The draw also produced the following first round ties:-
Malmo(Sweden) v Ballymena United(NI)/ NSI Runavik(Faroe Islands)
Connah’s Quay Nomads(Wales) v Kilmarnock(Scotland)
Crusaders(NI) v B36 Torshavn(Faroe Islands)
Pristina(Kosova)/St Joseph’s(Gibraltar) v Glasgow Rangers(Scotland)
Barry Town(Wales)/Cliftonville(NI) v Haugesund(Norway)
Aberdeen(Scotland) v RoPS Rovaniemi(Finland)

The second round draw saw English representatives Wolverhampton Wanderers drawn against the winners of the Crusaders/B36 Torshavn first round tie.

Women’s Champions League
Our representatives in the Women’s Champions League are Wexford Youths WFC and they have been drawn in Qualifying Group 10 alongside Gintras Universitetas(Lithuania), KF Vllaznia(Albania) and Birkirkara FC(Malta).
The Group will be hosted by the Lithuanian side, with the fixtures scheduled for Wednesday 7 August, Saturday 10 August and Tuesday 13 August 2019.

U21s lose third place play-off in Toulon…15/06/2019

Our Under 21 side, with Stephen Kenny at the helm, finished fourth in the 2019 Toulon Tournament when they lost out in a penalty shoot-out to Mexico in the third place play-off contest early on Saturday afternoon. The two sides had played out a scoreless draw when they met in the Group stage on Thursday the 6th June and today again the contest finished scoreless in the Stade Marcel Roustan.

In this, their fifth contest at the Tournament, Stephen Kenny chose to start the three outfield squad members, Canice Carroll, Tyreke Wilson and Jamie Lennon, who had not been used during the opening quartet of matches while the fourth unused player, goalkeeper Conor Kearns, was introduced from the substitute bench after sixty four minutes.

The contest was similar to their earlier Group meeting with both sides enjoying a fair degree of possession without really creating a positive goal scoring chance until perhaps the final action of the ninety minutes when Barnet midfielder Jack Taylor blazed over from an excellent position.

There were some excellent performances from Ireland with the defensive trio of Lee O’Connor, Conor Masterson and Liam Scales all looking composed in their play. Taylor also caught the eye in midfield, his performance suggesting that he is more than capable of performing at a higher level than his current club Barnet.

Up front, both Aaron Drinan and Stephen Mallon worked tirelessly as did all of their colleagues against a much more experienced Mexico, for whom virtually all of their players play first team football at a much higher level.

Ireland captain Jayson Molumby, who was rested today, was named by the organisers as one of the top four players at the Tournament.

With five of this U21 squad, Lee O’Connor, Conor Coventry, Jason Knight, Aaron Connolly and Adam Idah, eligible for our Under 19 side who will contest the European U19 Championship Finals in Armenia between the 14th and 27th July 2019, we should look forward with eager anticipation to watching Tom Mohan‘s team in action.

Caoimhin Kelleher(Liverpool); Lee O’Connor(Manchester United), Conor Masterson(Liverpool), Liam Scales(UCD), Tyreke Wilson(Manchester City); Canice Carroll(Brentford), Jamie Lennon(St Patricks Athletic); Jason Knight(Derby County), Jack Taylor(Barnet), Stephen Mallon(Sheffield United); Aaron Drinan(Ipswich Town)

Aaron Connolly(Brighton & HA) for Mallon 58′
Darragh Leahy(Bohemian) for Wilson 58′
Conor Kearns(UCD) for Kelleher 64′
Connor Ronan(Wolverhampton Wanderers) for Knight 75′
Adam Idah(Norwich City) for Drinan 78′

Friday evening in the Airtricity League…14/06/2019

As a consequence of international commitments, there were just three Airtricity League Premier Division contests played this Friday evening before the Mid-Season Break.
The Dalymount Park clash of bitter rivals Bohemian and Shamrock Rovers topped the bill with live coverage being provided by eirSport as the hosts continued their recent good form against their opponents with another victory, on this occasion by two goals to one. St Patrick’s Athletic scored the only goal to defeat bottom side Finn Harps in Richmond Park while Sligo Rovers and Cork City played out a one all draw in the Showgrounds.

                            P   W  D  L   F   A   G/D  Pts
Dundalk                    21  15  4  2  40  11   29    49
Shamrock Rovers            21  14  2  5  33  14   19    44
Bohemian                   21  11  4  6  25  16    9    37
Derry City                 20   8  7  5  30  21    9    31
St Patrick’s Athletic      22   8  7  7  18  19   -1    31
Sligo Rovers               21   6  8  7  20  27   -7    26
Cork City                  21   6  6  9  17  24   -7    24

Waterford                  18   6  5  7  26  26    –    23
UCD                        19   3  1 15  13  34  -21    10
Finn Harps                 22   2  4 16  19  49  -30    10

All ten Airtricity League First Division clubs were in action this Friday evening before the Mid-Season Break.
Current leaders Shelbourne defeated third place Drogheda United by two goals to one in Tolka Park while second place Longford Town went down to a three two defeat by Bray Wanderers in the Carlisle Grounds. Fourth place Limerick journied East and were held to a scoreless draw by Wexford in Ferrycarrig Park while fifth place Cabinteely travelled Westward where they played out a two all draw  with Athlone Town. The remaining contest saw Cobh Ramblers defeat visitors Galway United by two goals to one in St Colman’s Park.

                            P   W  D  L   F   A    G/D  Pts
Shelbourne                 17  12  1  4  26  13    13    37
Longford Town              17  10  3  4  22  11    11    33
Drogheda United            17  10  2  5  36  23    13    32
Limerick                   17   8  5  4  19  15     4    29
Cabinteely                 17   8  5  4  23  22     1    29
Bray Wanderers             17   9  1  7  23  15     8    28
Cobh Ramblers              17   5  4  8  22  26    -4    19
Galway United              17   4  1 12  18  24    -6    13
Athlone Town               17   3  3 11  19  39   -20    12
Wexford                    17   2  3 13  15  35   -20     9

U21s lose to Brazil in Toulon semi-final…12/06/2019

Our Republic of Ireland U21 side, with Head Coach Stephen Kenny at the helm, went down to a two nil defeat by favourites Brazil in the semi-final of the 2019 Toulon Tournament in the Stade de Lattre-de-Tassigny, Aubagne this Wednesday afternoon.

While disappointed at the outcome, we should take pride and much hope for the future from the performance of our young side. Brazil were deserved winners and might well have scored more but our team sought at all times to play in a cultured and positive fashion.

The contest commenced in dramatic fashion with the concession of a penalty by Conor Masterson within two minutes for which he was cautioned but might well have been dismissed. That good fortune was further embellished with Brazil missing the spot kick.

Brazil, with a much more experienced side, many of whom play first team football at a high level, were worthy winners but several of our young players certainly enhanced their reputations. Connor Ronan, man of the match in our previous two outings, again caught the eye and would not have looked out of place in the opposition side. He must be an early candidate for our senior squad.

Goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher might have done better with the opening goal on fifteen minutes but except for one excellent second half save had little to do and could not really be faulted for the second goal which came immediately following the half-time break.

The back four all performed admirably with Masterson, who has just been released by Liverpool, recovering from his early troubles to give a steady performance. Lee O’Connor, captain of our U19 side was excellent at right back as was centre back Dara O’Shea. Bohemian left back Darragh Leahy also made a fine contribution.

The holding midfield duo of Conor Coventry and captain Jayson Molumby worked tirelessly against their formidable opponents while Stephen Mallon and Adam Idah worked effortlessly in difficult circumstances. Together with the aforementioned Ronan, the other shining light was Aaron Connolly who gave their Barcelona bound full back a torrid afternoon.

Ireland will now take on Mexico in the third place play-off at 12.30pm on Saturday afternoon in Salon-de-Provence.

Starting Eleven:

Caoimhin Kelleher(Liverpool); Lee O’Connor(Manchester United), Dara O’Shea(West Bromwich Albion), Conor Masterson(Liverpool), Darragh Leahy(Bohemian); Conor Coventry(West Ham United), Jayson Molumby(Brighton & Hove Albion); Stephen Mallon(Sheffield United), Connor Ronan(Wolverhampton Wanderers), Aaron Connolly(Brighton & Hove Albion); Adam Idah(Norwich City)

Simon Power(Norwich City) for Mallon 54′
Jack Taylor (Barnet) for Ronan 65′
Aaron Drinan (Ipswich Town) for Idah 83′
Josh Barrett (Reading) for Connolly 83′

The other semi-final between Japan and Mexico kicked-off earlier today in the same venue and saw Japan go through to Saturday’s final in Salon-de-Provence with a five four penalty shoot-out success after the sides played out a two all draw in normal time.

Ireland defeat Gibraltar in UEFA Qualifier…10/06/2019

Mick McCarthy saw his Republic of Ireland side collect another three points with a two nil victory over Gibraltar in tonight’s 2020 European Championship qualifying contest in the Aviva Stadium.

The starting eleven showed two changes from the contest in Copenhagen with Callum Robinson and Scott Hogan replacing Glenn Whelan and Robbie Brady in a 4-4-2 formation.

In his pre-match comments, Mick McCarthy had emphasised the point that the result not the performance was all important and that was very much the way things worked out.

Ireland dominated possession throughout but failed to deliver really definitive goal scoring opportunities.  Indeed, the opening goal after twenty nine minutes was an own goal which came via a wicked deflection of a David McGoldrick shot which was way off target.

The second goal, three minutes into added time at the end of the contest, was one of quality involving an initial splendid cross field pass from Conor Hourihane to James McClean whose far post cross was headed home by the incoming Robbie Brady who had replaced Callum Robinson on seventy three minutes.

Darren Randolph was untroubled all evening and while Seamus Coleman made numerous forays down the right flank his link up with Robinson lacked precision. Richard Keogh was solid in defence but his centre back partner Shane Duffy had a very disappointing night as also did Enda Stevens whose understanding with the industrious James McClean yielded little. Conor Hourihane, the deepest of the midfielders did deliver some fine long range passes while Jeff Hendrick contributed only in fits and starts.

The front two of Scott Hogan and David McGoldrick worked tirelessly but were unable to really provide a clinical finishing touch, though McGoldrick, who was named ‘man of the match’ did have one excellent effort which struck the post.

The statistics of Ireland having thirty one attempts with only seven on target coupled with a corner count of fourteen to one together with the disappointing foul count of thirteen against only four by the visitors tells much about another frustrating evening. 

D Randolph; S Coleman(C), S Duffy, R Keogh, E Stevens; C Robinson, J Hendrick, C Hourihane, J McClean; D McGoldrick, S Hogan

Sean Maguire for Hogan 66′
Robbie Brady for Robinson 73′

Also in action this evening were Denmark and Georgia, who met in Copenhagen where the hosts emerged as five one victors.

                     P  W  D  L  F  A  G/D  Pts
Republic of Ireland  4  3  1  0  5  1   4   10
Denmark              3  1  2  0  9  5   4    5
Switzerland          2  1  1  0  5  3   2    4
Georgia              4  1  0  3  4  8  -4    3
Gibraltar            3  0  0  3  0  6  -6    0

U21s defeat Bahrain in Toulon Tournament…09/06/2019

Our U21 side completed their Group C fixtures at the 2019 Toulon Tournament with a one nil victory over Bahrain on Sunday afternoon in the Stade Jules Ladoumegue to qualify for the semi-finals of the competition. The winning goal came on thirty three minutes from a wickedly deflected Connor Ronan free-kick. Ronan was once again the stand out Irish player.

Progress to the knock-out stage is excellent but the performance this afternoon was sadly lacking against the weakest team in the Group. Ireland did dominate the opening half and had a number of chances which were spurned. Immediately following the deflected goal Ireland were correctly awarded a penalty kick which was taken by captain Jason Molumby, despite regular spot-kick taker Adam Idah being on the pitch, having replaced the injured Zach Elbouzedi on twenty seven minutes. Molumby‘s penalty was saved by the goalkeeper but fell directly to the incoming Josh Barrett who disappointingly shot wide.

The second half Irish performance was very disappointing and could have proved calamitous but for one excellent save from goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher. The mid-afternoon heat may have been a factor but, we were sluggish, sloppy and disjointed throughout much of the half.

Manager Stephen Kenny must be concerned at the paucity of the second half performance and together with his coaching team will seek to address the matter before the semi-final against Brazil at 4.30pm (Irish time) on Wednesday afternoon. The other semi-final between Japan and Mexico takes place at 2pm that same afternoon.

           P W D L F A GD Pts
Ireland    3 2 1 0 5 1  4  7
Mexico     3 2 1 0 3 0  3  7
China      3 1 0 2 5 6 -1  3
Bahrain    3 0 0 3 1 7 -6  0

C Kelleher; L O’Connor, D O’Shea, L Scales, D Leahy; J Knight, J Molumby: Z Elbouzedi, C Ronan, J Barrett; A Connolly

A Idah for Elbouzedi 27′
C Coventry for Knight 46′
S Power for Barrett 67′
J Taylor for Ronan 78′