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FA Cup Third Round action this weekend…05/01/2020

Sunday
The FA Cup third round continued on Sunday afternoon with most matches kicking-off at 2.01pm.
Championship sides Charlton Athletic and West Bromwich Albion locked horns at The Valley where Dara O’Shea was in central defence for the visiting ‘Baggies’ who scored the only goal to progress to the next round. Callum Robinson started for Sheffield United and scored after 8 minutes as they had quite a struggle to overcome non-league AFC Fylde by two goals to one at Bramall Lane. James McCarthy started for Crystal Palace who lost to the only goal from visitors Derby County at Selhurst Park. Young Jason Knight was an unused substitute for the visiting ‘Rams’. Middlesbrough played out a one all draw with Tottenham Hotspur at the Riverside Stadium where Troy Parrott was an unused substitute for the visitors. Conor Masterson was an unexpected inclusion in the QPR side which crushed visitors Swansea City by five goals to one at Loftus Road where Olamide Shodipo was a 69th minute substitute for the hosts.  
The Merseyside Derby meeting of Liverpool and Everton at Anfield saw Seamus Coleman in action for the visiting ‘Toffees’ who lost to the only goal from their hosts who played a side largely comprised of reserves and teenagers. There was a 6.16pm kick-off time scheduled for the meeting of League One side Gillingham and West Ham United with Southampton loanee Thomas O’Connor starting as expected for the hosts who also included goalkeeper Jack Bonham. The visitors went through to Round Four with a two nil victory.  

Saturday
There were a number of FA Cup third round contests set to kick-off at 12.31pm on Saturday afternoon which had Irish involvement.
The New Den hosted the meeting of Championship side Millwall who included Jayson Molumby and Alex Pearce in their starting eleven as they secured a three nil victory over League Two side Newport County who included Padraig Amond and Mark O’Brien in their side. Aiden O’Brien was an unused substitute for the ‘Lions’. Birmingham City included Dan Crowley in their starting eleven and he opened the scoring after just four minutes against their fellow Championship side Blackburn Rovers for whom Daragh Lenihan started with Derrick Williams a 39th minute substitute. The ‘Blues’ went on to win the match by two goals to one.  Burnley duo, Jeff Hendrick and Kevin Long both started against League One side Peterborough United at Turf Moor with Hendrick scoring the third goal after just 23 minutes as the ‘Clarets’ secured a four two victory. Rochdale manager Brian Barry-Murphy named Eoghan O’Connell. Jimmy Keohane and Jimmy Ryan in his starting eleven for their exciting one all draw with visitors Newcastle United.
Later in the day at 3.01pm, Brighton & Hove Albion played host to Championship side Sheffield Wednesday with Shane Duffy starting and Aaron Connolly a half-time substitute as they lost to the only goal. Cyrus Christie who has had a run of matches for Fulham in recent weeks retained his starting position for the two one victory over visitors Aston Villa and Conor Hourihane. The winning goal was scored by substitute Harry Arter just two minutes after he entered  the fray midway through the second half. In form Southampton gave starting roles to Shane Long and Will Smallbone and the teenager gave the ‘Saints’ the lead just two minutes into the second half following a knock down from Long. Fellow teenager Michael Obafemi was introduced from the bench on 78 minutes for the two nil victory over Championship side Huddersfield Town. James McClean was rested by Stoke City who included Nathan Collins in their starting eleven for their one nil defeat at fellow Championship side Brentford while Stephen Ward was unused on the bench. Adam Idah will deservedly grab the headlines following his hat-trick for Norwich City in their four two victory over Preston North End at Deepdale.  Alan Browne and Sean Maguire were rested by the hosts who included Adam O’Reilly on their substitute bench.
There was a 5.31pm kick-off time set for the meeting of struggling sides AFC Bournemouth and Luton Town which may saw goalkeeper Mark Travers start while Gavin Kilkenny was an unused substitute for the hosts who earned a comfortable four nil victory. James Collins was an unused substitute for the visitors. Wolverhampton Wanderers and Matt Doherty will face a replay at Manchester United after the sides  played out a scoreless draw at Molineaux while Ronan Curtis and his Portsmouth colleagues progressed to the next round with a two one victory at Fleetwood Town.

Irish in Thursday night action…02/01/2020

Sheffield United and their Irish international quartet of John Egan, Enda Stevens, David McGoldrick and Callum Robinson travelled to face runaway Premier League leaders Liverpool at Anfield on Thursday evening where they went down to a two nil defeat. The first trio all started while Robinson was an unused substitute.

Eighteen year old midfielder Jason Knight retained his starting position for Derby County who defeated Barnsley by two goals to one at Pride Park in the Championship this Thursday evening. Knight gave another assured performance, initially on the left side of midfield before switching to the right during the second half.

Irish in New Year’s day football action…01/01/2020

Premier League
The first Premier League action of 2020 was enacted at the Amex Stadium and Turf Moor where Brighton & Hove Albion played host to Chelsea and Burnley entertained Aston Villa. Aaron Connolly was a half-time substitute for the ‘Seagulls’ as they came from behind to secure a one all draw while Shane Duffy was an unused substitute.   Robbie Brady started for Burnley but was withdrawn at half-time as they suffered a two one defeat. Jeff Hendrick and Kevin Long were unused substitutes while Conor Hourihane was a 78th minutes substitute for the visitors. Shane Long and Michael Obafemi were both introduced from the Southampton bench during the second half of their one nil victory over visitors Tottenham Hotspur at St Mary’s Stadium. Matt Doherty returned to the Wolverhampton Wanderers starting eleven for their two one defeat at re-vitalised Watford while Seamus Coleman was also a starter for Everton who went down to a two one defeat by Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium. James McCarthy retained his starting position for Crystal Palace who came from behind to earn a one all draw with Norwich City at Carrow Road. Teenage striker Adan Idah made his Premier League debut for the ‘Canaries’ in the closing minutes.

Championship
Millwall, with their Irish quartet of Jayson Molumby, Alex Pearce, Shaun Williams and Aiden O’Brien, all starting, came from behind to defeat visitors Luton Town by three goals to one at the New Den. James Collins and Alan Sheehan both started for the ‘Hatters’. Stoke City, with James McClean in their starting eleven, crushed their hosts Huddersfield Town by five goals to two. Stephen Ward and Nathan Collins were unused substitutes. Blackburn Rovers and Daragh Lenihan went down to a three two defeat at Nottingham Forest while Alan Browne and Sean Maguire started for Preston North End who lost to visitors Middlesbrough by two goals to nil. Ryan Manning was an unused substitute for QPR who crushed visitors Cardiff City by six goals to one at Loftus Road.

League One
Manchester United loanee Kieran O’Hara and his Burton Albion colleagues secured a four three victory at Bolton Wanderers in League One while Southampton loanee Thomas O’Connor and his Gillingham colleagues played out a one all draw with visitors Portsmouth and Ronan Curtis. Chiedoze Ogbene started with Trevor Clarke an unused substitute for Rotherham United who defeated visitors Blackpool by two goals to one while Alan Judge and Ipswich Town played out a one all draw at leaders Wycombe Wanderers.   

Championship action on Monday night…30/12/2019

The final Championship contest of 2019 took place on Monday evening with Derby County playing host to Charlton Athletic in Pride Park Stadium. It turned out to be a very memorable night for eighteen year old Dubliner Jason Knight who scored both goals, his first in senior football, as the hosts secured a two one success despite being reduced to ten men following a red card dismissal after just seventeen minutes. Knight played his Youth football with Cabinteely and joined the ‘Rams’ three years ago. He has represented Ireland at various underage levels and is currently a member of Stephen Kenny‘s Under 21 squad.

Irish in Sunday afternoon action…29/12/2019

There was quite a volume of Irish involvement in this Sunday afternoon’s football programme across the English and Scottish Leagues.

Premier League
Fatigue was expected to be a factor for Wolverhampton Wanderers when they took on runaway Premier League leaders Liverpool at Anfield this Sunday afternoon but despite losing the contest to the only goal they were again very impressive. The visitors have a relatively small squad and seven of the side that defeated Manchester City on Friday evening started again today. Friday’s match winner Matt Doherty was one of the four rested players. There was an unusual 6pm kick-off time set for the meeting of Manchester City and visitors Sheffield United who included John Egan, Enda Stevens and Callum Robinson in their starting eleven with David McGoldrick introduced from the substitute bench for Robinson approaching the hour mark. The hosts won the contest by two goals to nil but the ‘Blades’ were again very impressive despite the defeat.

Championship
The form of Bristol City and Callum O’Dowda, who missed out today, has dipped alarmingly over the past four matches but they managed  to restore some order with a three nil defeat of struggling Luton Town and James Collins at Ashton Gate in the Championship on Sunday afternoon. Cyrus Christie retained his starting position for Fulham who scored the only goal to defeat Stoke City at Craven Cottage. The visitors have seen an upsurge in their form under new manager Michael O’Neill with James McClean and Stephen Ward instrumental to their recent successes. Despite both currently carrying knocks, they started again this afternoon. Blackburn Rovers included Daragh Lenihan in their starting eleven as they went down to a two one defeat at Huddersfield Town but Derrick Williams was absent from the matchday squad. The Millwall quartet of Alex Pearce, Jayson Molumby, Shaun Williams and Aiden O’Brien started against visitors Brentford at the New Den with O’Brien scoring the only goal after just eight minutes. Preston North End included Alan Browne and Sean Maguire in their starting eleven for their two nil Deepdale defeat by improving visitors Reading. Ryan Manning started for QPR who went down to a two one defeat by visitors Hull City at Loftus Road.

League One
There was a 1pm kick-off in League One for Southampton loanee Thomas O’Connor with his Gillingham scoring the only goal to defeat visitors Rochdale at Priestland. Kieran O’Hara started for Burton Albion who went down to a two nil defeat at Accrington Stanley while Alan Judge started for Ipswich Town who suffered a five three defeat at Lincoln City. Also on the road were Portsmouth and Ronan Curtis who went down to a three one defeat at MK Dons where Curtis scored the added time goal for ‘Pompey’.

Scottish Premiership
Jonny Hayes was unused on the Glasgow Celtic substitute bench as they went down to a two one Scottish Premiership defeat by bitter rivals Glasgow Rangers in the early kick-off at Celtic Park. While the days of Glenn Whelan at Heart of Midlothian appear to be numbered under the new manager he may well have company as Jake Mulraney, Aiden Keena, Aiden White and Colin Doyle were all absent from the matchday squad for the one all draw with visitors Aberdeen. 

Premier League on Saturday afternoon…28/12/2019

The Premier League continued on Saturday afternoon with Clubs having little more than 48 hours recuperation time following their Thursday exertions. First into action again were Brighton & Hove Albion who defeated visitors AFC Bournemouth by two goals to nil at the Amex Stadium where Shane Duffy  retained his starting position for the hosts but Aaron Connolly  was not included in the matchday squad. New Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti made several changes to his starting eleven for the visit to Newcastle United but his new charges maintained his excellent start with a two one victory.  Seamus Coleman started on the bench and was introduced to the action on 70 minutes. Thursday goalscorer Michael Obafemi and the injured Shane Long were not included in the Southampton matchday squad for the one all draw with Crystal Palace for whom James McCarthy played the full 90 minutes at St Mary’s Stadium. Nineteen year old midfielder Will Smallbnone was an unused substitute for the host ‘Saints’. Aston Villa crashed to a three nil defeat at Watford with Thursday goalscorer Conor Hourihane completing the full 90 minutes for the vanquished visitors. The 7.45pm kick-off saw Burnley go down to a two nil defeat by Manchester United at Turf Moor where Jeff Hendrick started following his one match suspension with Robbie Brady an 87th minute substitute while Kevin Long remained on the substitute bench.  

Irish in St Stephen’s Day football action…27/12/2019

Premier League
The deferred dessert on the St Stephen’s Day Premier League menu was the Friday night Molineaux meeting of Wolverhampton Wanderers and Manchester City with Matt Doherty scoring the winning goal in the final minutes as the hosts recovered a two goal deficit in a contest fraught with tension. The task was made easier following the 12th minute dismissal of the visiting City goalkeeper.

The day itself provided a starter of Tottenham Hotspur against Brighton & Hove Albion at 12.30pm. The visitors included Aaron Connolly and Shane Duffy in their starting eleven but after a fine first half performance, during which they took the lead, they failed to maintain their form in the second period and went down to a two one defeat. Duffy had a fine match in the middle of an initial back three while Connolly led the line very well during his 68 minute stint, although he did miss an excellent scoring opportunity. Later in the day, Aston Villa won a crucial relegation themed battle with fellow promoted side Norwich City with the only goal scored by 56th minute substitute Conor Hourihane just eight minutes after his introduction. Michael Obafemi started in place of the injured Shane Long for Southampton who stunned high flying Chelsea with a two nil success at Stamford Bridge where  Obafemi scored an excellent opening goal. The ‘London Derby’ meeting of Crystal Palace and West Ham United saw the hosts come from behind to record a two one success. James McCarthy was an 88th minute substitute for the hosts. Seamus Coleman returned to the starting eleven for Everton under new manager Carlo Ancelotti and had a fine match in their one nil victory over visitors Burnley who included Robbie Brady in their starting eleven with Kevin Long an 88th minute substitute. The form of the third promoted side Sheffield United has been something of a revelation so far this season but they were not at their best in this afternoon’s one all draw with Bramall Lane visitors Watford. The Irish trio of John Egan, Enda Stevens and David McGoldrick all completed the full ninety minutes while Callum Robinson was an unused substitute.

Championship
Defensive duo Daragh Lenihan and Derrick Williams were in action for Blackburn Rovers who played out a one all Championship draw with Ewood Park visitors Birmingham City. The Millwall trio of Jayson Molumby, Shaun Williams and Alex Pearce all played the full ninety minutes of their one all draw at Cardiff City while Callum O’Dowda was an 83rd minute substitute for Bristol City who went down to a three two defeat at Charlton Athletic for whom Josh Cullen remains on the injury list. James Collins scored the opening goal for Luton Town who continued their battle for survival with a three all draw against promotion chasing visitors Fulham for whom Cyrus Christie was again in the starting eleven. Stoke City included James McClean, who opened the scoring after 11 minutes, in their starting eleven alongside Stephen Ward as they secured a three two victory over visitors Sheffield Wednesday. Nathan Collins was unused on the substitute bench. Young Jason Knight was again in the starting eleven for Derby County who scored  a very late equaliser at Wigan Athletic. The 5.15pm kick-off at Elland Road saw second place Leeds United score an 88th minute equaliser to draw one each with Preston North End who included Alan Browne, who opened the scoring after 22 minutes, and Sean Maguire in their starting eleven. The 7.30pm kick-off witnessed Reading score the only goal to defeat visitors QPR for whom Ryan Manning was in action at the Madejski Stadium.

League One
Loanee goalkeeper Kieran O’Hara was in League One action for Burton Albion who defeated visitors Tranmere Rovers by four goals to two while Ipswich Town and Alan Judge played out a scoreless draw with visitors Gillingham who included Southampton loanee Thomas O’Connor in their side. Loanee goalkeeper Max O’Leary was in action for Shrewsbury Town who went down to a two one home defeat by Rotherham United for whom Chiedoze Ogbene started while Trevor Clarke was an unused substitute.