The Championship continued 12.30pm on Saturday afternoon with Cardiff City (Anthony Pilkington – late substitute and goalscorer) crushing visitors Sunderland (Johm O’Shea, Marc Wilson) with four second half goals. The Den hosted the one all draw between Millwall (Aiden O’Brien – who scored) and Preston North End (Greg Cunningham, Alan Browne, Daryl Horgane). Everton loanee Harry Charsley started for Bolton Wanderers in their one nil defeat at Brentford while the 5.30pm kick-off featured Nottingham Forest who lost to the only goal, scored by Scott Hogan, at home to Aston Villa. Conor Hourihane and Glenn Whelan also started for Villa with the veteren Dubliner withdrawn through injury at half-time.
Bramall Lane hosted the steel city ‘Derby’ clash of Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday which ended in a scoreless draw this Friday evening. The ‘Blades’ included Enda Stevens in their starting eleven while the visiting ‘Owls’ were still without goalkeeper Keiren Westwood following his hip injury of four weeks ago.
Underage and Domestic News Roundup
Our Under 21 side will continue their 2019 European Championship Qualifying campaign on the 27th March 2018 when Azerbaijan will be the visitors to Tallaght Stadium. There is then a lengthy break before the September 2018 double header away to Kosova on Friday the 7th September and home to Germany on Tuesday the 11th September. We will complete our qualifying campaign with an away double header the following month, travelling to Israel on Thursday the 11th October followed by a visit to Germany on Tuesday the 16th October 2018.
The draw for the Elite Stage of the 2018 European Championship took place at UEFA Headquarters in Nyon on the morning of Wednesday the 6th December 2017 and saw Ireland drawn in Group Five with Portugal, Kosova and Slovakia who will be our opening opponents on the 21st March 2018. We will then face Kosova on the 24th March 2018 and complete the Group against mini-tournament hosts Portugal on the 27th March 2018. The Group winners will progress to the Finals in July 2018 which will be hosted by Finland.
In preparation for the Elite Competition our squad will travel to Spain where they will take on Romania in a double header scheduled for Tuesday the 13th and Friday the 16th February 2018.
The draw for the Qualifying Round of the 2019 Championship was also made and we will host Group Ten from the 10th to the 16th October 2018 with Holland, Bosnia & Herzegovina and the Faroe Islands providing the opposition.
Our U18 non-competitive side will host Wales in two friendly encounters on Tuesday the 20th and Thursday the 22nd February with a second double header against Romania set for Sunday the 25th and Tuesday the 27th March 2018.
The draw for the Elite Stage of the 2018 European Championship also took place at UEFA Headquarters in Nyon on the morning of Wednesday the 6th December 2017 and we will contest Group Three with Poland, Georgia and FYR Macedonia who will be our opening opponents on the 21st March 2018. We will then face Georgia on the 24th March 2018 before completing the Group against the mini-tournament hosts Poland on the 27th March 2018. The Group winners and runners-up will contest the Finals hosted by England between the 4th and 20th May 2018.
The draw for the Qualifying Round of the 2019 Championship also took place but we were not involved as we will host the Championship Finals in May 2019 and qualify automatically.
Our senior women will travel to face Portugal in a friendly double header set for the 18th and 21st January 2018 before Slovakia and Holland provide the opposition in two home World Cup qualifiers set for the 6th and 10th April 2018 in Tallaght Stadium.
The draw for the Elite Stage of the 2018 European Championship sees Ireland drawn in Group Four alongside Austria, Spain and Turkey. We will host the mini-tournament from the 2nd to the 8th April 2018.
The draw for the preliminary stage of the 2019 Championship has also been made and we will contest Group Eight with the Faroe Island, Ukraine and mini-tournament hosts Lithuania from the 2nd to the 8th October 2018.
The draw for the Elite Stage of the 2018 European Championship sees Ireland drawn in Group Seven alongside Azerbaijan, Iceland and Germany, who will host the mini-tournament from the 22nd to the 28th March 2018. We will meet Iceland on Thursday the 22nd followed by Azerbaijan on Sunday the 25th and hosts Germany on Wenesday the 28th.
The draw for the preliminary stage of the 2019 Championship has also been made and we will contest Group Seven with Albania, Wales and mini-tournament hosts Serbia from the 22nd to the 28th October 2018.
Our Schools International side will kick-off their Centenary Shield challenge when they travel to face Wales on Thursday the 15th February 2018. They will then travel to meet England on Friday the 16th March before hosting Northern Ireland on Thursday the 29th March 2018. The final contest at home to Scotland is set for Thursday the 12th April 2018.
FAI Presidents Cup
The FAI Presidents Cup will again spearhead the 2018 domestic season and will take place in Oriel Park at 3pm on Sunday the 11th February 2018 between double winners Cork City and dual runners-up Dundalk.
FAI Airtricity League
The 2018 Airtricity League season is set to kick-off on Friday the 16th February 2018 with defending champions Cork City travelling to meet St Patrick’s Athletic while dual runners-up Dundalk play host to Bray Wanderers. Dublin rivals Bohemian and Shamrock Rovers meet in Dalymount Park while newly promoted Waterford entertain Derry City at the RSC. The opening match series will be completed with the Saturday evening meeting of Sligo Rovers and Limerick in the Showgrounds.
Ireland U21 stars Josh Cullen and Declan Rice were both in FA Cup action for West Ham United who were held to a scoreless draw at League One side Shrewsbury Town this afternoon. Another of our U21 players Conor Shaughnessy was in action for Leeds United who suffered a shock two one defeat at Newport County who had Padraig Amond in their starting eleven while Mark O’Brien was an added time substitute.
North East rivals Middlesbrough and Sunderland locked horns in the third round of the FA Cup at the Riverside Stadium early this afternoon, with the hosts emerging victorious by two goals to nil. Darren Randolph started with Cyrus Christie playing just the four minutes of added time while John O’Shea and Marc Wilson completed ninety minutes for the ‘Makems’. Aston Villa included Conor Hourihane in their starting eleven with Jake Doyle-Hayes on the substitute bench for their shock three one defeat by visitors Peterborough United who had Chris Forrester in their starting eleven with Conor O’Malley on the bench. Ipswich Town included new signing Aaron Drinan on the bench with David McGoldrick starting for their one nil home defeat by Sheffield United who had Samir Carruthers in their starting eleven with Enda Stevens on the bench. Manchester City defeated Burnley, who had Jeff Hendrick and Kevin Long in their starting eleven, by four goals to one, with Jon Walters a late substitute for the ‘Clarets’. Preston North End included Greg Cunningham, Alan Browne and Daryl Horgan in their starting eleven with Andy Boyle a late introduction from the bench as they crushed their hosts Wycombe Wanderers by five goals to one. Browne with two and Horgan were among the scorers.
James McCarthy completed eighty six minutes for Everton who went down to a two one defeat against local rivals Liverpool in the third round of the FA Cup at Anfield this Friday evening. Also in cup action were Derby County duo Richard Keogh and Alex Pearce whose side went down to a two nil defeat by Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Having both been in action on Tuesday evening, it is likely that Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United were less than delighted to have to face each other in the Premier League at Wembley Stadium this Thursday evening. Young Declan Rice, who saw less than twenty minutes of substitute action against West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday, was in the starting eleven as the sides played out a one all draw.