Irish Eyes Are Smiling

With Ireland fresh off the back of four straight victories it will be a long wait until our next competitive match in September. Such momentum would have been pivotal to carry into our next two crucial qualifiers that will determine our faith yet as the players take a break Irish News Review looks back at the highlights of a memorable season.

A is for Andorra. Ireland were pitted against the European minnows yet again en route to Euro 2012. 

B is for Bratislava. Ireland earned a point away to Slovakia but could have emerged with a win had Robbie Keane not missed a penalty on the stroke of half time. 

C is for Cox. West Brom star broke into Ireland team at the end of the season featuring in the final four games and scoring against both Northern Ireland and Italy. 

D is for David. Millwall goalkeeper Forde makes his debut against Italy at the age of 31, becoming the country’s oldest debutant in the post war era. 

E is for England. Possible friendly with the old enemy has been muted but as of yet no date has been arranged. 

F is for Fifty. The number of goals Robbie Keane eclipsed this season, breaking Bobby Charlton’s record in the north west corner of Europe. 

G is for Glasgow. The birthplace of James McCarthy whose international allegiance was questioned prior to him lining out in a competitive match for Ireland. 

H is for Hunger. Something Shay Given has never lost while sitting on the Man City bench all season. The Donegal native has shown no sign of decline in his performances despite Roberto Mancini`s constant refusal to pick him. 

I is for Ignorance. The FAI`s inability to reduce ticket prices has often led to a large number of empty seats at the 50,000 capacity Aviva.

 J is for John. FAI chief executive tried to appease fans by laying on trains and drink in Slovakia. 

K is for Kevin Doyle.Ireland will be hoping the Wexford native will be fit for September`s crucial qualifiers against joint Group B leaders Slovakia and Russia.

L is for Liege. Goals from Keith Andrews and Simon Cox ensured a famous 2-0 friendly victory over Italy in Belgium. 

M is for Macedonia. Back to back victories over the Macedonians leaves Ireland in a three horse tie at the top of the Euro 2012 qualifying group. 

N is for Nations Cup. Ireland swept aside Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland to win the inaugural Carling Nations Cup.

 O is for O`Dea. Ipswich star slotted in comfortably in the absence of both Richard Dunne and Sean St Ledger. 

P is for Pride. While some players have been questioned over their commitment to the cause, a new wave of talent is emerging that is hungrier than ever to wear the green shirt. 

Q is for Quality. While Ireland’s players are far from world beaters, the guidance of Trapattoni has gotten the best out of them. 

R is for Russia. The men from the Soviet Union taught the boys in green a lesson at the Aviva, a return date in September will define the group standings. 

S is for Seamus. Break out year for Everton star Seamus Coleman who has become a squad regular under Trapattoni. 

T is for Trickovski. The Macedonian star saw his penalty strike the crossbar in Skopje as Ireland earned a crucial 2-0 win. 

U is for Unbeaten. Great end of season form sees Ireland win four games in a row without conceding a goal. 

V is for Victory. To date Giovanni Trapattoni has a 46% win rate since taking over as Ireland manager in 2008.

W is for Walters. Stoke City striker pulls on the green jersey yet season ends in turmoil as he failed to show for end of season friendlies.

X is for X-Rated. Fiery Trap`s pitchside antics may not be too pleasing to parents ears. 

Y is for Yerevan. The Armenian capital where Ireland opened their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign. A Keith Fahey goal was enough to see Ireland take the three points 

Z is for Ze Hand. Thierry Henry`s cheeky handball that cost Ireland dearly hasn’t been forgotten, providing Trap with motivation to continue on until the 2014 World Cup as he has “unfinished business”.

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