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Posts Tagged ‘ Andy Reid ’

NFL Playoffs: Wild-card Round

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The regular season has now ended, and the twelve teams for the playoffs have been settled. While Denver, New England, Seattle and Carolina get a week to rest up, the other eight have to go straight into battle this weekend for the right to play one of them. Here, we examine the fixtures taking place this Saturday and Sunday, and try to predict (in a decidedly unscientific manner) who is likely to emerge, and who will be going home after a one-and-done showing. Continue reading

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NFL Playoffs: Runners And Riders

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With only two games left to play in the regular season, it seems time for a comprehensive overview of the runners and riders for the playoff berths that are still to be decided. We already have three teams who have secured some kind of playoff game for themselves in January, but this is one of the most interesting periods in the NFL season, with everyone who is still mathematically in with a shout trying to claw their way forward for a shot at the Superbowl. Continue reading

Quartet Return To First Post Trapattoni Ireland Squad

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Noel King today announced a provisional 26 man squad for Ireland’s upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers against Germany on October 11 in Cologne, and Kazakhstan on October 15 in Aviva Stadium.

The squad will be shortened ahead of the fixtures in order to facilitate injuries with both Robbie Brady and Jon Walters struggling with injury. Continue reading

Gibson Aims For Irish Return Following Trap Dismissal

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Everton star Darron Gibson is prepared to end his self-imposed Irish exile following the departure of manager Giovanni Trapattoni.

The 25-year-old Derry born midfielder made himself unavailable for his country since returning from Euro 2012 , where he didn’t feature as Ireland crashed to three straight defeats.

He has however revealed he is now available to return to the set up under a new manager , with Martin O’Neill still in pole position to replace the wily Italian. Continue reading

Communication Scandal Envelops Ireland Setup

Ireland kick off their World Cup qualifying campaign this week with a trip to Astana for a first ever meeting with Kazakhstan but preparations for the campaign have been far from rosy.

Communication problems coupled with player retirements and withdrawals have hampered the plans of Giovanni Trapattoni. The retirement of veterans Shay Given and Damien Duff have become something of a blow to Trap yet the changeover should only be cosmetic as both Keiren Westwood and James McClean are able deputies.

But it is the apparent communication problems within the camp that have Irish fans wondering whether everyone in the panel is pulling in the same direction. Since Trap took the hotseat four years ago many players have come and gone , some willingly and others forced. Four names instantly jump to mind when wondering why the wily Italian’s tenure has been somewhat blighted with miscommunication.

Darren Gibson has pulled out of the Kazakh game citing his disappointment for not featuring at Euro 2012 as the reason behind his decision. Interestingly the Derry born player took his time in making the decision, waiting a number of days after the squad was announced to state his intentions. The in-form Everton star is no doubt riled at the fact that he didn’t feature at Euro 2012 and some reports even go as far as saying he almost walked out on the team during the tournament. While that may be mere speculation, Gibson is the latest in a line of players who have become fed up with the Italian’s antics.

You have to cast your mind back to the early days of the Trap era to see the apparent communication problems that ultimately led to the end of Andy Reid’s international career. The former Milan supremo imposed a curfew upon the Ireland team, one which was broken by several players including a guitar wielding Reid. His refusal to go to bed saw Trapattoni bring a sudden end to Reid’s once promising international career, a decision that has been met with furore by players and fans alike.

Pre Euro 2012 and post Euro 2012 have thrown up two other miscommunication conundrums which show that even with an interpreter it would appear Trapattoni still fails to get his message across.

Kevin Foley was a member of the Ireland squad which earned qualification for Euro 2012. The Wolves star was initially named in Trap’s squad for the trip to Poland and Ukraine despite picking up a hamstring injury. He was promised he would be given every opportunity to prove his fitness ahead of the tournament yet on the morning of the squad announcement he was cut from the panel and replaced Paul McShane, a move that left him “betrayed” and began a self imposed exile from the Ireland set up.

West Brom star Shane Long is another to have felt the wrath of the Italian in the wake of the recent Serbia friendly. Long was originally named to start in attack but shortly beforehand he was omitted and replaced by Simon Cox. He was furious and initially it appeared Trap’s reasoning was valid, the player was legitimately injured. However Long was quick to reveal he wasn’t , telling reporters after the game that he was perfectly fit to play the full 90 minutes. He would go on to feature for his club a few days later. His omission has raised a lot of questions about the communication skills of the Irish management team. In the days that followed Trapattoni launched a stinging attack on his striker branding him “idiotic”. While the misdemeanours of all involved havn’t resulted in Long’s omission from the squad it has raised many eyebrows amongst fans and media alike.

The communication problems have been further heightened by Gibson’s withdrawal ahead of such a crucial game. Gibson has been assured that he is more than welcome back into the Ireland set up for the Germany game next month yet the Everton star’s personal exclusion may well put an end to his Ireland career as he will fall down the pecking order if he prolongs his absence.

But what fans and the media really want to know and deserve to know is what the hell is going on behind the scenes? It is evidently clear that there are problems yet many are choosing to blow them under the carpet but not Shane Long. He has stood defiant with his actions following the Serbia game and rightly so, no player should suffer the indecency of having to offer a different excuse than that of his manager. Why wasn’t Trap honest about Long’s exclusion?

How can we prepare for such key games and expect to qualify for the World Cup with such turmoil? The FAI need to intervene immediately and eradicate the friction within the panel or else they risk allowing a manager whose pockets are laden with their money ruin the hopes of a nation.

Reid Heads Blackpool Exodus

Exiled Ireland international Andy Reid is among 11 players released by Blackpool as they brace for their return to the second tier of English football.

 The former Sunderland and Spurs star who has not featured for Ireland since a bust up with manger Giovanni Trappattoni in 2007 made only five appearances as Ian Holloway`s men were relegated to the Championship. 

The 28 year old Dubliner had joined the Tangerines in January but found his chances at Bloomfield Road limited.

 Reports coming from the North West have indicated that Wigan Athletic, who narrowly avoided relegation on the final day of the season may be willing to take a punt on the Dubliner.

The Tangerines have also released Richard Kingson, Marlon Harewood, Jason Euell, David Carney, Paul Rachubka, Danny Coid, Malaury Martin, Rob Edwards, Salaheddine Sbai and Ishmel Demontagnac.

“Blackpool Football Club would like to thank all of those players departing for their efforts and wishes them all the very best for the future,” read the club’s website. 

Elsewhere, Bolton Wanderers have released former Irish international Joey O`Brien.

Irish Stars Abroad

Welcome to our first edition of Irish stars abroad. In our weekly column we will review anything and everything that happened on a match day involving any player who has links to Ireland.

It was quite an extraordinary weekend across World football, with a record of 41 goals been scored in 8 Saturday Premier League matches alone. Four Irish stars got on the scoresheet as part of that record, with some big shocks taken place and some delightful footwork from a rising star making every Irish fan smile.

Kevin Doyle scored the winning goal as Wolves became the first side to beat Manchester United in the Premier League this season. Nani had given United a third minute lead and it did look like the result was just a formality from there, with the leagues top team looking most likely to put the bottom team to the sword. However a George Elokobi goal some minutes later and Doyle`s header moments before half time ensured that Mick McCarthy`s men were back in the game. United failed to create anything in the second half and the former Ireland manager got a famous win over Sir Alex Ferguson.  

Leon Best proved to Newcastle United fans that there is life after Andy Carroll. Best scored the second goal of Newcastle`s miraculous comeback against Arsenal, moments after having a legitimate goal chalked off. The Magpies found themselves four goals down after 26 minutes but never gave up. A cracking Cheick Tiote striker three minutes from time completed the turnaround. 

James McCarthy bagged a brace as Wigan Athletic recorded a 4-3 home win over Lancashire rivals Blackburn Rovers.McCarthy showed great technical ability to fire home his second, when it seemed like the crowded defence would snare his opportunity.Keith Andrews was an unused sub for the away side.

Rory Delap played his part as Stoke City bagged to late goals to stun Sunderland.Irish international  Jon Walters came off the bench as two late Robert Huth goals sealed a 3-2 win at the Britannia.Delap`s throws wreaked havoc in the Sunderland defence,allowing John Carew to prod home the opening goal for the Potters. Both Glenn Whelan and Marc Wilson were unused subs for Tony Pulis` men.

Richard Dunne and Damien Duff were on opposite sides as Aston Villa and Fulham played out a 2-2 draw at Villa Park.

Seamus Coleman was impressive again as Everton grinded out a 5-3 home win over Blackpool. Louis Saha stole the show with four goals, with a fifth been rule out after the Donegal native had played him in. Andy Reid did not feature for the Tangerines despite his impressive mid week showing.  

Shay Given watched from the bench as a Carlos Tevez hat trick guided Man City to a resounding 3-0 win over West Brom. Ex Ireland star Stephen Reid picked up a late booking for the Baggies,while he also gave away the penalty which the Argentine duly converted.

Two Irish strikers who didn`t get on the scoresheet this weekend were  Robbie Keane and Shane Long. Keane`s West Ham went down 1-0 to Birmingham City, while Long`s Reading side suffered a similar fate against Championship leaders QPR. 

In the Championship,Cork Native Damien Delaney opened the scoring for Ipswich Town as they ran out 3-0 winners over relegation threatened Sheffield United. The Blades Irish contingent of Michael Doyle,Stephen Quinn and Mark Yeates could do nothing to aid their cause. Former Ireland stars Mark Kennedy and Colin Healy also featured for the Tractor boys.

Andy Keogh opened the scoring as Bristol City thumped Sean St Ledger`s Preston side 4-0.

Kevin Kilbane hit the fourth goal as Huddersfield Town beat Exeter City 4-1 in League One.

Elsewhere in League One , Clinton Morrison grabbed an equaliser to ensure Gary Megson`s debut as Sheffield Wednesday manager didn`t get off to a losing start. They came back from two goals down to draw against MK Dons.  

In Scotland, Jon Daly opened the scoring as last year`s cup winners Dundee United dumped Hamilton Academical out with a 3-1 victory.

Both Adam Rooney and Richie Foran recorded a brace as Inverness walloped a hapless Morton side 5-1.

No Irish stars featured in the Old Firm Derby. Both Anthony Stokes and Graham Carey were unused subs as Celtic earned a cup replay after a fiery 2-2 draw that saw both sides reduced to ten men.

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