Posts Tagged ‘ Finland ’

Sochi 2014: 10 Facts About The Most Expensive Winter Olympics Ever


The Winter Olympic Games are set to unfold in the Russian beach resort town of Sochi , which has been plagued by controversy right from the start.

When organizers struck down a request by NGO Pride House to set up shop in Sochi, Russia’s policies on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights came under close scrutiny. Then there were widespread allegations over corruption in the provisions of services and facilities. Critics accused Russian president Vladimir Putin of cronyism in awarding contracts and mismanagement of funds. Continue reading

Symth Eyes Victory In Slovenia

2012 Algarve Cup - Algarve Women's Football Cup: Team Portraits and InterviewsVersatile midfielder Shannon Smyth wants the Republic of Ireland Women’s National Team to finish 2013 with a win when they face Slovenia in their FIFA Women’s World Cup Group 1 qualifier in Velenje tomorrow at 4pm (Irish time).

Sue Ronan’s side have lost just once in seven games this year after wins over Northern Ireland, South Africa and Slovakia and draws against South Korea, Austria and Croatia. The only defeat was a 0-1 loss to Finland in the play-off for seventh and eighth place at the 12-team Cyprus Cup in March. Continue reading

Rovers And Pats Busy As LOI Transfer Window Gets Into Full Swing

Rover and Out: Killian Brennan

The League of Ireland transfer season is in full swing as teams try to snap up the best available talent ahead of next March. For many teams the emphasis is on securing much of their current squad but for the others it’s about attracting the league’s finest.

Already a number of significant deals have took place, with Shamrock Rovers and St Patrick’s Athletic among the most active thus far.

Shamrock Rovers have added PFAI player of the year Mark Quigley and fellow nominee Jason McGuinness from league champions Sligo Rovers. Sean O’Connor has moved from Pats to Rovers ensuring new manager Trevor Croly now possesses all four PFAI nominees within his squad. James Chambers has also followed Croly and O’Connor in making the move from Pats to Rovers.

The Hoops have also re-signed Shane Robinson, who returns to the league following a stint in Finland with Haka. Shane McFaul has also returned from Scandinavia with his ex Haka teammate, opting to join Pats instead. Scottish duo Gary Twigg and Craig Sives have left Rovers after enjoying three successful years with the club.

Pats have been busy thus far, confirming the signatures of Killian Brennan, Sean Gannon (Both Rovers) and Conan Byrne (Shelbourne). The Saints have also re-signed eight players from last year, with potent goal poacher Christy Fagan among them. Liam Buckley will be delighted that a number of players have spurned the opportunity to jump ship with Croly. Interestingly enough the Saints have yet to sign a goalkeeper despite having both Brendan Clarke and Barry Murphy, two of the league’s finest on their books last term.

Last season’s surprise package Drogheda United have been quick to bolster their ranks by securing the signing of UCD duo Graham Rusk and Paul O’Conor. The Drogs have also secured the services of Gary O’Neill from Rovers while David Cassidy joins from Shelbourne.

It’s been fairly quiet in the North West as champions Sligo have yet to announce any new signings although they have re-signed some key players from 2012. They will be rocked by the departure of both Quigley and McGuinness to Rovers.

Derry City have only added Paddy Kavanagh (Shelbourne) to their ranks so far but Declan Devine will be buoyed by the fact he will retain much of his FAI Cup winning squad next term.

Cork City have secured the services of forgotten man Daryl Kavanagh (Shamrock Rovers) while first division joint top scorer Danny Furlong has joined from Wexford Youths.

Bohemians, Bray Wanderers, Dundalk, Shelbourne and UCD have yet to announce any new signings but have tied down some key players from last term.

Bohs will find it difficult to replace Kevin Feely who has joined Championship side Charlton Athletic after impressing on trial.

New boys Limerick have likewise yet to announce any new signings as they prioritise filling the managerial void left by the departed Pat Scully.

We have yet to hit December but already a number of clubs have been busy however such is the market a large number of players still remain without a club and are currently training at the PFAI camp.

And who knows what may occur when the English transfer window opens in January as some contracted players may well find themselves following in the footsteps of Keith Fahey, Enda Stevens and co.

Irish Troops Reviewed Ahead Of Lebanon Mission

Three hundred Irish soldiers, including eight fathers and sons, are to be deployed to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) next month. Minister of State for the Department of Defence, Paul Kehoe, Chief of Staff for the Defence Forces, Lieutenant-General Sean McCann, and Councillor Jim Henson reviewed the troops today in Athlone.

The review was the final phase of the battalion’s training as they get ready for their deployment next month.

At the review the Minister spoke of the proud tradition of Irish peacekeeping in the area. “I am again reminded of the great pride we can take in all that the Defence Forces have done and continue to do as peacekeepers throughout the world”.

Irish troops have been carrying out peacekeeping operations in the Middle East since 1958 and began working as part of UNIFIL in 1978. They are currently operating under the UN resolution which aims to monitor the end of hostilities between Israel and Lebanon, assist the Lebanese government in securing its borders, and ensure humanitarian access to the civilian population.

“Participation in missions such as UNIFIL is a continuation of our proud tradition of supporting the United Nations in the cause of peace and security”, Mr Kehoe said.

The regiment, which is made up of 300 Irish troops and 177 Finnish troops, is set to depart for the Middle Eastern country on the 6th and 15th of November. They will be taking over from the 106th Infantry Battalion which had been serving in the destabilised region with UNIFIL since May.

The minister acknowledged the challenges the men and women of the 107th infantry will face, alluding to the recent upheaval in the country and in the surrounding areas.

“We have all witnessed on our television screens just how volatile the Lebanon and the Middle East are at the moment. Performing your duties overseas can require considerable sacrifices. I know the dangers you will face and the hardships you will be expected to endure as part of your service overseas”.

Last week a Lebanese intelligence official, Brigadier General Wissam Al-Hassan, was killed when a car bomb went off in a residential area of Beirut.

The IrishFinn battalion, as it is known, will occupy a post just south of the village of At Tiri, chosen for its visibility of the surrounding areas and proximity to the smaller Irish UN posts.

A spokesperson for the Irish Defence Forces outlined the risks in deploying troops into the area – “There are real risks in operating in an area where there has been recent conflict. The area is a volatile environment and there is still debris, such as mines, left from previous wars. Troops heading to the Middle East have to be mindful of the dangers which can arise at any moment.”

When asked about how the events in Syria were affecting peacekeeping in the area they said “day to day operations have not been affected yet but geographically we are very close to the conflict zone so we have to be wary of that.”

Ronald McDonald Facing Execution

Just when you think the world couldn`t get any more wackier than it is, a Finnish organisation has threatened to kill Ronald McDonald, after kidnapping a statue of him.

The organisation, calling themselves the Food Liberation Army, stole the statue from a McDonalds outlet on January 31st. They have threatened to execute the figure by February 11th.

PFAI Squad Finish Third

Liam Kelly`s PFAI squad finished third in a FIFPro Tournament today in Norway as they battled to earn contracts with professional clubs in Europe.

Norway, Sweden and Finland were the other countries taking part in the competition.

Ireland bowed out in the semi finals after a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Finland, with Sean Kelly grabbing the only Irish goal from the penalty spot.

Ireland sealed third spot with a one nil win over Sweden when ex St Patricks Athletic and Shamrock Rovers striker Mark Leech found the net.

The players were hoping to impress scouts and managers that were attending the event in Oslo and it remains to be seen if any have done enough to win deals with clubs. Brian Shelley, the man at the centre of the Bohemians controversy starred for the Irish side at right back with other notable performers including Eamon Zayed and Stuart Byrne. Shelley has been touted for a move to Australia while Zayed appears set for a move to his grandfather`s homeland of Libya