Posts Tagged ‘ Iceland ’

Irish Dominate At UFC Dublin Fight Night


UFC made their return to Ireland tonight with Fight Night Dublin at the O2 Arena, a show that featured the return of Dublin’s own “The Notorious” Conor McGregor.

McGregor made his return to the Octagon from surgery by successfully defeating Diego Brandao with a first round technical knockout stoppage in front of a wild Dublin crowd.

Fellow Irishmen Patrick Holohan, Cathal Pendred, Neil Seery and Norman Parke also won their bouts while adopted Irishman Gunnar Nelson impressed as he emerged victorious against Zak Cummings.

But it is McGregor who will be the name on everyone’s lips as he fulfilled his promise of beating his Brazilian opponent Diego Brandao in the first round. Continue reading

Five Reasons To Watch UFC Fight Night Dublin

UFC Fight Night Dublin - Weigh-in

Looking for reasons to watch Fight Night Dublin? We’ve got five of ’em!The action is live tonight at 8pm on 3e.

1. Notorious C.M.G.
Irish featherweight Conor McGregor makes his third appearance in the Octagon after back-to-back impressive performances. McGregor, fighting in his hometown of Dublin, has built a following with his confidence and brashness but faces a stiff test in Diego Brandao, winner of three of his last four. Notorious is all but guaranteeing a knockout victory, so tune in Saturday on UFC FIGHT PASS to watch all the action.

> Watch: #AskAFighter with Conor McGregor

2. Gunnar Stay Undefeated?
Conor McGregor and Icelandic training partner Gunnar Nelson are polar opposites. Calm, collected, and relatively quiet, Nelson lets his fist and feet do the talking. Gunni, who is unbeaten in his last 13 fights, has finished two of his last three opponents and has yet to be taken down in the Octagon. Sitting at 12-0-1, the No. 13-ranked welterweight Nelson hopes to jump into the top 10 with a win over Zak Cummings at Fight Night Dublin. Continue reading

Ten Crucial Moments In European World Cup Qualifiers


With the nine automatic 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil qualification spots sealed in Europe, plus the eight contenders in the upcoming play-offs known, for many it is hard not to think how different it all could have been.

The final matchday of the European qualifying campaign for the 2014 FIFA World Cup saw group winners Bosnia-Herzegovina,England,Russia and Spain join already qualified Belgium,Italy,Germany,Netherlands and Switzerland on the plane to Brazil. Continue reading

Irish Sides Learn European Fate

el-trophyUEFA revealed the draw for the First Qualifying Round and Second Qualifying Round of both the Champions League and Europa League yesterday morning. Fans from across the globe, including those within in the League of Ireland tuned in to see where they would follow their team in a foreign country for the first time this year.

St.Patrick’s Athletic never seem to get the luck they need within the draws. Pats last couple of European draws has featured trips to Bosnia, Denmark, Germany, Iceland, Kazakhstan, Malta, Romania, Russia, Sweden and Ukraine. No doubt their was an air of grievance around Richmond Park yesterday when the draw pitted them against Lithuanian side Zalgiris Vilnius, with a potential second round trip to Armenia to face FC Pyunik or Macedonia to face FK Teteks on the cards should they progress. . Continue reading

LOI V Bundesliga: A Steep Learning Curve

The League of Ireland has once again fallen victim to the underrated force of the Bundesliga after Hannover 96 all but ended St Patricks Athletic’s European dream after securing a three nil away win in Dublin.

The first leg tie saw goals from Leon Andreasen, Christian Pander and Didier Ya Konan break Saints hearts and all but end the tie as the contest. The Saints travel to Germany on Thursday for the second leg which is nothing but a formality but it could have been so different had Liam Buckley’s men claimed a well deserved goal.

The Inchicore side will travel to Hannover with pride at stake and will bow out of Europe with their heads held high after a great Europa League run saw them knock out IBV of Iceland and Siroki Brijeg of Bosnia before coming up against the might of the Germans, something they weren’t phased by.

Indeed it’s not the first time Ireland’s most consistent European club has felt the gulf in quality between the League of Ireland and the Bundesliga, a league which is arguably the toughest in the world. Hertha Berlin knocked Pats out of the Europa League in 2008 despite the Saints claiming a credible nil all draw at the RDS, which could have easily swung in the Saints favour.

Fast forward to 2012 and Die Roten proved a more brute force than their Bundesliga rivals. Hannover haven’t had any great European history but in recent years they have shown their form and prowess. The 2010/11 season saw an amazing fourth place finish for the men from Lower Saxony and ensured they ended their 19th year absence from competing on the European stage. Few could have predicted that finish for Mirko Slomka’s side yet the best was yet to come from the German side, who marched all the way to the Europa League quarter finals only to lose out to eventual winners Atletico Madrid.

This season offers another venture in the Europa League for Slomka’s side, who beat Pats 3-0 without really hitting their top gear. While 3-0 was incredibly flattering to the Germans, Pats deserve tremendous credible for their valiant second half showing. The League of Ireland is a world away from the Bundesliga both on and off the pitch but the determination and heart of St Patricks Athletic has shown that if lady luck was on their side it would have been a different story. In the end the clinical finishing of Hannover killed off the tie, although Brendan Clarke should have done better to save Pander’s free kick while there was a suspicion of offside about Ya Konan’s finish.

St Patricks Athletic have long been regarded as one of Ireland’s top clubs and their consistency on the European stage is far greater than any other club despite Shamrock Rovers tremendous feat of reaching the Europa League group stages last year.

Pats have an incredible home record in the Europa League but when they reach the crunch stage the very fact that they have to move their home tie from Richmond Park seems to be something of a mental hindrance. The Saints have enjoyed many great nights in Inchicore and have saw off some good sides such as Elfsborg, Krylya Sovetov and Siroki Brijeg. Such victories have brought the might of clubs such as Hertha Berlin, Steaua Bucharest, Karpaty Lviv and Hannover 96 to Dublin. European football is a tremendous learning curve and a whole different game to the domestic league.

If Pats can learn anything from their illustrious opponents of which Hannover are no doubt the finest then we may well see Ireland’s European club crack the Europa League year after year.

But until then Saints fans must remain content in the knowledge that fantastic European nights come at the expense of domestic success, as has been proven year upon year.

Pats Ready For Hannover Battle

St Patricks Athletic will look to continue their Europa League journey tonight when they square off against Bundesliga giants Hannover 96 at Tallaght Stadium (Kick off 7.45pm).

Tonight’s high profile tie with the Bundesliga giants is the reward for Pats following their extra time victories over both ÍBV Vestmannaeyjar and Široki Brijeg – leaving the Saints as the League of Ireland’s sole representative left in European competition.

It is the second successive season that Pats have reached this stage, having been knocked out by Karpaty Lviv last season.

Hannover remain in the middle of their pre-season preparations ahead of the beginning of the 2012/13 Bundesliga season on August 23rd when they open up their campaign with a home tie with FC Schalke 04. They come to Dublin with an air of confidence and few can blame them as they are the clear favourites, however such is the nature of football that the favourites tag can often be seen as a hindrance.

Pats won’t fear their illustrious opponents and have tasted the strength of the Bundesliga in recent years. 2008 saw the Saints square off against Hertha Berlin, a tie they were rather unlucky in. The Saints lost 2-0 in the first leg but achieved a credible nil all draw in the return leg in Dublin, a game they easily could have won.

Speaking to, Saints’ manager Liam Buckley stated that while his side were under no illusions of the calibre of Hannover 96 and the huge challenge they would pose, it was one that everyone at the club were relishing and that his side would concentrate on their own performance rather than worrying about the opposition.

“We have to make sure we play our way. When we get the ball, we’ve got to be even more patient in terms of keeping possession – our supporters have been great in understanding that and supporting us this season.”

“We’ve a tough game Thursday night, but we’ll rely on what we’ve been working on for the past few months, and if we retain the ball, they’re not going to score. So we cannot afford to give the ball away cheaply which we have done at times this season – if we can avoid doing that, we’ll give ourselves a chance.”

Buckley reported that the Saints will be without the services of Stephen O’Flynn after breaking a rib, the striker is expected to be out for up to a month. Dean Kelly is also on the casualty list with a groin injury, while Mark Rossiter is a long term absentee with a knee injury.

Buckley however is hoping to have new signing Vinny Faherty registered in time for tomorrow night’s clash.

LOI Preview:Dundalk Seek To Rise Above Turmoil,Bohs Look To Avenge European Mauling

The League of Ireland resumes tonight, one night after a mixed night for Irish sides in Europe. St Patricks Athletic saw off the challenge of IBV on the away goals rule to advance but Bohemians were trounced 5-1 by Icelandic second division side Thor Akureyri. The Supersaints will now face a trip to Bosnia to face NK Siroki Brijeg after Stephen O’Flynn’s goal in a 2-1 defeat put them through. As for Bohs they will return home and seek to change their fortunes in the league while hoping to put this European nightmare behind them.
Derry City –v- Sligo Rovers                      7:05
Fifth placed Derry City host league leaders Sligo Rovers in what will be a hard fought game at the Brandywell Stadium.
A Stephen McLaughlin goal was enough to give Derry City all three points against bottom side UCD at the UCD Bowl. Candystripes boss Declan Devine will know his side will need to up their game as they face their toughest opposition so far this season when they host Ian Baraclough’s side.
Sligo had to come from behind to earn a 1-1 home draw with Bray Wanderers, thanks to a 63rd minute Alan Keane goal on their last outing. Baraclough and his side will know that a much needed improvement in performance will be expected if they are to keep title rivals St Patricks Athletic and Drogheda United at bay.
Prediction: Away win
Bray Wanderers –v- Shelbourne                 7:45
After an unlikely draw last week against Sligo Rovers, Bray Wanderers will look to add to that hard fought point as they take on Shelbourne at Carlisle Grounds.
Jason Byrne delivered for Bray Wanderers again last week as he scored the goal that helped give Bray an unlikely away point against the league leaders. The Seagulls will be hoping the veteran forward continues his fine goal scoring form as they take on Shelbourne. Pat Devlin will be hoping his defence can live up to the bill following the departure of 17 year old prospect Pierce Sweeney to Premier League side Reading.
Shelbourne will be tough opposition thanks to a 4-0 battering at home of second from bottom Dundalk, goals coming from Kevin Dawson, an own goal from Ben McLaughlin and a brace from Philip Gorman. Shelbourne will be looking to add to those three points as they continue their climb up the table.
Prediction: Away win
Dundalk –v- Shamrock Rovers                  7:45
Dundalk have been in the news as of late for financial reasons, but attention turns back to the pitch when the lilywhites take on a Shamrock Rovers side coming of the back of a hard fought draw with St Patricks Athletic.
Dundalk needs a big win this week after being on the wrong side of a 4-0 score line against Shelbourne last week. Despite the financial problems, caretaker manager Darius Kierans and his players will be determined to get a result and will hope to capitalize on Shamrock Rovers inconsistent form this season. Whether Kierans can ignite the side to get a result only one day after the departure of manager Sean McCaffrey will prove an incredibly difficult challenge.
After a number of poor results in recent times, the pressure was really on Shamrock Rovers when they took on St Patricks Athletic last week. Despite taking the lead thanks to a Craig Sives goal the succumbed to a 90th minute equaliser. Manager Stephen Kenny will have been happy with the performance and will expect all three points this week.
Prediction: Away win
Bohemian FC –v- UCD              (Sunday)                   3:00
Bohemians will be expecting all three points as they host bottom placed UCD at Dalymount Park on Sunday. But have The Students got a surprise up their sleeve.
Bohemians have had an indifferent season in the Airtricity league this year. Currently sitting in eight place with 19 points Bohs have had a difficult time of it post Pat Fenlon. A 90th minute penalty from Keith Ward gave Bohs a share of the spoils last week and Aaron Callaghan will be expecting all three points against UCD.
UCD are not enjoying life in the Airtricity League. They sit rock bottom on 10 points and after a losing 1-0 at home against Derry City, the students will be questioning whether they can get out of this position. They have to try and their first task is to get a result against Bohs at Dalymount Park.
Prediction: Home win
St Patrick’s Athletic –v- Drogheda United  (Sunday) 3:00
The big game of the weekend sees second against third as St Patrick’s Athletic host Drogheda United at Richmond Park.
St Pat’s winning run ended at two, but after going down 1-0 against Shamrock Rovers and then coming back with a 90th minute Patrick Flynn equaliser will feel like a victory. That result along with Sligo Rovers draw with Bray Wanderers would suggest that Pats are in for a real shout for the league. Win against Drogheda United and it would be hard to bet against them.
Last week was a good week for Drogheda United. Despite not playing they managed to gain two points over Shamrock Rovers, St Patrick’s Athletic and Sligo Rovers. A win here will see them leapfrog Pat’s into second place, loose and they slip five points behind, so it is a must win game. Mick Cooke and his men will fancy their chances and given their form this season it will be hard to write them off.
Prediction: Draw