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Posts Tagged ‘ Karl Sheppard ’

Rebel Army Secure Sheppard Signing

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Cork City FC have announced the signing of Karl Sheppard.

The 23 year old joins the club having spent the last number of years at Reading and Shamrock Rovers.

Speaking after signing with the club, the striker said: “I am delighted to join the club. I spoke to the gaffer, he’s shown me around the club and, once I spoke to him, there was no second thought in my mind that I knew I wanted to come here.”

“I saw how great the fans were last year; it is a place I want to come to, I want to do well and I want to win the league. The club is moving in the right direction and I am happy to be a part of it.” Continue reading

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LOI: Win Or Bust For Dundalk

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After a controversial week of cup football , Dundalk resume their title charge , knowing that realistically anything other than three victories from their final three games will see them surrender the league title to St Patrick’s Athletic , who are currently six points ahead and possess a goal difference of +17.

At the bot tom of the table , Bray Wanderers go in search of a first league win since June , one that would see them come off the bottom of the table and leapfrog Shelbourne into the relegation playoff spot. Continue reading

Robinson Hopes To End Season With Special Cup Win

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Shamrock Rovers haven’t had the best of seasons but Hoops midfielder Shane Robinson has vowed to finish the season by lifting the FAI Cup.

The Waterford native was in buoyant mood after a brace from Karl Sheppard and a Mark Quigley goal saw the Hoops beat Bray Wanderers 3-0 in the league on Monday evening.

Rovers now shift their focus to Sunday’s televised FAI Cup semi final clash with Sligo Rovers. Continue reading

Murphy Enjoying Rovers Return As Hoops Ready For Title Tilt

muFresh from drawing nil all with his former employers on Tuesday night, Shamrock Rovers goalkeeper Barry Murphy revealed how he is enjoying his return to Tallaght.

Murphy will have been familiar with the coaching of now manager Trevor Croly as they both were on the St.Patrick’s Athletic side that finished runner up in the 2012 FAI Ford Cup final.

“I think we’re playing good football”, said Murphy, “it took time for us to gel as a squad but things are turning around now and we find ourselves on a unbeaten run and long may it continue.”

Shamrock Rovers may have drawn eight games from the opening thirteen fixtures but they haven’t lost in four games, if you are counting the Setanta Cup final win over Mick Cooke’s Drogheda United. Continue reading

Boys In Green Look To Set Premier League Alight

The Premier League kicks off next weekend and Irish fans will have a keen eye on proceedings as the World Cup qualifiers loom. Following a poor Euro 2012 campaign, Irish fans will be eager to see the Boys In Green performing well for their clubs before Kazakhstan and Germany come calling.

Something that has become a recent trend is the number of Irish stars who are dropping down a level and this trend has certainly been prevalent this summer. Both Keith Andrews and Simon Cox have swapped West Brom for The Championship while Darren O’Dea scored a surprising move to Major League Soccer side Toronto FC. Of course with Wolves been relegated that further reduces the number of Irish players plying their trade in the top flight. Kevin Doyle, Stephen Ward, Stephen Hunt and Kevin Foley all look set to remain at Molineux and help the club bounce back to the Premier League at the first attempt. Sean St Ledger, Keith Fahey, David Forde and Paddy Kenny will also be prominent features in the Championship this term while the likes of Robbie Keane and Aiden McGeady are still plying their trade outside the British Isles.

But what about those Irish players remaining in the Premier League?

Everton will be hoping to qualify for Europe this term and will be buoyed by the fact that they have retained the services of long serving manager David Moyes, who spurned the advances of Spurs after Harry Redknapp was dismissed from White Hart Lane. Moyes has added smartly to his squad given his limited resources with both Stephen Pienaar and Steven Naismith joining The Toffees. Much is expected of the free scoring Nikica Jelavic but this hardworking Everton outfit will be largely reliant on the skill and tenacity of Seamus Coleman combined with the graft and experience of Darren Gibson, who seems rejuvenated having left Manchester United last January. Shane Duffy will be hoping to establish himself in The Toffees defence following some superb displays last term.

Robbie Brady will be hoping to break into the senior international set up quite soon. The Manchester United player has enjoyed a solid pre season and Alex Ferguson sees him as an adequate competitor for Patrice Evra’s full back position. With Evra ageing, Brady’s time looks set to be on the horizon although few would have expected the winger to convert to a full back following his tremendous displays on loan at Hull City last season

James McClean will be hoping to maintain his sensational start to life in the Premier League with Sunderland. Martin O’Neill will have his first full season at the Stadium of Light and despite the lack of transfer activity on Wearside you can expect Sunderland to push for a top ten finish while enjoying a solid cup run. John O’Shea will continue to hold up the rearguard while Keiren Westwood looks resigned to a number two role yet again. David Meyler will be hoping to have an injury free season and catch the eye of Giovanni Trapattoni in the process.

Hope springs eternal at Villa Park as the new season ushers in the era of Paul Lambert as Aston Villa boss. The club have overhauled their managerial structure and have rid of some players who simply weren’t up to scratch. There is still a strong Irish contingent at Villa Park though and it remains to be seen whether Shay Given and Richard Dunne will pack in international football in order to further their club careers. Ciaran Clark will be hoping for another solid season while under 21 star Samir Carruthers may well break into the first team following his substitute appearances last term. Stephen Ireland will be looking to re-establish himself among the Premiership elite and could be a key player for Lambert who will be aiming for a top eight finish and perhaps a league cup win. Keep an eye out for Enda Stevens, Graham Burke and Derrick Williams, three upcoming Irish stars who may well burst onto the scene this year.

Fulham are another side hoping to crack the top eight this term following a ninth place finish last season under the guidance of Martin Jol. The Dutchman has done well to retain the services of Clint Dempsey and Moussa Dembele thus far as both players have courted interest from many clubs. Damien Duff and Stephen Kelly will be hoping to pick themselves up following Euro 2012. Duff will be looking to recover his form of old while Kelly, who recently signed a new contract, will be hoping to fend off new signing Sascha Riether to make the right back spot his own.

West Brom will do well to build on their tenth place finish from last term. Steve Clarke has taken over at the helm and opted to show Andrews and Cox the door. Steven Reid and Shane Long both remain at The Hawthorns and the latter will face increased competition for a starting berth this term following the arrivals of Markus Rosenberg and Romelu Lukaku.

Jon Walters will be hoping to set the Premier League alight this term following his appearances at Euro 2012. The striker will be hoping he can find the golden touch to fire The Potters to a better finish than last year. Glenn Whelan, Marc Wilson and Rory Delap all remain at the Britannia and will be key players as Tony Pulis’ side seek to build on a 14th place finish.

Wigan Athletic will be looking to avoid the drop again this season and will be delighted that manager Roberto Martinez has stayed with them. Martinez masterminded their terrific end of season form last year which saw solid wins over the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United. With limited resources he will do well to repeat that feat. There will be a heavy reliance on James McCarthy, who was a key player last term and was forced to miss Euro 2012 due to his father’s illness. Conor Sammon is the only other Irish player at the DW Stadium but for all his apparent strength goals have been hard to come by for the ex League of Ireland star and he will need a big change if he plans on cracking Trap’s plans.

QPR have enjoyed a great summer with their new found wealth enabling them to buy talented stars such as Park Ji Sung and David Hoilett. It’s been all change at Loftus Road, particularly in the goalkeeper ranks where Paddy Kenny has departed for Leeds United. Brian Murphy remains with QPR as a capable deputy to new number one Robert Green. Mark Hughes side shouldn’t have to worry about having another relegation battle this season.

Norwich City will be hoping second season syndrome doesn’t strike this term. It’s been all change at Carrow Road with ex Ireland international Chris Hughton replacing Lambert in the dugout. Hughton will do well to keep the Canaries up and will be looking to Wes Hoolahan and Anthony Pilkington as key players in doing so. Both players excelled last term with Hoolahan the most impressive. The former Shelbourne star has been unlucky this past week as he was forced to withdraw from Ireland’s friendly with Serbia due to injury. Nonetheless, he will be buoyed by the fact that he has finally caught the eye of Trapattoni. Marc Tierney may well earn an Ireland call up in the near future and the full back is one worth watching.

Premier League newcomers Reading will be aiming for top flight survival this term but under the guidance of Irishman Brian McDermott many expect that to be a formality. Promoted last season as champions, this Reading side features a host of Irish players. Following an impressive season last year Ian Harte was widely tipped for a shock return to the Ireland set up for Euro 2012. While that never happened it won’t discourage the ex Leeds United star who will be hoping to show he still possesses the quality to compete in the top flight. Noel Hunt will be hoping to blaze a goal trail which will earn him a return to the Ireland side while Jay Tabb is another Irish star involved with the first team. Pierce Sweeney, recently signed from League of Ireland side Bray Wanderers, may feature this term while ex Shamrock Rovers ace Karl Sheppard has been loaned to Accrington Stanley.

Playoff winners West Ham United have returned to the Premier League and will have solid ambitions which won’t feature a relegation battle. Sam Allardyce has added some fine talent to his squad and has made Irish keeper Stephen Henderson permanent, following a loan spell from Portsmouth last season. Joey O’Brien is the only other Irish player at Upton Park and he will be hoping for a standout season having been called up to the Ireland squad for the upcoming Serbia game. The three times capped star hasn’t pulled on the green jersey in over four years and will be hoping he can re-establish himself within the Irish setup. The 26 year old certainly has time on his side and time will tell if he can live up to the hype that was associated with him during his days with Bolton Wanderers.

With the World Cup qualifiers fast approaching and Trapattoni open to shuffling his pack, the time is ripe for a new star to emerge and stake his claim for a starting place.

League of Ireland Preview

The League of Ireland begins tonight with anxious fans awaiting what will hopefully be a great season both on and off the pitch.

 Recent matters such as the demise of Sporting Fingal and other licencing issues have soured some people`s expectations but now normal order is set to resume as the 10 teams get set to battle once again. 

Shamrock Rovers are clear favourites to regain their crown and there is no reason to see why they can`t. The Hoops have brought in some of the best players in the league with the likes of Karl Sheppard, Ronan Finn, Ken Oman, Ciaran Kilduff, Gary McCabe and Gary O`Neill all moving to Tallaght. Michael O`Neill has also bolstered his ranks with the addition of exciting prospect Conor McCormack, formerly of Triestina in Italy.   

 The Hoops will still be smarting after last season`s FAI Cup final defeat to Sligo Rovers. It is the Bit O`Red who like the main challengers to the Hoops title ambitions. Paul Cook has worked his magic in the North West for many seasons now and the Merseysider is well aware that the club must transform their domestic cup success into the League. 

Sligo started off slowly last season but a tremendous push towards the end saw them prosper and the threat they pose cannot be underestimated. Sligo have added tremendous strength to their squad for the forthcoming season with Brendan Clarke, Aaron Greene and Jason McGuinness  all signing on at the Showgrounds. However it is the capture of former favourite Raffaele Cretaro that has many Sligo fans bursting with excitement.

 Pats and Dundalk seem the most likely to challenge The Hoops and Sligo, all though whether they can last the distance or not is the key question. Pats burst into life last season as they went unbeaten in their first six games. The Inchicore faithful believed that it could be their year under the guidance of Pete Mahon however they fell off in the final third of the season, eventually finishing 5th.

 Ian Foster`s side finished 6th last season however recent  acquisistions have the Oriel Park fans believing it is their time to shine. Striking duo Jason Byrne and Mark Quigley  have joined from Bohemians in what was a shrew piece of business. The duo will be well complimented on the wings by Daniel Kearns and Ross Gaynor, two of the finest talents in the league last term that Foster has done well to keep a hold off. 

Derry City and Bohemians will consider themselves to be in with a shout of securing European football. Derry City have been promoted as Champions of the First Division under the astute guidance of Stephen Kenny. Kenny has installed great spirit in his young side with the McEleney brothers, James McClean and David McDaid all sett to rip up the Premier Division.  The return of key duo Ruaidhri Higgins and Gareth McGlynn will add experience to the Candystripes while the signing of Eamon Zayed will fill the void left by Mark Farren.

As for Bohs it will be a case of restoring some pride. The 2009 champions finished second on goal difference last season however financial turmoil over the close season left the club`s future in serious doubt. Thankfully financial matters have eased and all players that were owed money have been paid. However some Bohs fans remain cautious at the club`s spending. Pat Fenlon lured Killian Brennan back to Dalymount Park after Sligo baulked at his wages. While many fans appreciate Brennan they are aware that the survival of the club is of foremost importance. The additions of Ger O`Brien, Aidan Price, Anto Flood and Robert Bayly will give Bohs a strong first time but should any injuries or suspensions occur the squad will struggle.   

The remainder of the teams will contest a four team relegation shootout. UCD played some great football last season but must start from scratch having lost their finest talents to other clubs. Martin Russell will be hoping his next batch of youngsters can produce some form of cup run.

 Bray Wanderers narrowly survived last season, beating Monaghan United on penalties in the crucial relegation play off. The Seagulls have kept hold of their prize assets such as Jay Kelly and Shane O`Neill but a relegation fight is definitely on the cards for Pat Devlin`s men .

Galway United and Drogheda United make up the final two teams, despite much controversy over the licencing system. Galway were demoted to the A Championship only to be reinstated to the league following a successful appeal. Sean Connor will again be looking to work wonders on a shoestring budget .

 Mick Cooke has taken over the reigns at Drogheda United and will do well to keep the Boynesiders up. Drogheda finished bottom last term and only return to the Premier Division following the untimely demise of Sporting Fingal.The former Monaghan United supremo has added to his ranks with some talent from the First Division, although he will be kicking himself that he brought Ryan Brennan to Monaghan before departing the club. 

Verdict

  1. Shamrock Rovers
  2. Sligo Rovers
  3. St Patricks Athletic
  4. Dundalk
  5.  Derry City
  6. Bohemians
  7. UCD
  8. Bray Wanderers
  9. Galway United
  10. Drogheda United

 

FAI Cup: St Patricks Athletic

 League Cup: Sligo Rovers

 Setanta Cup: Shamrock Rovers

Irish Transfer Clockwatch

Birmingham City have had a 6 million pound bid accepted for Irish captain Robbie Keane. However West Ham manager Avram Grant has revealed his side are also in talks over a move for the hitman.

Glenn Whelan could be set for a move to Wolves.

Darren O`Dea is to remain on loan at Ipswich Town for the remainder of the season. After the dismissal of manager Roy Keane last week, O`Dea was unsure whether or not he would return to Celtic or stay at Portman Road.However New Tractor Boy`s manager Paul Jewell has revealed a deal was already in place prior to his appointment.

Hibernian are the latest club to have approached Adam Rooney. The in demand Irish striker is out of contract at Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Hibs boss Colin Calderwood has made a move to secure his services. Caley assistant manager Maurice Malpas is hoping the club can convince the 22year old to remain in the Highlands until the summer, “we are hoping he will see out his contract and then he can make his decision-whatever that may be” . 

UCD hotshot Ciaran Kilduff has joined League of Ireland champions Shamrock Rovers. The talented Dubliner becomes Rovers fourth addition in the last week with Gary Mc Cabe(Sligo Rovers) and Galway United duo Karl Sheppard and Stephen O`Donnell making the switch to the Hoops.

Ryan Guy has called time on his career at St Patricks Athletic. The American spent four years at the Inchicore club and leaves in good spirits as he is to return Stateside. “As it does for most footballers, the time has come for me to say my goodbyes. In all honesty, this last four years at Richmond Park have been the best of my life. A return to good auld America is on the cards for me now, leaving one family to be closer to another”.

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