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Posts Tagged ‘ republic of ireland ’

Rovers Secure Fahey Signature

fahey

Shamrock Rovers have this morning completed the signing of Keith Fahey from arch rivals St Patrick’s Athletic.

The 31-year-old midfielder has put pen to paper on a deal which will see him line out with the Hoops for the 2015 season.

Former Birmingham City star Fahey has 16 full Republic of Ireland international caps and becomes Pat Fenlon’s first signing of the close season. Continue reading

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Ten Crucial Moments In European World Cup Qualifiers

BOS

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

Death Of The First Republic

The first Republic of Ireland is dead; this is a sensationalist statement to many but we are now in denial at its funeral. We crowd around its coffin, backs turned to the corpse and draw hope and nostalgia from those that brought her to birth, but those ghosts will teach us little more and if they could we would not listen. The lessons, valuable irreplaceable lessons, will only be found in its autopsy and in the investigation of its demise.

The first republic was born from a theatrical passion for cultural fulfilment, ownership and historic tribalism. Born as a hippy child it was raised by conservative parents backed by a regimental religion, hands shackled from liberalist choice in case it cut its knee in self discovery. Through its adolescence in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s it made friends in the European playground, picking up its fashionable taste for fast and loose capitalism. Of course young Ireland was not educated to the level of those who had dabbled for so long, but it would posture and be allowed do so. The reigns that had harboured young Ireland so close to its moral centre were quickly being rebelled, mistaking peer pressure of internal financial aesthetics, with the freedom of choice it had for so long wished to be its own. Continue reading

Questions Remain As Ireland Set For Road To Brazil

The Republic of Ireland have been drawn in Group C with Germany, Sweden, Austria, Faroe Islands and Kazakhstan for the qualification stage of FIFA World Cup 2014.

The Boys In Green kick off on the road to Rio with an away trip to Kazakhstan on September 7th, before welcoming Germany to Dublin a month later. Giovanni Trapattoni will be hoping for a change in fortunes having missed out on the last World Cup thanks to that faithful night in Paris. Trap ventures towards the qualifying campaign still not knowing what players he has at his disposal. Shay Given has already announced his international retirement and will be replaced by Keiren Westwood, a player the Italian has a lot of faith in. But the likes of Richard Dunne, Damien Duff and Robbie Keane all have question marks remaining over their future. Trapattoni will be hopeful the trio can make swift decisions on their futures in order to allow him to prepare effectively for the upcoming campaign.

Germany

It’s an exciting time to be a German fan with the current squad at Joachim Loew’s disposal. World renowned stars such as Mario Gomez and Bastian Schweinstieger, the rising talents of Marco Reus and Andreas Schurrle , they really do have the complete squad despite their failure to win Euro 2012.

The Germans always pose a threat to any team and this current crop of stars is no different. The beaten Euro 2012 semi finalists and Sweden will be Ireland’s biggest opponents as they seek to qualify for the 2014 World Cup.

Ireland face a tough start to the qualifiers and will need to get a favourable result when the Germans come to Dublin in October, something which is easier said than done. This Ireland team is in a period of transition both in terms of personnel and tactics. If the team isn’t settled prior to the October clash then it will be worrying what the Germans might do to us, especially when you consider our own performance at Euro 2012.

Germany are in a similar bracket to Spain and Italy. Many would bet against Ireland getting a result against Germany but then again it’s not something we haven’t done before. Remember Robbie Keane’s last ditch equaliser at the 2002 World Cup? Or more recently the nil all draw at Croke Park in 2007?

Nonetheless if Trap can diffuse the apparent tension within the squad at present and effectively reshuffle his pack, a positive result is achievable.

Sweden

The Swedes have come a long way since a 3-0 mauling in Dublin in 2006, the first match of Steve Staunton’s doomed managerial career as Ireland manager. Erik Hamren’s side competed at both Euro 2008 and Euro 2012 although they narrowly missed out on the 201 World Cup.

Sweden were disappointing at Euro 2012. Many expected them to challenge France and England for the top two spots while the Ukraine were also in with a shout. Sweden lost their opening two games against Ukraine (1-2) and England (2-3) before conjuring up a credible 2-0 win over France but by that stage they were already eliminated. They failed to flatter at the Euros and much expectation was placed on the shoulders of the talismanic Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but one man doesn’t make a team as was proven.

Ireland shouldn’t necessarily fear the Swedes, the two sides are fairly equal. If Ireland are to stand any chance of getting out of this group they must remain undefeated against the Swedes. A win in Dublin is vital while a draw in Stockholm would be credible.

Austria

Ireland will expect six points from their two meetings with Austria, a team they haven’t faced since suffering two successive 3-1 wins in 1995 whilst enroute to a Euro 96 playoff with Holland.

Austria have always been an average nation on the international front. The last competition they qualified for was the 1998 World Cup although they made an appearance at Euro 2008, thanks to their co-hosting responsibilities securing them automatic qualification.

They do however have some players who are more than capable of posing a threat to Irish aspirations. Marc Janko (FC Porto) and Marko Arnautovic (Werder Bremen) are two strikers that are well respected around Europe and offer a potent goal threat while rising Bayern Munich star David Alaba is also one to watch.

Faroe Islands

It was set up to be a battle between Trap and former Ireland manager Brian Kerr but sadly the former St Patricks Athletic manager has left his post in Torshavn despite making great strides with a poor team. The Faroes have never qualified for a major tournament.

The Faroe Islands are a country we have become accustomed to in recent years. They are always seen as the whipping boys of the group yet in the past we have found it tough against them although we always break them down in the end and come away with the victory.

You have to cast your mind back to the 2006 World Cup qualifiers to see the last time the Boys In Green battle the islanders, recording a 2-0 win in both the home and away tie. Similar scorelines should be plausible this time around. Goal difference may prove to be a factor in this group and if it does we must take our chances against the Faroes and not rest on our laurels.

 Kazakhstan

Ireland’s trek to Astana will see Trap’s side battle Kazakhstan for the first time ever, as the Kazakh’s only joined UEFA in 2002. The country has no record of ever qualifying for any major competitions and their status is best viewed by looking at their squad which boasts only two players who play outside the country.

The trek to Astana offers something of an unknown quantity yet despite the soaring heat and difficult conditions out there we should be able to record a comprehensive win to kickstart our campaign.

Predictions

1-Germany

2-Ireland

3-Sweden

4-Austria

5-Faroe Islands

6-Kazakhstan

 

 

McCarthy Sacked After Derby Day Humiliation

 

Former Irish manager Mick McCarthy has been relieved of his managerial duties at Wolverhampton Wanderers this morning following yesterday’s derby day humiliation at the hands of local rivals West Brom.

McCarthy, who had been in charge of the club for five years, saw his side trounced 5-1 by the Baggies at Molineux yesterday.

The result plunged Wolves into the Premier League relegation zone and prompted fans to protest outside the ground after the match.

McCarthy apologised for his team’s dismal performance and insisted he was the right man to lead Wolves to safety.

However, the Wolves board have opted to remove McCarthy from his post and now the task of recruiting a new manager must be a relatively quick process if Wolves are to secure top flight survival.

A club statement read: “The board took the difficult decision to terminate Mick’s contract after a run of form which has seen Wolves pick up only 14 points in the last 22 League games, after a promising start to the season, culminating in yesterday’s 5-1 defeat at home to West Bromwich Albion”.

“Terry Connor will take charge of team training in the interim until a new manager is appointed.

“The board would like to place on record their sincere thanks and appreciation to Mick McCarthy and he leaves with the very best wishes of everyone connected to the club.

“The club will be issuing a fuller statement in due course.”

McCarthy is now believed to be a target for managerless Leeds United with the Barnsley natives ability at getting teams promoted been a key factor in their pursuit of his services.

Irish Footballtennis Team to Take Centre Stage in Cyprus

The Irish squad will be heading off to the European Championships a lot sooner than you think. With Euro 2012 over six months away, get behind the other boys in green who are representing Ireland in the European Footballtennis Championships this week. The Irish footballtennis team – Jamie Mulrooney (captain), Steven Conway, Emmet Ó Mordha and Liam Hynes – have just landed in Cyprus to compete against nine other teams in what promises to be an exciting tournament of an ever-growing sport.

Footballtennis or ‘Futnet’ is a football-based game played on a court with similar dimensions to that of a tennis court. Despite its links with soccer and tennis, the sport holds its own identity and unique style of play. It originated in central Europe in the 1930s and remains most popular there. However, it is gradually becoming more popular in countries such as Ireland. Footballtennis has three basic disciplines – singles, doubles and triples – and is played competitively by men (over 18) , women (over 18), juniors (16 – 18), youngsters (13 – 15), children (12 and under) and veterans. The Irish team play in all three disciplines. Flexibility is imperative in the sport, especially in the groin, hamstring and the legs as the net used in the game is a meter in height. The whole body receives a workout as players utilise somewhat dormant muscles and also engage their backs, arms, hips, gluts, calves and ankles as they block and spike the ball over the net.

The Irish squad received a baptism of fire as their first competitive foray into the sport just so happened to be last year’s World Championships in Instanbul. However, team member Steven Conway acknowledges that the European Championships will be a tougher tournament as the sport’s best teams hail from eastern and central Europe. He says, “We are expecting a tough competition but we are looking forward to seeing how far we have actually come in the last year!”

The team split their training between Maynooth in Co Kildare and Ballina in Co Mayo, playing up to four times a week.

It’s fair to say the Irish footballtennis team had a somewhat unlikely but quite serendipitous start. Steven remembers how, in September of last year, he and a group of his college friends where heading home from the astro turf pitch in Maynooth, bemoaning the fact they missed out on their weekly game of football as the pitch was booked out. They happened to pass by a couple of empty tennis courts and started to knock the ball around there. Before long, a proper game was in progress. Steven recalls, “That evening back at the lads’ house we were talking about how we all used to play football on tennis courts when we were younger and we wondered if there was anything on the internet about it.” An online search led to the discovery of FIFTA – the international governing body of footballtennis. On the organisation’s website there was mention of a world championships coming up three months later in Istanbul. Better still, there was free accommodation and food for the participating teams, and, at the time, no Irish team to take part.

Steven says, “We laughed about entering a team and our friend Jamie [Mulrooney] sent a hopeful email explaining how we would love to compete in the tournament. A week or two later, to our surprise, the president of FIFTA replied to our email and explained that there were two wildcard places up for grabs. The cost of flights to Istanbul was €360, a bit steep for students, but this was an opportunity to represent our country at an international level – we didn’t care if we had to eat peanuts for the next few weeks to afford it, we were going!”

Nine weeks of intense training ensued in what was by far the coldest winter Ireland had seen in years. Not knowing what to expect when they landed in Instanbul, the team were happy enough to just win a few points per game. Twelve teams in total competed in the championship and Ireland were pitted against some of the best on their first day of professional playing. Despite a few heavy defeats, the team also won a game and pushed host nation Turkey to the very limit. Steven notes, “We had now found our feet and knew our place. The next day we were put into a play-off to see which teams would finish from 8th to 12th. This was between ourselves, Serbia, Georgia, and India. After a close game with the Serbs we managed to actually beat the Georgians and Indians to give Ireland its first international footballtennis victories and claim 10th spot in the World Championships!”

Having competed against some of the best football tennis teams in the world, the squad realised they had a responsibility to lay a foundation for the sport in Ireland. They spoke to some of the players, coaches and president of the sport in order to get some advice. The general consensus was to apply to the national sports council for funding and to continue promoting the sport in Ireland. The team compiled a 20,000 word funding application for the Irish Sports Council in which they outlined their constitution, aims and beliefs. They also documented the physical and psychological benefits of the sport and how they planned to utilise it as an integration tool for the sizable eastern European community in our country due to the sport’s popularity there.

In order to spread the footballtennis word, the team set up a website, uploaded a number of YouTube videos and kept in regular contact with the media. A documentary following the team’s story will be released online shortly.

 

In May of this year, Steven and Jamie attended the Footballtennis World Congress in Hungary. At this meeting the FIFTA president and existing members voted the Irish squad in as a full member of the organisation and so the Footballtennis Association of Ireland (FTAI) was now officially recognised. FIFTA went one further by offering Ireland the chance to host the next Footballtennis World Championships. As many of the team originally hail from the west of Ireland, it was hoped that the tournament could be held in Castlebar, Co  Mayo.

However, the Irish Sports Council have since informed the FTAI that they are not eligible for funding as they haven’t been an organisation for the necessary two years. The hosting of such a championship would have brought vital revenue to the country and further promoted this upcoming sport – a missed opportunity that will hopefully come to fruition at a future stage. Despite this disappointment, The ISC has put the FTAI in contact with the Football Association of Ireland whose grassroots development officer is exploring ways in which he can help develop the sport here. Steven says, “With the right financial backing we could host a World Championship in this country and have the first Irish women’s and junior footballtennis teams compete along side our men’s team. Bringing over 16 different countries in three disciplines would bring over 400 people from the teams alone. To support a national team as they host a world cup is an opportunity any business should be proud to be part of.”

Notwithstanding the setbacks incurred due to financial and emigration woes, the team are now thriving under the skilful watch of coach Juraj Holkovic – a former footballtennis player and coach from Slovakia (one of the top two footballtennis teams in the world). Juraj now lives in Longford and got in touch with the Irish squad after he heard about them in the media following their participation in last year’s world championships. Steven feels Juraj’s input now ensures the team are being trained to the very highest standard, saying their knowledge of the game has increased hugely.

The Irish team are now top of the recently established monthly Northern Ireland Footballtennis League in Belfast. They are also in regular contact with the new English footballtennis team so there is the possibility of a Tri Nations Cup sometime in the future. The FTAI also hope hoping to set up a club in Sligo in the new year in order to strengthen the foundations of the sport in this country so that footballtennis will remain a sport here for years to come.

For further information about footballtennis, check out the FIFTA and Futnet websites.

Euro Odyssey For Boys In Green

Irish fans can begin planning their Euro 2012 trips in earnest this morning after Giovanni Trapattoni’s men finished off the formality of qualifying for the tournament on home soil last night.
Over 51,000 green-clad fans packed into the Aviva Stadium to cheer the Boys in Green on as they looked to finish off Estonia and book their place amongst Europe’s elite in Poland and the Ukraine next summer.
There was a celebratory mood in the stadium from the off as Dublin witnessed one of its biggest ever football parties.
Following the team’s heroic 4-0 away win in Tallinn on Friday night, last night’s game was always likely to be something of a damp squib with the Irish team eventually settling for a 1-1 draw as they eased through to the finals.
In his typical cautious fashion, Trapattoni took no chances with his team selection, picking an almost full strength first eleven to see the job through.
That meant there were recalls for the injured John O’Shea at right back, while Wolves striker Kevin Doyle came back in to partner Robbie Keane up front after missing the first leg through suspension.
Winger Aiden McGeady was also rested on the night, with Stephen Hunt coming into the team for his 31st cap.
Ireland started brightly enough and could have had a goal within the first five minutes when Doyle flicked on a Shay Given clearance into the path of Robbie Keane.
However the Irish record goalscorer couldn’t add to his impressive tally of 53 international goals as the Estonian keeper Pavel Londak blocked his effort at close range.
Londak was called into the action again soon after when he was forced to parry a shot from Damien Duff, which Keane again latched onto and he looked destined to score, only to see his shot sail wide of the near post.
Spurred on by their early escapes, Estonia started to work their way into the game with Konstantin Vassiljev, their most impressive performer in Tallinn, conducting affairs from central midfield.
However, they continued to look vulnerable at the back, and they finally succumbed 14 minutes before the break after central defender Ragnar Klavan had needlessly conceded a corner.
Doyle got his head to Duff’s left-wing corner and the keeper could only push the ball out to full-back Stephen Ward, who thumped it past him and into the back of the net.
Trapattoni celebrated on the sidelines as the party in the stands went into full swing with qualification now assured.
Given made his first save three minutes later when he got down to claim Vladimir Voskoboinikov’s skidding drive, but his evening was passing largely without incident.
The Estonians returned for the second half in determined mood and once again took the game to Ireland, although it was Ward who came closest to altering the scoreline when he forced Londak to save after cutting inside on to his right-foot from Glenn Whelan’s pass.
Joel Lindpere, whose return to the international fold for the play-off had sparked such excitement, departed having made little impact with 54 minutes gone, although his side’s fortunes changed markedly three minutes later.
Vassiljev picked the ball up inside the Ireland half and having made ground, smashed a 30-yard missile towards goal.
The ball dipped and swerved and although Given managed to get a hand to it, he could not keep it out as the Irish conceded just their second goal in 11 games.
Central defender Richard Dunne might have restored the home side’s lead when he met Keith Andrews’s clipped 67th-minute cross with a firm header, but he directed the ball straight at a grateful Londak.
But there was to be no further drama as the Republic of Ireland qualified on home soil for the first time.
Trapattoni’s men are now likely to be seeded fourth when the draw for the finals is made in Kiev on December 2.
It means our likely opponents will be one of hosts Poland, Ukraine, Spain or Holland in Pot One; England, Italy, Germany or Russia in Pot Two, and, Croatia, Sweden, Greece or Portugal in Pot Three.
Current UEFA co-efficient rankings mean that Ireland are joined in the fourth pot by Denmark, France and the Czech Republic.
Despite what is likely to be a very tough draw, goalkeeper Shay Given said the Irish will be up to the challenge.
He said: “The most important thing is getting there and a lot will depend on the luck of the draw.
“There are some fantastic teams there, but we are sure that some of those teams won’t want to play Ireland either. We are looking forward to mixing with the big teams, just like the good old days.
“I think someone said we were 50/1, so I think we are worth a fiver of anyone’s money.
“Obviously, there are a lot of bigger nations and better teams than us, but on our day, as we have proven over the last number of years, we can play against the best teams.”

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