Posts Tagged ‘ Rhys Murphy ’

Irish Aim For Italian Scalp

REPUBLIC of Ireland under-21 team manager Noel King believes his side have the character to cause a surprise when they host leaders Italy in Monday’s UEFA U21 Championships qualifying Group Seven fixture at the Showgrounds, Sligo (3.00pm). 

Coached by former Juventus star Ciro Ferrara, the Italians have won all five of their fixtures in the qualifying group but face an Irish side that has won three successive games at the west of Ireland venue. 

“Italy have won this competition five times before and having studied them closely I would say they are as good as any team I’ve seen at this age group,” said King. 

“They will rightly believe that they have a chance of winning this competition outright in Israel next summer and have very talented attacking players but we need to keep that out of our minds and focus on the job at hand. 

“If we do everything in our power to win this game then I believe we can get another victory in Sligo, where we’ve developed an excellent relationship with the local football community.”

Italy’s striking options include AC Milan’s Stephan El Shaarawy, Manolo Gabbiadini of Atalanta, Siena’s Mattia Destro and Chievo’s Alberto Paloschi. 

With Hungary beating second-placed Turkey on Friday, the Irish could leapfrog the Turks if they secure the three points tomorrow. 

“That result could be good for us but that will only be the case if we take advantage of it,” said King. 

“Everybody is fit and we’ve been together since before the Denmark friendly last week so we’ve prepared well and with the support of a packed Showgrounds I believe we are ready to produce a good performance.” 

Republic of Ireland U21 squad: Ian McLoughlin (MK Dons), Aaron McCarey (Wolves), Mark Connolly (Unattached), Shane Duffy (Everton), Greg Cunningham (Manchester City), Niall Canavan (Scunthorpe United), John Egan (Sunderland), Kevin Long (Burnley), Jeff Hendrick (Derby County), Eunan O’Kane (Torquay United), Richie Towell (Unattached), Aidan White (Leeds United), Conor Clifford (Chelsea), Conor Hourihane (Plymouth Argyle), Sean Murray (Watford), Samir Carruthers (Aston Villa), Ronan Murray (Ipswich Town), James Collins (Shrewsbury Town), Rhys Murphy (Unattached), Robbie Brady (Manchester United).


Hibernian look to build on crucial win as the search for new faces continues

On a grey Fife afternoon, Fenlon’s Hibernian claimed a vital 3-2 victory over bottom placed Dunfermline to give the capital side a four point cushion above the foot of the table. The sizeable Hibs travelling support, which filled the 3,000 capacity away stand and forced Dunfermline to re-open their North Stand to accommodate the swelling ranks of green and white behind the goal, suggested the gravity of the tie which many billed as the game of the weekend.

The fixture did not disappoint, as two teams struggling to find form served up a highly entertaining and hard-fought match filled with drama. It was Hibernian who again found themselves chasing an early defecit, as Andy Kirk ghosted by the Hibs defence to nod home for Dunfermline. Yet Hibs began to find their feet as the half went on. Isiaah Osbourne left the ball as it passed him in the air, allowing Leigh Griffiths in behind the home defence to slot home and bring the Edinburgh side level.
Into the second half, and Hibernian pressed on the counter. Fenlon showed his desire to take the full three points from the game, replacing David Wotherspoon for Hibs’ top scorer Garry O’Connor. The substitution paid off, as the former Lokomotiv Moscow and Birmingham City frontman drove the ball into the top corner after a lay-off from Leigh Griffiths on 75 minutes. Dunfermline, however, did not seem to be disheartened by going behind. Despite some dogged individual performances in the Hibs defence, the home side broke through to level the tie at 2-2 on 81 minutes.
Just as it seemed Fenlon’s Hibernian had thrown away the chance of such a crucial win, the Hibs fans amassed behind the goal were sent into delerium barely two minutes after their side had lost the lead. Lewis Stevenson fed the ball towards Griffiths, who shirked off the attentions of the home defence and fired a low shot in at goal which managed to escape the clutches of the Dunfermline keeper before finding the net. A typically nervy finish ensued, though the Leith side held on to claim their first league win since October.
Hibernian have sought to bolster their side through the acquisiton of Norwich City right-back George Francomb on a six month loan signing. With Akpo Sodje being the latest player to be released by the club, Fenlon has been working hard to get new faces at the club, yet signings other than 20 year old Francomb and 23 year old Irishman Eoin Doyle have been unforthcoming.
“We have identified and are talking to some who will improve us, whether we get them or not will depend on other teams”, Fenlon told the BBC. One of these appears to be Arsenal’s Rhys Murphy, who is reported to be currently on trial with the Edinburgh side, as well as St Mirren midfielder and fellow Irishman Jim Goodwin.
Hibs return home to Easter Road this weekend and Fenlon will be looking to capitalise on the momentum generated by the last two consecutive wins. Fourth-placed St Johnstone are the visitors this Saturday and will provide tough opposition given their impressive form this season.