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Posts Tagged ‘ Richard Dunne ’

Ireland To Deal Erik’s Swedes A Hamr’ Blow

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Richard Dunne is back at the heart of the Irish defence for tonight’s crucial FIFA World Cup qualifier against Sweden at the Aviva Stadium (7.45pm) .

The Queens Park Rangers defender will win his 78th cap after recovering from the injury which forced him to miss almost all of last season for club and country. Continue reading

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Trap Names Provisional Squad For Double Header

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Giovanni Trapattoni today announced a provisional 29 man squad for Ireland’s upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers against Sweden on September 6 in Aviva Stadium, and Austria on September 10 Ernst Happel Stadion, Vienna.

The squad will be shortened ahead of the fixture in order to accommodate injuries etc.  Continue reading

Five Irish Players Who Need A Move This August

kdAs all football fans know, the summer transfer window is a time of upheaval with fresh starts, new challenges and last chances for managers and players alike. However, sometimes there is a select few players that may be in need of a move to rekindle or enhance their international career.

Here we take a look at five Irish stars who all need a move before the transfer window slams shut at the end of August. Continue reading

Hoolahan Starts As Ireland Aim To Conquer The Faroes

Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni has named his starting eleven for tonight’s FIFA World Cup qualifier against the Faroe Islands at the Aviva Stadium.

With James McCarthy and Shane Long suspended for the game, Trapattoni has been forced to make changes from the side which drew 1-1 with England at Wembley. Continue reading

Four Uncapped Players In Irish Squad For Poland Clash

jhNorwich City’s Anthony Pilkington has been named in the Republic of Ireland squad to face Poland next month.

Pilkington, a standout performer in the Premier League this season had been capped at Under-21 level back in 2008. The decision to call up the 24 year old will go down well with fans who feel it should have happened a lot sooner. Continue reading

Emergence Of Clark May Force Dunne Into Retirement

Ireland battle Germany this Friday in a crucial World Cup qualifier, one that has been overshadowed by the withdrawal of star names such as Kevin Doyle and James McClean. While preparations have been far from perfect, one man may well step out of the limelight and stake his claim for a regular starting spot.

That man is Ciaran Clark, the Aston Villa defender who has been called into the squad to replace the injured Sean St Ledger. Clark comes from a famous stable of Irish Villa defenders which includes Paul McGrath and Richard Dunne, with Clark looking to oust the latter as he seeks to make himself a regular for both club and country.

Clark has thrived in the Premier League this season, forming a partnership with new Villa signing Ron Vlaar while Dunne has been forced to watch on from the sidelines. Paul Lambert doesn’t expect Dunne to return to action before Christmas and if he had his way Dunne would be plying his trade at Stoke City now but a deadline day fell through due to the Tallaght native’s injury.

Clark should be fast tracked into the Ireland first team for the Germany game but Giovanni Trapattoni may choose to play Paul McShane alongside Darren O’Dea. Trap’s refusal to omit Clark to date has been somewhat surprising but he may be brave and hand the Villa star a chance, it may well be Clark’s own Moscow moment if he can deny Mario Gomez and co.

Should Clark get his opportunity it may well spell the beginning of the end for Dunne’s Ireland career as the veteran may feel forced into an early retirement thanks to the emergence of his team mate. But if the Trap era has thought us anything it is to not expect what should be the expected. Nonetheless Clark should be worthy of a run out against Faroe Islands next week.

Belgians Show Ireland That Success Starts At Home

European football is currently witnessing a revolution, one that has been simmering under the limelight for the past few seasons but is now fully realising its potential.

The football world has become synonymous with names like Dembele, Hazard and Verthongen, the backbone of a blossoming Belgium side that many are tipping for future success. Belgium, like Ireland, has never exactly been a football haven. There national side has enjoyed more success than Ireland in terms of qualifying for events but still it’s nothing worth bragging about. At club level its pretty much a similar story as Belgian teams have had limited success on the European front. Where it not for Anderlecht and Standard Liege then this revolution may not have been possible.

To the aforementioned trio add the names of Kompany, Vermaelen, Defour, Witsel, Fellaini and Lukaku, all household names on the European stage and it’s not hard to see why this team managed by Belgian hero Marc Wilmots looks set to shine. Throw rising stars in there such as Mirallas, Alderweireld and De Bruyne and one begins to instantly wonder how this team never made it to Euro 2012. Perhaps the Euros came too soon but Belgium were quite unlucky finishing two points off a playoff spot in what was a tough qualification group featuring a German side who won ten out of ten and a Turkish outfit  who narrowly pipped Belgium to second place.

The new golden generation of Belgium looks set to outshine its predecessors, who reached six successive World Cup’s between 1982-2002, which included a  4th place finish in 1986. They even finished as runners up at Euro 1980. Wilmots side have enjoyed a solid start to qualifying for Brazil 2014 grinding out a 2-0 win over Wales and a 1-1 draw with Croatia which is no mean feat, Irish fans would certainly agree.

But for all the prospects and potential this Belgian team has one wonders how Ireland cannot produce such a model for success giving we are country of a similar nature. Yes the Belgian population is double that of Ireland but in reality what does population matter if one has correct infrastructure?

The Belgian FA have incorporated a model for success, they are willing to do everything possible to provide themselves with success. The vision of Belgian football is quickly changing thanks in large part to the motivational factor whereby such a small country takes pride from punching well above their weight. Ireland have a similar outlook yet finances dictate success. Nonetheless the quality of the current Belgium team compared to Ireland is astounding as any of the Belgian players would walk into the Irish set up.

In recent years we have witnessed a reversal of our fortunes. The old guard of Given and Duff have retired while Dunne and Keane are on their last leg. Our input into European competition and the Premier League has steadily declined year after year. After all, how many Irish players will feature in this year’s Champions League?

Contrast this steady decline with the fortunes of the respective clubs in Belgium and Ireland. This season sees Anderlecht make a welcomed return to the Champions League group stages, a feat the 31 time Belgian champions last enjoyed in the 2006/07 season. The Belgian champions boast ten Belgians in their squad. Combine this ten with the current Belgian stars at other Champions League clubs such as Arsenal, Chelsea and Zenit and it’s not hard to see the Belgians mean business. Meanwhile, Aiden McGeady holds his head high as Ireland’s sole Champions League representative and League of Ireland clubs remain light-years’ away from reaching Europe’s premier club competition.

Of course we can talk with a bit more excitement when it comes to the Europa League. After all Shamrock Rovers did enjoy success qualifying for the group stages last year. However this historic feat was quickly forgotten as the Hoops failed to earn a single point and bowed out of the competition. How long will we wait for another Irish club to break such ground, something the Belgian sides do year upon year with relative ease.

The old adage that success starts at home is universally true. This rising Belgian outfit would be nothing where it not for the backing it’s football association affords its national league. Contrast this with Ireland and the ever lacking FAI involvement in the League of Ireland and it’s not hard to see why we are struggling at both international and club level. Indeed it says something about the difference between the LOI and the Pro League when you consider the numerous Irish stars who had to move abroad in recent years to get a sniff at pulling on the green jersey.

So while Wilmots leads this golden generation onto bigger and better things Irish fans can only wonder what might have been if the FAI had a similar dedication to that of their Belgian counterparts. The longer the FAI are devoid of hope and enthusiasm the longer Irish football as a whole will suffer.

 

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