Category: Archive

Irish Sports Desk As World Cup draw nears, McCarthy eyes new ‘blood’

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Sean Creedon

FAI President Pat Quigley, Chief Executive Bernard O’Byrne and Manager Mick McCarthy will all be in Tokyo next Tuesday (Dec. 7) for the draw for the 2002 World Cup. The FAI are hoping that the Republic will get a third-place seeding. The qualifying games for the next World Cup will probably commence in August next year and Ireland’s grouping will decide which countries the Irish will have friendlies against next spring.

To date, the only game confirmed is against the Czech Republic at Lansdowne Road on Feb. 23 and McCarthy has hinted that he will "blood" several new players in this game.

"In March last year I gave first caps to six new players when we played the Czech Republic in Olomouc," he said. "I can see something similar happening this time around as the time is now right to introduce more new players.”

Players who are expected to come into the reckoning for a senior debut next spring include Michael Reddy (Sunderland), Stephen McPhail (Leeds), Barry Quinn (Coventry), Liam George (Luton) and Paul Butler (Sunderland).

The Irish have had great success at youth level under Brian Kerr, so now is the time to give youth their chance. Niall Quinn has also confirmed that McCarthy convinced him that he should not retire. Quinn had thought about quitting after the Euro 2000 playoff against Turkey, but McCarthy said that he was part of his future plans. No disrespect to Quinn, who has been a great servant, but that does not bode well for the future.

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Keane saga continues

The latest on the Roy Keane transfer saga is that there may not be any transfer. Last week Keane hinted that he may be about to agree a new contract with Manchester United.

"There’s a meeting scheduled between the club and my solicitor next week, so, hopefully, I will have some positive news for the United fans when I return from Tokyo,” Keane said.

The latest offer is believed to be £42,000 per week plus a testimonial at a later date.

Meanwhile, the Corkman is one of six Manchester United players short-listed for the 1999 European Footballer of the Year award. The other United players are David Beckham, Andy Cole, Ryan Giggs, Jap Stam and Dwight Yorke. Overall, there are 13 players from the FA Premiership in the 50 strong list compiled by France Football. The winner will be announced before Christmas.

McKiernan denial

Catherina McKiernan has denied that injury will prevent here from competing in the European cross-country championships in Slovenia later this month.

"The reason I am not running in the Europeans is that I’m still recovering from the Chicago Marathon and I would not do myself, the team or the country justice by running," shje said. "You need time to recover from a marathon and I did well to finish it in the circumstances."

Meanwhile, Ireland’s other female star, Sonia O’Sullivan, has suffered a slight setback in training and will not race in Australia until at least February.

Killarney want big game

The Fitzgerald Park Committee in Killarney are looking for a big Munster hurling championship game next year to try and reduce the debt on the stadium. It’s costing Killarney over £50,000 in interest annually to service the debt, which resulted from the redevelopment program at the scenic ground three years ago.

Presuming Cork beat Limerick in the first round of next year’s Munster football championship, Killarney will be the venue for their semifinal meeting with Kerry on June 18, but that’s the only high-profile fixture on the horizon.

"We will have to go out and sell our product, especially as we plan to go ahead with phase two of our development which will see the terraces extended to take in the area behind both goals,” said Committee spokesman Dermot Galvin.

Last year there were six big championship games in Munster, five in hurling and one football. Pairc Ui Chaoimh staged four, while the other two were played in Thurles. The Gaelic Grounds in Limerick is out of the equation for the present as major development work is expected to start there next spring.

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