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Irish Sports Desk Quinn eyes goal record

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Sean Creedon

Republic of Ireland striker Niall Quinn needs just one goal to set an Irish record and boy would he like to establish that record at Lansdowne Road against Portugal on Saturday afternoon.

Quinn equaled Frank Stapleton’s record of 20 goals against South Africa in Giant’s Stadium last June and since then has had only three opportunities to set the

record. Those games were against Holland, Portugal and Estonia.

Quinn’s last game was against Estonia in October and since then has missed four games when injury ruled him out of both games against Andorra, the game against Cyprus and the friendly against Finland.

Incidentally, Quinn was the fans’ choice

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in a web poll to replace Joe Royle as manager of Manchester City. But since

when did directors listen to fans? They have opted for former England manager Kevin Keegan. Hopefully, Quinn will be fit to take his place on Saturday as the Republic bid to extend their 10-game unbeaten record.

Since going down 2-1 to Scotland at Lansdowne in May last year the Boys in Green have been unbeaten in 10 games, topping South Africa, Estonia, Finland,

Cyprus, Andorra (twice) and drawibg with Mexico, the U.S., Holland and Portugal.

Morrison with U-21s

Crystal Palace striker Clinton Morrison is included in the Republic Under 21 squad for the game against Portugal at Tolka Park on Friday.

Morrison, who qualifies for the Republic through the FIFA "granny" rule, now has the necessary Irish passport. But one wonders whether he is really only declaring for Ireland because he didn’t get an England call-up.

A few months back, Morrison issued an open invitation to the English camp to "come and get me." He could also have declared for Jamaica. However, that’s life

and with a severe shortage of striking talent available to them, under 21

manager Don Givens and senior manager Mick McCarthy have to explore every avenue.

Windsor Park concern

Northern Ireland are out of the World Cup race and manager Sammy McIlroy is worried about the state of the Windsor Park surface on Saturday.

The North’s qualifier against Bulgaria goes ahead less than 24 hours after the North’s under 21 game against Bulgaria on Friday night. The under 21 game is being played at Windsor Park as all the other major grounds are having maintenance work being done on them during the close season.

Sonia to race

Sonia O’Sullivan will defend her Ladies Mini Marathon title around the streets of Dublin on Monday, a Bank Holiday in Ireland. Afterward, the Cobh-born

runner will have discussions with her coach, Alan Storey, before deciding whether to compete in the IAAf World Athletics Champions in Edmonton later this summer.

"At this stage I don’t know about the World Championships," O’Sullivan said last week. "I will probably go, but you never know. The 2004 Olympic Games is my priority

and if that means missing some events, so be it. I am not going to put pressure

on myself to run as fast as I can in every race year."

New Eircom commish

Roy Dooney, a former international athlete, is the new commissioner of the

Eircom League. Dooney, who was working full-time for Fine Gael until the departure of John Bruton as leader, faces a difficult task to keep the domestic League on track.

The trouble with the Eircom League is that the clubs hold all the power and Dooney will need all his political experience to avoid some of the embarrassments they have experienced in recent years.

Donnellans return

The Donnellan brothers, Michael and John, have rejoined the Galway football

squad. The brothers, who didn’t take any part in the first round win over Leitrim, trained with the panel last week. It’s understood that Michael withdrew from the team when John failed to make the starting 15 for the Leitrim game. Now all eyes will be on the Galway team for Sunday’s game against Roscommon.

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