Category: Archive

Reinjured Carr doubtful for World Cup squad

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

BySean Creedon

It now looks increasingly unlikely that Stephen Carr will be fit to join the Irish squad for this summer’s World Cup. Carr, who won the last of his 18 caps against Estonia in June 2001, broke down in training last week. The 25-year-old full-back, who has not played for his club, Tottenham, this season, was due to play in a reserve game for Spurs last Thursday.

Carr had hurt his knee in pre-season training and had surgery under Dr. Richard Steadman in Colorado, but he has not been able to regain full fitness.

Carr’s loss would leave the way open for Gary Kelly to reclaim the No. 2 shirt or the right back role could go to Steve Finnan.

Irish manager Mick McCarthy says he will give Carr as much time as possible to try to get fit in time for the World Cup.

“I know what Stephen is going through,” McCarthy said. “A knee injury almost cost me my place at the World Cup finals back in 1990. I know how much a World cup means to any player, so I will give Stephen every chance to prove his fitness.”

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Meanwhile, Stephen McPhail, whom many people had predicted would make the World Cup squad, has joined Millwall on loan from Leeds United until the end of the season. McPhail, who has started just one game for Leeds this season, desperately needs first-team football if he is to have any hope of getting into Mick McCarthy’s World Cup squad for the upcoming friendlies.

And Manchester United defender John O’Shea has been named in the Irish under 21’s for the friendly against Denmark in Cork on Tuesday, March 26. O’Shea could still be called up to the senior squad for the game against Denmark at Lansdowne Road the following day, but at this stage it looks like Mick will stand by the players helped Ireland qualify for the World Cup.

Killarney soccer?

Killarney has always been to the fore in Irish tourism and locals are never slow to think of a scheme which might bring more tourists to the famous Kerry town. Now Dr. Crokes clubman Patrick O’Sullivan wants to open up Fitzgerald Stadium for soccer internationals.

O’Sullivan, who is development officer of the Kerry County board, was speaking on his own behalf when he said last week: “Fitzgerald Stadium gets only one big game every second year and I think we should make it available for Soccer games. We have the infrastructure in Killarney, a rail-link, hotels and restaurants to cater for people. They are centralizing government departments, so why not decentralize sport where all types of sport and loved and cherished. And if the people want somewhere to play their games, I don’t see why we shouldn’t offer Fitzgerald Stadium.”

Special Congress on hold

The GAA have yet to set a date for the special Congress that will look at the recently published Strategic Review. Last weekend, Central Council delegates rejected the proposed dates of May 24 and 25. Presidential candidate Noel Walsh said that the weekend suggested was one of the busiest of the year and he suggested late autumn as a possible time. However, a special Congress could still go ahead in May or June if next month’s annual GAA Congress in Dublin sanctions a date.

Meanwhile, GAA President Sean McCague has hinted that the days of trips by Irish under-17 teams to Australia are over. There had been suggestions that the series has been used as a recruiting ground for Australian Rules teams.

Shelbourne in good shape

Shelbourne are now looking good for the Eircom League premier division title. Last Sunday, the Reds beat Shamrock Rovers 2-0 at Tolka Park to go 7 points clear of St Patrick’s Athletic at the top of the table. The League is due to finish early (March 31) this season to allow a break before the new Summer season. Shels have only two games to play, while Pat’s will have to play their five remaining games in a 13-day period. If The Saints take maximum points from all of their five games, they will take the title, but at this stage it’s looking good for Shels.

Meanwhile, the first division race is a rollercoaster with Drogheda, Dublin City, Finn Harps and Waterford jostling for the top spot.

Streewise McGrath

Former Irish soccer favorite Paul McGrath may have a street named after him. Dublin T.D. Gay Mitchell will propose at a meeting of the Dublin City Council that the newly opened Coombe bypass by named after the man once dubbed the “Black Pearl of Inchicore.”

“Paul is identified with the south inner city, Drimnagh, the Liberties,” Mitchell said. “The bypass leads out of the city to the area with which he is most associated.”

Istabraq falters

It was a week of mixed fortunes for the Irish at Cheltenham. There were five winners over the three days, which have been described as the Olympics of National Hunt Racing. But Istabraq’s hopes of making it four Champions Hurdles in a row vanished when he was pulled up by jockey Charlie Swan after jumping just two of the hurdles.

Owner J.P. McManus said that Istabraq will almost certainly be retired now.

Istabraq damaged the equine equivalent of a Achilles tendon in his hock.

Tipp’s Leahy out

All-Ireland hurling champions Tipperary will have to plan without John Leahy for their opening game in the Munster championship against Clare on May 19. The Mullinahone man, who badly injured his knee in an awkward fall in the corresponding game last year, will definitely not be fit in time for the Clare game but is hoping to resume later in the championship. Tipp, who had their great unbeaten run ended by Limerick two weeks ago, will also have to plan without Declan Ryan, who has as expected retired.

Qualifiers snag

No dates have yet been fixed for Northern Ireland Euro 2004 qualifiers. Representatives of the countries in Group Six: Northern Ireland, Spain, Greece, Ukaine and Armenia failed to reach agreement on dates despite six and a half hours of talks in Athens last week. Now UEFA will have to decide on dates.

UK Euro support

The Celtic bid by Ireland and Scotland to co-host the 2008 European Championships has been given a six-figure financial backing from the UK Sport organization. UK Sport, who coordinate and support bids to bring major sports events to Britain, are backing the bid with a lottery grant of up to _320,000. UK Sport had originally pledged _400,000 on the condition that Scotland submitted a solo bid to host the finals.

Cullen Park ready

The Carlow County Board are confident that Dr. Cullen Park will be able to host the Leinster championship game between Wexford and Dublin on June 1.

“We are confident that our ground will be cleared to hold up to 20,000 people. Last year, a ceiling of 10,000 was put on the ground, but that was because the safety people were a bit concerned about the exits. Now we have put those matters right and we are confident that the safety people will approve a new ceiling of 20,000 for this game,” said Carlow Secretary Tom O’Neill.

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