Category: Archive

Republic’s ’02 itinerary shapes up

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Sean Creedon

The Republic of Ireland will play Nigeria in Dublin in a friendly on May 17. The following day, the squad will depart for the World Cup Finals and will be based in Izumo.

While there, the Boys in Green will play Japanese League club Hiroshima on May 25 to celebrate the opening of their new stadium. Commenting on the choice of Izumo FAI, General Secretary Brendan Menton said: “It’s a beautiful place and the facilities are excellent, everything we need is there. They made contact with us almost a year ago and Mick McCarthy was very impressed with what he saw there. We’ll stay in Izumo until just before the tournament starts and then fly up to Nigata, the venue for the first game against Cameroon, at around 4 in the afternoon, the day before the game.”

For the second game, against Germany on June 5 in Ibaraki, and the third game, in the group against Saudi Arabia, in Yokohama, on June 11, the Irish will be based in Chiba City, which is on the North side of Tokyo Bay. Chiba City is approximately the same distance from Ibaraki and Yokohama.

Meanwhile, McCarthy was voted Philips Manager of the Year at a function in Dublin last week. The award was accepted on McCarthy’s behalf by his daughter Anna. It has been confirmed that FIFA will pay for all internal air travel in Japan and South Korea by the Irish team, and all other teams in the tournament.

Meanwhile, the proposed friendly against Argentina on April 17 is off. Argentina doubled their initial fee and also wanted exclusive TV rights to the game. The FAI are now in talks with other associations to fill the vacant date.

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Team news: Gary Breen has been put on the transfer list at Coventry City. Breen, a regular in the Irish side under McCarthy, had been offered a new contract at Highfield Road, but has not signed.

“Gary has been offered the biggest contract in the club’s history, bigger than Dion Dublin and Mustapha Hadji,” said chairman Bryan Richardson. “He has continued to stall over this offer and has made his position quite clear, which leaves the club with no option other than to protect its own interests. . . . We will sell him because he can walk away for free at the end of the season when his contract expires.”

Waterford-born John O’Shea, who played for Manchester United in the Champions League win over Boavista last Wednesday, could come into the reckoning for the World Cup. An under 21 international, O’Shea, who is a central defender and has played once before for the national team, for 6 minutes against Croatia in August, seems certain to play in one of the spring friendlies.

Mahon quits Bohs

Pete Mahon has quit as manager of Bohemians after just five months on the job. Mahon, decided to step down after a bad run of results and at a time when his family were getting abuse from disgruntled Bohemians supporters, who watched their team struggle in the premier division.

Bohs fans know how lucky they were last season when the outspoken Roddy Collins led them to the League-Cup double. The Bohemians management and Collins fell out during the summer and Collins moved on to Carlisle in England.

Mahon, who was Collins’s assistant last season, was then promoted. But he has been unlucky with injuries and after a bad run of results it was only a matter of time before he would be sacked, although officially Bohs said there was no pressure on him to go.

Quinn pulling pints

The life of a sportsman can be short. So they are all advised to invest wisely while they are earning big money. Republic of Ireland striker Niall Quinn is certainly a man who is looking after his future. Quinn makes no secret of the fact that he wants to return home and raise his children in Ireland when his soccer career in England is over.

A few years ago when it looked like a knee injury would end his career, Quinn bought a stud farm in County Kildare, but later sold it when he made a full recovery. But now 35 years old, Quinn is getting into the pub trade. Earlier this year he was part of a syndicate that bought a pub in Clonmel, Co. Tipperary, and last week the group bought another pub, in Bagnalstown, Co. Carlow.

The Clonmel pub is known as The Local and the Carlow pub, which will officially be opened after Christmas is The Manor House.

“Some people buy stocks and shares, I’m going for pubs,” Quinn said.

Donegal to honor Given

Cork Corporation seem reluctant to honor soccer stars Roy Keane and Denis Irwin, but Donegal are wasting no time in honoring their Irish hero, Shay Given. The Newcastle United and Ireland goalkeeper will be given the Freedom of Donegal early in the New Year, along with singer Enya.

In the past, Packie Bonner and Daniel O’Donnell have been given civic receptions, but under a new act the County Council can given the Freedom of the County.

“Shay will be very happy,” Given’s father, Seamus, himself a former goalkeeper, said. “He likes getting an honor, like anyone else. He definitely deserves it as he has played very well, especially in the last two games.”

Keane contract talks

Roy Keane is willing to open negotiations with Manchester United on a new contract. There had been speculation that Keane wanted to finish his career at Glasgow Celtic, but last week he said that he “has never been happier at Old Trafford.”

Keane’s agent, Michael Kennedy, said: “United have indicated that they would like to sit down and talk to us. We’re happy to meet them at any time and discuss a new contract. Those talks could begin after Christmas. It will all depend on the terms offered, but Roy wants to stay, Manchester United is his club.”

Eircom summer snafu

The Eircom League’s plans to switch to summer soccer have thrown into disarray by the Republic’s qualification for the World Cup Finals. Next year’s shortened season, which was due to start on June 9, may have to be deferred, so as not to clash with the Irish games in Japan. Clubs may also be asked to play games on Tuesdays and Wednesdays to avoid clashing with the big GAA championship games. Beginning in 2003, the domestic soccer season will run from March to October.

Dunne v. dog

Tipperary captain Tommy Dunne has been a popular man at functions in his native county since Tipp won the McCarthy Cup last September. On Saturday, Dec. 15, Dunne will face an unusual challenge when he will race against a Greyhound at Thurles track. The race is part of a fund-raiser for his club Toomevara as they bid to develop extra training pitches for their young players in their area. This is not the first time that a man has raced against a dog — and usually the dog wins.

Unsettled Kelly

Republic of Ireland defender Gary Kelly is willing to leave Leeds United to ensure that he is on the plane to Japan next May. Such is Kelly’s desire to make the World Cup squad that he is willing to sacrifice a _500,000 testimonial, which he is due at Elland Road.

“I am not in it for the money,” Kelly said. “I love it here at Leeds and I’m here to play football, but in the past few months I haven’t been doing that and I’ve found it really hard. I know my testimonial is next year, but I’ve not really thought about it because all I want to do is play. I’ve spoken to Mick McCarthy and he has made it clear to me that I need to be playing first-team football to get into the reckoning.”

Kelly, who is only 27, should have no trouble finding another club if he decides to leave. He was sent off against Holland in September and has now lost out to Steve Finnan for the right back spot. And with Stephen Carr coming back soon after injury, the pressure is really on for the Irish No. 2 jersey.

O’Keeffe for Rules squad

Former Kerry star John O’Keeffe has been appointed manager of the Irish International Rules team for the next two years. The Traleeman has trained the Irish squad for the previous two Irish managers Colm O’Rourke and Brian Eniff. O’Keeffe is also a selector with the Kerry at present.

Dubs poach Kenny

Longford Town will be looking for compensation from Bohemians after the Dublin club poached their manager, Stephen Kenny. Longford say they will go to the High Court this week to seek damages. Kenny moved to Dalymount Park to replace Pete Mahon.

Meanwhile, Bohs’ bad run in the League continued at the weekend when Longford beat them 2-0 at Strokestown Road. The clubs meet again on Saturday night, Dec. 15, in the first round of the FAI Cup in Longford.

Stephen Gleeson, RIP

The death occurred last week of Limerickman Stephen Gleeson, 72. Gleeson’s claim to fame was that in 1957, at the age of 27, he became the youngest referee of an All-Ireland hurling final when he handled the game between Kilkenny and Waterford. A native of Fedamore, Co. Limerick, Stephen was an all-around sportsman. In addition to Gaelic games, he was a keen supporter of Greyhound racing and Coursing.

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