The Irish Week in Fooball – The Euro Warm Up and Betrayal Edition
There were a couple of glimpses of the magic of cup football last weekend as league matters were put aside for the occasion of the FAI Cup Second Round. The giant-killing feat of the round was by Leinster Senior League side Cherry Orchard, who dumped First Division leaders Longford Town out of the competition.
The biggest shock though was at The Showgrounds where visitors Monaghan United got the better Premier Division leaders Sligo Rovers.
It took replays for Shelbourne to progress past Bray Wanderers and for Wexford Youths to squeeze past Munster Senior League side Douglas Hall.
There were few shocks elsewhere, but thanks to the achievements of Monaghan we are guaranteed a new name on the cup to follow on from Sligo’s back to back victories in 2010 and 2011. The contenders entering Round Three are:
Avondale United, Bohemians, Cherry Orchard, Cork City, Derry City, Dundalk, Drogheda United, Malahide United, Monaghan United, Mervue United, Shamrock Rovers, Shelbourne, St. Patrick’s Athletic, U.C.D, Waterford United, Wexford Youths
Twenty Three Men In
Giovanni Trapattoni confirmed his 23 man Euro 2012 squad to UEFA on Monday morning and he seems to have held very little back, awarding his suspected first choice team with numbers 1 to 11. They are:
1 Shay Given, 2 Sean St Ledger, 3 Stephen Ward, 4 John O’Shea, 5 Richard Dunne, 6 Glenn Whelan, 7 Aiden McGeady, 8 Keith Andrews, 9 Kevin Doyle, 10 Robbie Keane, 11 Damien Duff, 12 Stephen Kelly, 13 Paul McShane, 14 Jonathan Walters, 15 Darron Gibson, 16 Keiren Westwood, 17 Stephen Hunt, 18 Darren O’Dea, 19 Shane Long, 20 Simon Cox, 21 Paul Green, 22 James McClean, 23 David Forde
The inclusion of Green and McShane mean that two provisional squad members have left out. Former League of Ireland player Keith Fahey misses out through injury, while the unfortunate Kevin Foley suffered the disappointment of being dropped at the last moment.
We’ll have a full Ireland preview of Ireland’s Euro 2012 squad and opposition coming up later this week on the site.
The “Betrayal” of Kevin Foley
It is hard not to feel extremely sorry for Foley following his ejection from the squad. Firstly there is the fact that he was selected in the provisional squad and fully expected to be travelling to Poland, then there’s the reasoning behind the decision, and then how it was communicated.
Foley has been around the squad for six years and earned only eight caps, far fewer than he deserved given the competition he has faced for a starting place. In that time he has never cried off through minor injury or dodged meaningless friendly fixtures, this summer would be his reward for his talent and his commitment.
30 minutes before the official squad was submitted, Foley was informed by his manager than he was not included in it. Speaking afterward he left little doubt about how let down he felt by Trapatonni.
“It’s hard to take, you know. I sort of feel betrayed, you know. I don’t want to go into too much detail. I just feel betrayed, that’s all I want to say. I said that to the manager. I obviously wasn’t happy.”
His disappointment and anger are understandable, particularly given he seemingly never saw this coming:
“I’ve done everything I can. That’s all I can do. I could have trained last week and been involved in the game. If someone had said to me that I had to train Thursday and Friday to prove my fitness or else I wouldn’t be in the squad, then I would have bitten his hand off and started the game. I was just under the illusion that I could take my time, train in Italy, prove my fitness and then be in the squad.”
Trappatoni has spent a long time in football, and he is not the kind of man to shy away from a tough decision. There’s little room for sentimentality with the Italian, and once he had injury concerns over his centre backs he did was he saw as best for the squad, if not for Kevin Foley.
A Tuscan Stroll
To Foley’s credit, rather than storm out of the camp he chose to hang on to play a part in Ireland’s warm up game that evening and show for certain there were no concerns over his own fitness.
The fixture really was a stroll for Ireland as they defeated a Tuscany Select XI on a 5-0 scoreline. There were a few simple aims, firstly for no injuries, secondly to dominate play and work on possession and finally to have our strikers scoring goal. All of those aims were achieved, the goals coming from Keane (2), Cox, Long and Walters, Keane’s first being the pick of the bunch.
Highlights below for that one:
This Week’s Fixtures
It’s a return to league action at home this weekend, the last round of fixtures before the summer break. Ireland also have their final Euro 2012 warm up game, all eyes on John O’Shea and Shay Given for this one as they look to prove their fitness.
Friday 1st June 2012
Bohemians v Sligo Rovers
Bray Wanderers v U.C.D
Derry City v Shelbourne
Dundalk v Drogheda United
Monaghan United v St. Patrick’s Athletic
Shamrock Rovers v Cork City
Friday 1st June 2012
Waterford United v Mervue United
Wexford Youths v Athlone Town
SD Galway v Finn Harps
Saturday 2nd June 2012
Longford Town v Limerick FC
Monday 4th June 2012
Hungary v Ireland (Venue – Budapest)