Category Archives: Uncategorized

A History of Manchester United in the last chance saloon

Man Utd Logo

A History of Manchester United in the last chance saloon

 

‘As an extremely pivotal transfer window for Manchester United nears to a close, we remember the good choices and the panicked desperate January selections of the last 20 years…’

The January transfer window can be described as the ‘discount selection round’ of any football season, and unlike the summer edition, it may not exceed four the allocated four weeks.   Some may think of it as a last chance saloon for teams who missed out in the preseason, simply through silly split second decisions or possible lack of funds. But could managers like David Moyes be merely playing a sly intelligent game, quietly observing ‘unsettled players’ in their current clubs?

 

By January, most player’s allegiance or indifference to their particular club would certainly have become clearer, therefore could the later window actually be more beneficial to managers? Are players simply just not getting picked, and perhaps hanging around on the side-lines frustratingly watching as team mates recurrently fill the prize spots, or are they just not good enough?   Here we ask if David Moyes last minute gambles pay off this time? and as an extremely pivotal transfer window for Manchester United nears to a close, we remember the good choices and the panicked desperate January selections of the last 20 years…

 

 

Ferguson’s Top 3 Thrillers

 

 

Nemanja Vidic– Signed January 4th 2006 from Spartak Moscow for £7,000,000

 

287 Appearances, 20 Goals.

 

Speaking during the 2007/08 season, Sir Alex Ferguson had some complimentary words to say on the skilled Serbian, 

 

“Vidic has been the best centre half in the country this season. He’s been absolutely outstanding. You could see the difference his partnership with Rio Ferdinand made (for) us against Man City. That foundation of strength in the central defensive position is something we’ve been wanting for a long time, going back to Pallister and Bruce. We’ve had some good combinations but none lasted as long as hopefully these two will do.”

 

The then manager certainly had high expectations for the Serbian, and like a the fortune teller he was, these beliefs were duely confirmed.

 

Vidic has captained United to endless victories and trophies. Had it not been for frequent injuries, Vidics’ tally would most certainly be higher.

 

 

 

2006 was to certainly prove an extremely important year for choice signings, as another future United legend was recruited.

 

Patrice Evra– Signed January 10th 2006 from Monaco for £5,500,000

 

364 appearances, 9 goals

 

Evra was well sought after, and despite stiff interest from rivals Liverpool, Arsenal and Italian giants Inter Milan he still signed for United.

 

Fergie saw them both, Evra and Vidic as “stellar acquisitions”, and although Patrice did not have the best of starts, he soon developed and settled into the first team. At the time Sir Alex described him as, “very strong…he was quick, had superb technique and a strong personality.”

 

Nowadays, the French winger is certainly a well trusted player for United and often sports the captain’s armband in the absence of regular captain Vidic.

 

 

 

Andy Cole– Signed January 12th 1995- 29th Sept 2001 from Newcastle United for £7,000,000

 

275 appearances, 121 goals

 

Andy Cole, one of the most prolific Manchester United strikers of the 90’s was described by Sir Alex as, “always brave as a lion and always gave his best.”

 

Cole was on occasion a difficult character to deal with, although his partnership with Dwight Yorke was quiet phenomenal, scoring 53 goals between them in the 98/99 season.

 

Things may have appeared okay on the outside looking in,  as Cole’s upfront conglomerate with Teddy Sheringham in the 2000/1 season went from strength to strength. Meanwhile off the pitch Cole had this to say, 

 

“I’m pleased at the way my partnership with Teddy is going on the pitch…but we are still not talking.”

 

Perhaps Yorke was the only player Cole really clicked with, and after a trial paring with Ruud van Nistelrooy didn’t work, he was sold on to Blackburn Rovers.

 

 

 

Ferguson’s Top 3 Failures

 

 

Manucho (Mateus Alberto Contreiras Gonçalves) Signed January 1st2008-August 2009 from Petro Atletico for an undisclosed fee

 

When Manucho signed for Manchester United in 2008, fans were of the understanding, that like African players such as Eto and Adebayor, this player was bound for big things.

 

Unfortunately it seemed the Angolan was destined to fail right from the start.

 

Flanked with UK work permit problems, he was loaned out to Greek club Panathinaikos, before even playing a match for the British side.

 

Returning to training for the 2008/9 season, Manucho then managed to pick up a metatarsal injury. The unfortunate player managed to participate only twice as a measly sub for United following that injury, and was soon loaned out to Hull and subsequently sold to Spanish side Real Valladolid.

 

 

 

Dong Fangzhuo– Signed January 12th 2004-August 28th 2008 from Chinese side Dalian Shide for £500,000

 

3 appearances, 0 goals

 

In 2004 Dong became the first East Asian player to join Manchester United.

 

Amazingly he was on the teams books for four long years. Due to work permit problems, just like Manucho, it took an astonishing 3 years until Dong made his first official appearance for the club.

 

During the three year limbo Dong was loaned out to Royal Anytwerp, and when finally called up, played a paltry three games for United without scoring a single goal.

 

Fangzhuo returned to his previous Chinese club, Dalian Shide in August 2008.

 

 

 

Tony Coton– Signed January 31st 1996-July 18th 1996 from Manchester City for £500,000

 

Coton had the shortest spell of the three and perhaps the least memorable.

 

Coton was the understudy goalkeeper to Peter Schmeichel signing for a record fee between the two clubs.

 

After having a stellar career in Watford, he sadly never played a first team game for Utd, and only made the substitutes bench once. The unfortunate keeper was swiftly sold to Sunderland after 6 months, at a £100,000 loss for the club. He returned to become Goal Keeping coach for the Red Devils, and has since given his opinions on the problems the club has had filling Schmeichel’s boots.

 

0 appearances, 0 goals

 

 

The Chosen One

 

 

Juan Mata– Signed January 24th 2014 from Chelsea for £32,000,000

 

United have so far confirmed only one January signing, in the guise of two time Chelsea player of the year Juan Mata.

 

The Spanish attacking midfielder was signed on January 24th for a record £32 million.

 

Could he be the saviour Moyes and United have been waiting for? How will he fit into the team and will he mix well with the likes of Rooney and Van Persie?

 

At a very testing time for United, all eyes will be on the new signing, what he can bring, and just how will he fit in with the established players and an established set up?

 

The next few months could decide more then just the manager’s faith….

 

 

© Audrey Mulholland 2014

Irish Ladies Soccer Team On The Up

Ireland logo

Founded in 1973, the WFAI provided player and squad development eventually convincing the FAI to recognize women’s football as a competitive sport in its own right.

As the Irish men’s soccer team embarks on a new adventure, it looks like the women have some exciting times ahead themselves.

Currently ranked 34th in the FIFA World Rankings, and 19th in Europe, the Republic of Ireland Senior Women’s team is certainly progressing in the right direction.

The talent is definitely out there, as exemplified by Peamount United’s Stephanie Roche back in October. The buzz surrounding Ms. Roche’s wonder goal against Wexford Youths was immense drawing compliments from footballers and celebs alike including Gary Lineker and James Corden.

This was one of many displays of skill and talent by our Irish female footballers, however in general most of these incidents go undocumented due to lack of event broadcasting.

So just how can the FAI create a better buzz around a sport that is consistently dominated by men?

 

 

The History and Development of Women’s Football

Founded in 1973, the WFAI provided player and squad development eventually convincing the FAI to recognize women’s football as a competitive sport in its own right.

The squad played in the second division until 2004 when wins over Romania, Croatia, Bosnia& Herzegovina, and Malta provided promotion to the FIFA first division.

Eligible now to compete directly for FIFA Women’s World Cup, this should have been the catalyst to push on but it has taken a few years to reach their full potential.

 

 

World Cup 2015

 

Sue Ronan’s team are certainly at their best of late with wins over such teams as South Africa, Finland and our neighbours Northern Ireland, herein building confidence there could be a possible inclusion in our first World Cup in 2015.

 

 

WORLD CUP 2015 Qualifying     

           

28/11/’12    Fr        USA    5-0    Ireland         Portland, Oregan        

01/12/’12    Fr        USA    2-0    Ireland         Glendale, Arizona        

06/03/’13    CCup        Ireland    5-1    Northern Ireland        Larnaca, Cyrpus        

08/03/13    CCUp        Ireland    2-0    South Africa        Paralimni, Cyrpus        

11/03/13    CCup        Ireland    0-0    South Korea        Paralimni, Cyrpus        

13/03/13    CCup        Ireland    0-1    Finland        Paralimni, Cyrpus        

18/06/13    Fr        Ireland    2-2    Austria        Tallaght, Dublin        R

22/09/13    WCQ        Ireland    2-0    Slovakia        Carlisle Grounds, Bray        R

26/09/13    WCQ        Croatia    1-1    Ireland        Sinji, Croatia        R

30/10/13    WCQ        Slovenia    0-3    Ireland        Velenje, Slovenia        R

05/04/14    WCQ        Ireland        Germany        TBC        

07/05/14    WCQ        Ireland        Russia        TBC        

14/06/14    WCQ        Ireland        Croatia        TBC        

19/06/14    WCQ        Russia        Ireland        TBC        

20/08/14    WCQ        Ireland        Slovenia        TBC        

13/09/14    WCQ        Slovakia        Ireland        TBC        

17/09/14    WCQ        Germany        Ireland        TBC        

 

 

Soccer Schools

 

The FAI has many training schools in place for girls interested in the sport such as the FAI Aviva Soccer Sisters. This program for girls aged 7 to 12 has provided a great incentive for interest and participation in sport.

 

In saying that, would perhaps a school of excellence not deliver more? Something similar to the youth programs at Ajax and Barcelona perhaps?

These schools of excellence mainly recruit local kids, but every so often they may come across some foreign talent. Participation in this sort of venture could mean big things for Irish women’s club football and finally create the buzz the FAI has been waiting for.

Could we perhaps find the next female Ronaldo or Messi? Could this kind of venture create a broader interest in media coverage, sponsorship deals, and investments in women’s football?

 

 

Meet the Players

 

Emma Byrne-

ClubArsenal (goalkeeper)

Former Clubs St. Patrick’s Athletic and Danish side Fortuna Hjorring

Caps100

Goals0

AchievementsContributed to Arsenal’s Uefa Women’s Cup win 2007, FAI International Player of the year 2012.

Grace Moloney-

ClubReading FC (goalkeeper)

Former Clubs Ireland U17

Caps0

Goals0

AchievementsPlayed for the U17’s in the Women’s World Cup 2010, understudy to Emma Byrne.

Mary Theresa McDonnell-

ClubUnattached (Defender)

Former Clubs Boston Renagades, Sky Blue FC, Chicago Red Stars, St Louis Athletico

Caps21

Goals0

AchievementsScored 4 goals in 5 games for Boston Renagades in 2008.

Yvonne Tracey-

ClubArsenal (Defender)

Former Clubs Lifford FC, St Patrick’s Athletic

Caps77

Goals3

AchievementsContributed to Arsenal’s Uefa Women’s Cup win 2007, FAI International Player of the year 2002.

Louise Quinn-

ClubEskilstuna Utd (Midfield & defender)

Former Clubs Peamount Utd

Caps22

Goals2

AchievementsScoring the hat-trick which helped Peamount win the 2011 Uefa Women’s Championship League.

Megan Campbell-

ClubFlorida State University (Defender)

Former Clubs Raheny United

Caps19

Goals1

AchievementsHad a hand to play in Raheny United’s 2012 Bus Éireann Women’s National League title and FAI Umbro Women’s Senior Cup win. Megan is also a free kick and long throw specialist (Rory De Lap eat your heart out)

Maeve de Burca-

ClubEskilstunaUnited (Defender/Midfielder)

Former Clubs Salthill Devon, Amizon Grimstad

Caps29

Goals0

AchievementsWon the FAI Senior Women’s Cup with Galway Ladies in 2007.

Dora Gorman-

ClubPeamount United (Midfielder)

Former Clubs Salthill Devon

Caps6

Goals0

AchievementsReceived great commendation from spectators and team-mates for her humble displays in the 2013 ‘Med Cup’ win.

Jessica Gleeson-

ClubWexford Women’s Youth AFC (Midfielder)

Former Clubs Tramore AFC, Villa FC

Caps0

Goals0

AchievementsImpressed immensely in the UEFA U17 Championship final and World U17’s Cup quarter finals respectively earning her first call up for the international team to play the 2013 Cyprus Cup.

Rachel Graham-

ClubRaheny United FC (Midfielder)

Former Clubs N/A

Caps4

Goals 0

AchievementsWon the Bus Eireann Women’s National League and FAI Senior Cup 2012-13 with Raheny United.

Ruesha Littlejohn-

ClubGlasgowCity FC(Midfielder)

Former Clubs Liverpool FC, Scotland Under 17’s

Caps14

Goals1

AchievementsScored 7 goals against Inverness to secure Glasgow City’s Premier League title in 2010.

Shannon McDonnell-

ClubUnattached (Midfielder)

Former ClubsUniversityof Illinois, Windy City Bluesz, Chicago Gaels, ChicagoRed Stars

Caps8

Goals0

AchievementsAppointed camps director for Chicago Red Stars 2011.

Shannon Smyth-

ClubAmazon Grimstad (Midfielder)

Former Clubs N/A

Caps23

Goals1

AchievementsRegular squad player; scored her first Ireland goal in the Cyprus Cup 2013.

Aine O’Gorman-

ClubPeamount (Striker)

Former Clubs DoncasterRovers

Caps58

Goals5

AchievementsA born footballer and key squad member; Contributed a hat-trick to the 2010 FAI Women’s Cup Final triumph and netted the Bus Eireann Women’s League Cup with Peamount in 2010.

Sophie Perry-

ClubBrighton& Hove Albian (Defender)

Former Clubs England U23’s

Caps13

Goals 0

AchievementsWell experienced player as she represented England up to Under 23 level.

Fiona O’Sullivan-

Club SCFrieberg (Striker)

Former Clubs Chicago Redstars, CaliforniaStorm

Caps22

Goals10

AchievementsSix goals in five games during the 2011 World Cup qualifiers earned O’ Sullivan the prestigious FAI International Player of the Year 2011.

 

Niamh Fahey-

Club Arsenal (Midfielder)

Former Clubs Salthill Devon

Caps47

Goals0

AchievementsFAI Women’s Senior International Player of the year 2008, 2009, 2011.

Julie-Ann Russell-

ClubPeamount Utd

Former Clubs DoncasterBells, Salthill Devon

Caps24

Goals4

AchievementsIreland’s Under 19 player of the year 2010, Julie Ann scored the opening goal of Irelands World Cup 2015 campaign against Slovakia.

Diane Caldwell-

ClubAvaldness FC (Defender)

Former Clubs Raheny United

Caps27

Goals1

AchievementsWell experienced player having played for Ireland, Norway, USA and Iceland provincial teams.

Karen Duggan-

ClubPeamount United (Midfielder)

Former Clubs Piltown

Caps1

Goals0

AchievementsContributed to Peamount United’s Bus Eireann National League Cup win in 2013.

Sara Lawlor-

ClubPeamount United (Striker)

Former Clubs N/A

Caps7

Goals0

AchievementsBus Eireann’s National Women’s Player of the Year 2012 & 2013, Sara contributed 28 goals for Peamount making her top goal scorer. Ms. Lawlor will surely secure her place in the International squad to face USA in April’s World Cup qualifier.

 

Seana Cooke-

Club Raheny United (Defender)

Former Clubs St. Francis

Caps5

Goals0

AchievementsContributed to Raheny United’s inclusion in the 2012 Bus Eireann League Cup and the women’s 2013 Umbro Cup Finals respectively.

Grace Murray-

ClubPeamount United (Defender)

Former Clubs St. Francis, DundalkTown

Caps9

Goals0

AchievementsPlayed 9 Champions League games with St Francis and Peamount. Murraywon a FAI Women’s Cup medal with hometown, Dundalk United.

Deirdre Doherty-

ClubCastlebar Celtic (Striker)

Former Clubs IT Sligo

Caps3

Goals0

AchievementsDoherty’s notable performances for IT Sligo earned the player 3 Ireland caps inclusion in the Cyrus cup squad in 2013.

Denise O’Sullivan-

Club Glasgow City (Striker)

Former Clubs Wilton United (U14’s) Peamount United, Cork Women’s FC

Caps20

Goals5

AchievementsWon the Irish U14 Cup with Wiltonin 2008, contributing two goals. O’Sullivan scored against bitter rivals Rangers on her debut for Glasgow City in 2013.

Stephanie Roche-

ClubPeamount United (Striker)

Former Clubs Valeview, Cabinteely Girls, Stella Maris, Dundalk City, Raheny United

Caps24

Goals3

AchievementsThe aforementioned wonder goal for Peamount has most certainly shot Ms. Roche into the spotlight along with top goal scorer status for 2011/12 Bus Eireann Women’s National League. The infamous goal was uploaded on you tube by team manager Eileen Gleeson- Surely this kind of display should provide incentive for more coverage of women’s football on national TV?

Ciara Grant-

ClubRaheny United (Midfielder)

Former Clubs Kilmacrennan Celtic

Caps7

Goals0

AchievementsWon the 2009 FAI Women’s Intermediate Cup with Kilmacrennan Celtic. Medals for the 2012/13 Women’s National League and FAI Women’s Senior Cup can also be accredited to Ms. Grant.

 

Sue Ronan (Manager)

 

Current manager Sue Ronan previously played for the Irish international team and won the FAI Senior Women’s International Player of the Year in 1993.

 

So, what’s next for Ireland?

 

Having finished 2013 with just one defeat from eight games Ireland have already accumulated 7 points to bring forward against World number 2 Germany on April 5th next year.

 

Calling on Ireland fans to get behind the Women’s National Team when they play host to Germany, midfielder Julie Ann Russell exclaimed, “It will be a tough game…we definitely need to have plenty of home support for that game…”

 

Things look hopeful for this Irish team and the worldwide reaction to Stephanie Roche’s goal has given a lift to everyone involved.

According to Russell, “It’s been great publicity for the women’s game in Ireland” and the televising of the Women’s Cup Final live on RTE in November was a sure step forward for some very exciting coverage of Irish Women’s football.

 

Ireland’s World Cup 2015 qualifying campaign continues on April 5th 2014 in Dublin’s Aviva Stadium…

 

© Audrey Mulholland 2014

Exclusive Interview with Sue Ronan

Sue Ronan

As another pivotal time for Women’s Irish Soccer approaches, I had the pleasure of talking to the woman behind the national team, Sue Ronan. She talks candidly about the all-important World Cup qualifiers, and how the sport has evolved plus that brief meeting with Martin O’Neill

 

 

How are the team preparations for the all-important qualifiers coming along?

 

They’re going ok. We were at a training camp in La Manga in early January where we also played 2 training games v England and Holland, so that was very good prep for us. Are there plans to include new players for the Germany game on the 5th of April? I don’t think a game against the European Champions and World Number 2 is the game to introduce new players. Having said that, there are a number of young new players on the verge of breaking through – we’re actually bringing some of them to the Cyprus Cup with us next week. So if any of them prove they’re good enough in the games out there, they will certainly be included.

 

The media coverage surrounding Stephanie Roche’s wonder goal for Peamount United was remarkable. It certainly had media and audiences everywhere talking; do you think future coverage of occurrences like these will encourage avid interest in women’s football?

 

Yes the coverage and awareness of Stephanie’s goal was amazing and certainly helped promote awareness of our game here in Ireland. It’s unfortunate that a lot of the time with women’s sports it takes something like that or some sort of success to gain the interest in the press. But we’ll keep plugging away and hopefully our performances will merit that interest in the near future.

 

What has been your biggest achievement/most notable moment with the Irish team so far?

 

My time with the women’s team has really been one of re-building. When I took over from the previous manager, there were a lot of players coming to the end of their careers and a lot of US based players in the squad, so that’s something I’ve had to overcome and I think I’ve done that by introducing a lot of young players, many of our U17’s who wona silver medal in Europe in 2010. So that takes time and won’t give success overnight. But having said that we’ve had some good performances,for example holding Russia to a 1-1 draw at home, was a great achievement. So we’re looking for more success in the coming years.

 

How can the FAI as a body create a better buzz around a sport that is consistently dominated by men?

 

That’s a hard one to pinpoint. From ourpoint of view the FAI do a lot of work create awareness of the women’s game. We have lots of female only programmes going on at both grassroots and elite level, those programmes are definitely promoting the gamecountrywide. Also our international squads are treated exactly like the men’s squads in all respects. So hopefully one day all female sports will be treated as equal as their male counterparts are, because female athletes work just as hard and give as much time to their sport!

 

The FAI training schools such as FAI Aviva Soccer Sisters have provided a great incentive for participation in the sport; do you play any part in the schools?

 

I would have been involved along with Noel King in starting this programme in 2010 and it has been a great success. At this point I’d say around 18,000 girls have participated in Soccer Sisters, with many going on to join clubs, which is the ultimate idea of the programme – so it’s been agreat success. At this moment in time I’m not directly involved, but I do lend a hand to my colleague Emma Martin, who now coordinates them, in whatever capacity she may need.

 

Are there any youth team players we should watch out for in the future?

 

There are a lot of young players on our underage squads to look out for. But I wouldn’t like to single any out of them in particular as it may put them under pressure. I feel sure however that many of our current U16/17 & 19’s will make the women’s squad in year to come if they continue to develop asthey are doing right now.

 

With the addition of more foreign kids into our youth programmes could we perhaps find the next female Ronaldo or Messi?

 

Perhaps! There are already many young girls in Ireland with great skills, so you never know. How has the addition of the Women’s National League improved women’s football in Ireland? This has been a major factor in more of our home-based girls progressing to the national squad. In the past before we had a national league, many players who finished with the National U19 Squad disappeared off the radar so to speak. The reason being – they weren’t yet good enough for the women’s squad, but would no elite competition for them to play in, they weren’t challenged so didn’t develop as they could have done. So that gap has now been ‘bridged’, which is great and I’m looking forward to it going from strength to strength!

 

You played for the Irish National team in the 90’s, how do you think the sport has come along since then in terms of recognition and competition?

 

I don’t think there’s any comparison between when I played and now. For a start the structure here in Ireland has improved so much since then, that there are now opportunities for everybody regardless of their age or ability, so that’s obviously a huge positive. Also in terms of recognition, even though it can still improve, it’s now mostly taken forgranted by everybody that girls play football as well as boys, which wasn’t the case when I was growing up, so that obviously helps!

 

Who would be your sporting idol and why?

 

In football terms, as I’m a big Arsenal fan Denis Bergkamp & Thierry Henry were my idols! But nowadays while I don’t have any idols, I really admire other successful female athletes at home and abroad, teams and individuals. Our own stars like Katie Taylor and the Women’s Rugby Team have achieved great things and while Katie has got a lot of publicity since the Olympics, I still don’t think she or any of the others get credit for all the time, dedication and effort they put into their sport to be successful, which is a real pity.

 

Had your male counterpart Martin O’Neill any words of wisdom to offer when you met recently?

 

It was just a brief chat with all the other managers when he came into the job first, so not a one to one meeting as such. But he was very chatty and said to us all that his door is always open, so that was nice to hear.

 

Congrats on your UEFA Pro licence achievement; what does it mean for you personally and the sport?

 

Congratulations are a little premature as I’ve only just started it, so I won’t finish it and hopefully graduate until 2015. It’s been a great start so far – we were together this past week for 3 days and I found it very interesting and informative, so I’m looking forward to the rest of the course. But I think to finally have females onthe Pro Licence in Ireland shows how far women’s football has come and I think having that qualification will certainly give both Eileen Gleeson and I real credibility in the game going forward.

 

© Audrey Mulholland 2014

Exclusive Interview with Sue Ronan

As another pivotal time for Women’s Irish Soccer approaches, I had the pleasure of talking to the woman behind the national team, Sue Ronan. She talks candidly about the all-important World Cup qualifiers, and how the sport has evolved plus that brief meeting with Martin O’Neill…

How are the team preparations for the all-important qualifiers coming along?

 

They’re going ok. We were at a training camp in La Manga in early January where we also played 2 training games v England and Holland, so that was very good prep for us. Are there plans to include new players for the Germany game on the 5th of April? I don’t think a game against the European Champions and World Number 2 is the game to introduce new players. Having said that, there are a number of young new players on the verge of breaking through – we’re actually bringing some of them to the Cyprus Cup with us next week. So if any of them prove they’re good enough in the games out there, they will certainly be included.

 

The media coverage surrounding Stephanie Roche’s wonder goal for Peamount United was remarkable. It certainly had media and audiences everywhere talking; do you think future coverage of occurrences like these will encourage avid interest in women’s football?

 

Yes the coverage and awareness of Stephanie’s goal was amazing and certainly helped promote awareness of our game here in Ireland. It’s unfortunate that a lot of the time with women’s sports it takes something like that or some sort of success to gain the interest in the press. But we’ll keep plugging away and hopefully our performances will merit that interest in the near future.

 

What has been your biggest achievement/most notable moment with the Irish team so far?

 

My time with the women’s team has really been one of re-building. When I took over from the previous manager, there were a lot of players coming to the end of their careers and a lot of US based players in the squad, so that’s something I’ve had to overcome and I think I’ve done that by introducing a lot of young players, many of our U17’s who wona silver medal in Europe in 2010. So that takes time and won’t give success overnight. But having said that we’ve had some good performances,for example holding Russia to a 1-1 draw at home, was a great achievement. So we’re looking for more success in the coming years.

 

How can the FAI as a body create a better buzz around a sport that is consistently dominated by men?

 

That’s a hard one to pinpoint. From ourpoint of view the FAI do a lot of work create awareness of the women’s game. We have lots of female only programmes going on at both grassroots and elite level, those programmes are definitely promoting the gamecountrywide. Also our international squads are treated exactly like the men’s squads in all respects. So hopefully one day all female sports will be treated as equal as their male counterparts are, because female athletes work just as hard and give as much time to their sport!

 

The FAI training schools such as FAI Aviva Soccer Sisters have provided a great incentive for participation in the sport; do you play any part in the schools?

 

I would have been involved along with Noel King in starting this programme in 2010 and it has been a great success. At this point I’d say around 18,000 girls have participated in Soccer Sisters, with many going on to join clubs, which is the ultimate idea of the programme – so it’s been agreat success. At this moment in time I’m not directly involved, but I do lend a hand to my colleague Emma Martin, who now coordinates them, in whatever capacity she may need.

 

Are there any youth team players we should watch out for in the future?

 

There are a lot of young players on our underage squads to look out for. But I wouldn’t like to single any out of them in particular as it may put them under pressure. I feel sure however that many of our current U16/17 & 19’s will make the women’s squad in year to come if they continue to develop asthey are doing right now.

 

With the addition of more foreign kids into our youth programmes could we perhaps find the next female Ronaldo or Messi?

 

Perhaps! There are already many young girls in Ireland with great skills, so you never know. How has the addition of the Women’s National League improved women’s football in Ireland? This has been a major factor in more of our home-based girls progressing to the national squad. In the past before we had a national league, many players who finished with the National U19 Squad disappeared off the radar so to speak. The reason being – they weren’t yet good enough for the women’s squad, but would no elite competition for them to play in, they weren’t challenged so didn’t develop as they could have done. So that gap has now been ‘bridged’, which is great and I’m looking forward to it going from strength to strength!

 

You played for the Irish National team in the 90’s, how do you think the sport has come along since then in terms of recognition and competition?

 

I don’t think there’s any comparison between when I played and now. For a start the structure here in Ireland has improved so much since then, that there are now opportunities for everybody regardless of their age or ability, so that’s obviously a huge positive. Also in terms of recognition, even though it can still improve, it’s now mostly taken forgranted by everybody that girls play football as well as boys, which wasn’t the case when I was growing up, so that obviously helps!

 

Who would be your sporting idol and why?

 

In football terms, as I’m a big Arsenal fan Denis Bergkamp & Thierry Henry were my idols! But nowadays while I don’t have any idols, I really admire other successful female athletes at home and abroad, teams and individuals. Our own stars like Katie Taylor and the Women’s Rugby Team have achieved great things and while Katie has got a lot of publicity since the Olympics, I still don’t think she or any of the others get credit for all the time, dedication and effort they put into their sport to be successful, which is a real pity.

 

Had your male counterpart Martin O’Neill any words of wisdom to offer when you met recently?

 

It was just a brief chat with all the other managers when he came into the job first, so not a one to one meeting as such. But he was very chatty and said to us all that his door is always open, so that was nice to hear.

 

Congrats on your UEFA Pro licence achievement; what does it mean for you personally and the sport?

 

Congratulations are a little premature as I’ve only just started it, so I won’t finish it and hopefully graduate until 2015. It’s been a great start so far – we were together this past week for 3 days and I found it very interesting and informative, so I’m looking forward to the rest of the course. But I think to finally have females onthe Pro Licence in Ireland shows how far women’s football has come and I think having that qualification will certainly give both Eileen Gleeson and I real credibility in the game going forward.

 

Irish Ladies Soccer Team On The Up

 

 

A History of Manchester United in the last chance saloon

http://www.shekicks.net/flog/interviews/post/959

My exclusive interview with Ireland manager Sue Ronan..

Blur at Royal Hospital Kilmainham

036

Damon and crew burst onto the stage just after nine with ‘Girls’ and Boys’ to a rapturous roar.

The crowd sure were in good spirits especially as the weather had managed to hold off, although an always looming dark cloud hovered above us. According to Damon and Natasha Kann earlier it would not rain and like in answer to the two singers it didn’t.

There was no messing about as the band lashed out one big tune after the other including ‘Popscene’ ‘There’s no other way’ and the heavy guitar strumming ‘Beetlebum.’

In homage to ‘Coffee and TV’ some fans held up milk cartons and even one dedicated devotee dressed as the famous milk carton from the video which was indeed well received by the band.

‘Tender’ was most definitely a pivotal point of the performance as the whole crowd played their part chanting back in unison to Coxon, “Oh my baby, oh my baby.”

Anticipation was high at what was next to come as the beautiful chorus of instruments introduced ‘To the end’ and as per the lyrics we may have just then somewhat “collapsed in love.”
A song so apt nearly 20 years on, “It looks like we might have made it…to the end” which we sure all agree that yes they have.

While ‘County House’ ensues I overheard one reveller exclaiming, “It’s just like Christmas morning” as Damon simultaneously jumps into the crowd paving the way for a storm of good auld moshing.

‘Parklife’ saw the nostalgic reunion of Blur and Phil Daniels as guest quickly followed by the amazing ‘End of a Century’ the song I and I’m quite sure a few others were waiting for and were now “all made up.”

‘This is a low’ and new song ‘Under the Westway’ provided a chance for us all to chill out and prepare for the concluding part of the gig. The latter being pure class certainly went down a treat and would not seem out of place in their back catalogue as a perfect contrast to the big 90’s hits.

With our hearts clearly etched in 90’s Brit pop heaven we boomed out the chorus of ‘For Tomorrow’, “ooh la,la,la,la,la,la” whilst waiting for something big nonetheless wishing it would never end.

‘The Universal’ was truly worth the wait as Damon perfectly controlled the crowd like a conductor and us his followers, “well here’s your lucky day.” It sure was a lucky day for a few that managed to get a touch of Damon as he flayed into the crowd yet again.

The night was wrapped up in typical style as ‘Song 2’ thundered from the stage and we all hopped around in our own little blur heaven.
© Audrey Mulholland 2013

Little Green Cars at Vicar Street May 11th 2013

Little Green Cars

With the release of debut album Absolute Zero and a string of quality festivals already lined up the future certainly looks bright for this highly talented Dublin quintet. Long has this band waited for their time of recognition and that time is now.

Ironically so, it was now their turn to keep the almost sell-out crowd brimming with anticipation until the very last second as they opened with the lyrics, “I’ve been waiting for a long-time.” As Faye blasts out her haunting vocals from the opening number, ‘Red and Blue’ she indeed has a way of controlling the crowd whilst waking them up from a slight slumber.

Eagerness for the big ones sure is high and ‘Angel Owl’ does a good job at changing the pace with what one might call an ode to Irish band Director’s hit ‘Reconnect’. (Have a listen and you’ll see what I mean)

‘Please’ is to follow, again displaying Faye’s amazing sexy low pitched vocals and then time for Steve to shine on ‘Little Red Dragon’ which he indeed does and then back to Faye for more of the previous on ‘Kitchen Floor’.

“Sick as them…”Yes you sure are LGC, perhaps ‘sick’ and reminiscent to someone like Bell X1. You can truly tell this band have worked together for a long time as their pure unison is always present.

The theme throughout the gig was one of a build-up and when it came to ‘My Love Took me Down to the River’ the audience were on a unified high as wild guitar beats ensued and everyone in the crowd sang the lyrics back to the stage.

Little Green Cars-John Wayne

‘John Wayne’ was of course welcomed with open arms and worked perfectly as a follow up being the better known of the two and perhaps the highlight of the night. As Steve sang the lyrics, “slowly falling in love with you” I can assure that for myself and everyone in the audience this is life imitating art with us doing just that for Little Green Cars…

The night was perfectly wrapped up with an encore of slower songs, ‘Goodbye Blue Monday’ and ‘The Consequences of not sleeping’ creating a feeling of intimacy and the sense that you just witnessed the awakening of something very special.

Little Green Cars debut album, Absolute Zero is out now….
© Audrey Mulholland 2013

Little Green Cars at Vicar Street May 11th 2013

With the release of debut album Absolute Zero and a string of quality festivals already lined up the future certainly looks bright for this highly talented Dublin quintet. Long has this band waited for their time of recognition and that time is now.

Ironically so it was now their turn to keep the almost sell-out crowd brimming with anticipation until the very last second as they opened with the lyrics, “I’ve been waiting for a long-time.” As Faye blasts out her haunting vocals on opening number, ‘Red and Blue’ she certainly has a way of controlling the crowd whilst waking them up from a slight slumber.

Eagerness for the big ones sure is high and ‘Angel Owl’ does a good job at changing the pace with what one might call an ode to Irish band Director’s hit ‘Reconnect’. (Have a listen and you’ll see what I mean)

‘Please’ is to follow, again displaying Faye’s amazing sexy low pitched vocals and then time for Steve to shine on ‘Little Red Dragon’ which he indeed does and then back to Faye for more of the previous on ‘Kitchen Floor’.

“Sick as them…”Yes you sure are LGC, perhaps ‘sick’ and reminiscent to perhaps someone like Bell X1. You can truly tell this band have worked together for a long time as their pure unison is always present.

The theme throughout the gig was one of a build-up and when it came to ‘My Love Took me Down to the River’ the audience were on a unified high as wild guitar beats ensued and everyone in the crowd sang the lyrics back to the stage.

 ‘John Wayne’ was of course welcomed with open arms and really worked perfectly as a follow up as the better known of the two and perhaps the highlight of the night. As Steve sang the lyrics, “slowly falling in love with you” I can assure that for myself and everyone in the audience this is life imitating art with us doing just that for Little Green Cars…

The night was perfectly wrapped up with an encore of slower songs, ‘Goodbye Blue Monday’ and ‘The Consequences of not sleeping’ creating a feeling of intimacy and the sense that you just witnessed the awakening of something very special.  

Little Green Cars debut album, Absolute Zero is out now….