Seamus Coleman to miss Republic of Ireland qualifier sauce
2012 European Championship
Qualifying Group B: Republic of Ireland v Macedonia
Seamus Coleman is sidelined for the Euro 2012 qualifier
Republic of Ireland midfielder Seamus Coleman has pulled out of Saturday night's Euro 2012 qualifier against Macedonia in Dublin.
The Everton player will miss the Group B encounter at the Aviva Stadium because of an ankle injury.
Newcastle United striker Leon Best withdrew from the squad on Wednesday, also with an ankle problem.
Manager Giovanni Trapattoni says West Ham striker Robbie Keane will be fit to lead the Republic.
The 30-year-old has managed just a few minutes as a substitute in West Ham's FA Cup defeat by Stoke since returning from a four-game injury lay-off.
Keane trained with the Irish squad on Tuesday and Trapattoni has no worries about his skipper's lack of match time.
"I am confident about Robbie. He can start the game," said the manager.
"Maybe after 60 minutes, we can look at other options. We need experience in this game.
"I saw Robbie in training and I am confident of getting a good result."
Keane, on loan at Upton Park from Tottenham, was unable to play against his parent club on Saturday under the terms of the agreement between the clubs.
Trapattoni is also hopeful that Richard Dunne will be able to take his place in the heart of the Irish defence.
The 31-year-old stayed at Aston Villa for a further day of physio as he continues his recovery from a shoulder injury amid speculation over his future at the club following a much-publicised outburst during a bonding session.
Dunne's presence is vital, particularly as John O'Shea has withdrawn from the squad with a hamstring injury.
Trapattoni said: "The Villa physio said it would be better to stay one more day."
Manchester United midfielder Darron Gibson continues treatment for a toe injury, while Stoke striker Jon Walters will not join up until Thursday as his wife prepares to give birth.
The absence of vastly-experienced keeper Shay Given, who is recovering from a recurrence of his shoulder problem, means there will be a first competitive appearance for Coventry's Keiren Westwood.
Poor bb!! He's been one of the few bright spots about Everton's season and scored quite a few goals of late (including at the weekend), and is an all-round exciting to watch and versatile player (he can play in right-mid or at RB). Gutted for him, but the silver lining is that, at 22, he definitely has plenty more oppportunities to shine.
Lawrence slams players switching allegiance sauce
Ireland winger Liam Lawrence has blasted players for considering representing the country under a flag of convenience.
Jamie O'Hara of Wolves and Stoke's Jermaine Pennant have both suggested in recent times that they could declare themselves eligible for the Republic.
But Lawrence, who was Pennant's team-mate at Stoke before joining Portsmouth on a permanent deal in the January transfer window, has countered that, saying the duo - and others - should not think of playing for the nation because they have no chance with England.
"The only thing I know upsets us," Lawrence said, "is when people are trying to juggle between England and Ireland. That's the only issue, really, and it's not just me saying that. It doesn't look good, does it?
"We don't dislike these people, it is just some of the comments they come out with when they are saying they are juggling between Ireland and England – you just don't want it, do you?"
Lawrence, who was born in Nottinghamshire and qualifies to play for the Republic because of his Kerry-born grandfather, has had to make the transition himself, and admits he was nervous to begin with.
"What with the accent and all the rest of it and being born over there?" said Lawrence when asked about his fears of being accepted into the Irish squad. "Yeah, maybe I was nervous if you like when I first came over and I know it is always in the back of people's minds, things like that."
Coming from a man who himself was born in Nottingham, this is a bit rich. :p I do get his annoyance though, the feeling that some English players come to play for Ireland only if they know they're "not good enough" for England when Ireland is a moar than excellent NT in its own right. (and, from where I'm standing, R.O.I has far more team spirit & unity than England could ever dream over having.) But Barry Glendenning off The Guardian's football weekly podcast, who is actually Irish and thus I feel has more authority on this matter than I, makes the point that he would love to have Jamie O Hara playing for his NT, and Jermaine Penant "has his uses" (sauce), so whilst their motives might be dubious, if it gets talented footballers playing more and caring about their NTs, so be it.
Kilbane hoping to keep up his good run as cap 109 beckons sauce
THE LAST Republic of Ireland starting line-up for a competitive game that didn’t feature the name of Kevin Kilbane was back in the dim and distant past of October 1999.
Should Giovanni Trapattoni decide to end the player’s remarkable run on Saturday there would be a certain symmetry to it all. The opponents in that 1999 game were Macedonia, as they are again in Dublin in two days’ time.
With Kevin Foley set to start his first competitive game for his country, replacing the injured John O’Shea at right back, the odds might still be in favour of Kilbane being selected at left back for his 65th consecutive competitive international.
The assumption, though, that the manager might be reluctant to opt for a second full back inexperienced at this level was somewhat dispelled earlier in the week by Trapattoni himself when he pointed to the number of games Ciarán Clark has played for Aston Villa this season (24 in all, 18 in the Premier League).
Despite having made his Ireland debut only last month, against Wales, the 21-year-old would, then, appear to be pushing Kilbane, 13 years his senior, hard for that left back slot.
And desperate as he is to win his 109th cap on Saturday, Kilbane showed no reluctance in talking up the young pretender’s credentials.
“He has been outstanding for Aston Villa, he’s playing in the top flight, so of course he’s going to be considered,” he said.
“He’s a strong candidate – definitely. He seems to be very, very calm, very collected in himself, nice and modest too.
“It looks like he has a big future, although we always say that about young players, don’t we? We build them up – and you can put the kiss of death on them. But if he can carry on the way he is then I think he’ll be okay.
“He’s chomping at the bit, really, and I think he’ll be a regular for us for years, but then you’ll have the likes of Greg (Cunningham) coming back into the equation too.
“There’s always somebody else who is emerging, that’s just the nature of the game.”
Kilbane, now playing in the third tier of English football with Huddersfield (currently second in League One), where he is on loan from Hull City, was left out of the squad for the game against Wales, but was assured he would be recalled for the Euro 2012 qualifier against Macedonia.
“I had a text from him (Trapattoni). Basically, it was to say he was playing other players and I wasn’t needed for the friendly, but he did say that I’d be back in for this game. And I’m just pleased that I’m here again.
“I feel very fit, I’ve played about 20 games since I went to Huddersfield – full games, so I’ve got to be happy with that. I feel good, very good, but I fully realise that there is a quality difference from the third tier of English football to playing international football.
“I’m just hoping that I’ve got enough experience, enough about me, to see me through if I’m called upon.”
“We knew when he came here that he wanted to keep playing for the Republic, if possible,” said Huddersfield manager Lee Clark yesterday, commenting on Kilbane’s absence for the club’s league game against Notts County on Saturday. “The number of caps he has won speaks for itself, because you don’t get a total like he has by luck.”
But, after almost 12 years as a fixture in Ireland’s starting line-up, Kilbane now waits to see if he has been usurped by one of the squad’s newcomers, or if, once again, he holds on to his place in the side.
“It’s a difficult decision, but that’s why (Trapattoni) is the manager, he has to make these decisions. Nothing has been discussed.
“It will probably be Friday before we know, so we’ll wait and see. Hopefully, I’ll be in the team – if I’m not, I’ll just be supportive of the player that’s playing in my position.”
If he was the manager? “I’d go with myself all day – I’d be captain and all!”
Euro 2012 qualifying: Ireland fixtures
March 26th : Macedonia (h)
June 4th : Macedonia (a)
September 2nd : Slovakia (h)
September 6th : Russia (a)
October 7th : Andorra (a)
October 11th : Armenia (h)
Awwwwww :-D I absolutely adore Kev Kilbane. I'll say it repeatedly, he may not be the best, but he has a commedable work ethic and always gives 100%. It's between Ciaran Clark and him for the start on Saturday, but personally, I hope he gets it. I think he's a model profesional, really. Also, Macedonia and Ireland is somewhat of a grudge match for Kilbane, so here is his perfect chance to exorcize a few personal demons. Just don't score any own goals, Kev!
This is how Group B stands:-
|2||Republic of Ireland||4||7|
Ireland need to train to beat Macedonia!
Unfortunately I can't find any non-watermarked training pics of the Ireland NT, but, lettuce be honest... Kilbane, Dunne... this isn't a team I watch for the eye candy. :-p
But yeah, come on Ireland!!! I'll end with a Shay Given quote about the Macedonia game: “The country is in safe hands. I have been very impressed by him since he has come into the squad. Clubs will be looking at him in the summer as I believe his contract is up and no disrespect to Coventry, but he can move to a bigger club. The whole country will be behind him and the team on Saturday. We have got to win and get three points if we are realistic about qualifying. It’s been too long since we were at a major finals. The nation needs a pick-up and the best way of doing that is by qualifying. We have a realistic chance, but it will be tough. Worst-case scenario, we make the play-off and get a favourable draw.” Given himself is out due to injury, but, preach bb!
Aaaaaand, I was kind of hoping to avoid mentioning England at all in an Ireland post, but, Crouchie, I knew there was a reason why I loved you. ;)