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Dublin: 3°C Tuesday 26 January 2021
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Irish eye: Wolves put down

It was a mixed weekend for our boys. Reading and Wolves traded places, while the PFA announced it’s teams of the year.

Image: Nick Potts/PA Wire/Press Association Images

EVERY MONDAY, WE scan the passports, check the family trees and cross-reference with the “granny rule” to keep you informed about the ups and downs of all the Irish (and Irish-eligible) footballers in England and Scotland. Think of us as the Tardelli to your Trap, if you will…

Premier League

No Irish player scored in the top division, but any disappointment at that is tempered when put in contrast to the situation at Wolves.

Since Mick McCarthy’s ill-planned sacking, the Midlands outfit have managed to clock up just two points from a possible 30.

Kevin Doyle’s low goal-scoring return has been worsened by his apparent lack of confidence with the rest of his game. The Wexford man only came on as a substitute in the defeat against City. Last week, he readily admitted his battle weariness to reporters:

It is hard to keep going every week for three years when you are in and out of the bottom three and looking over your shoulders and every week is a ‘must-win’ game.

Here’s hoping that Doyle along with his Irish team-mates Stephen Hunt, Kevin Foley and Stephen Ward, can either earn a move away from Molineux this summer or bounce right back within 12 months.

Elsewhere, there was a notable lack of goals when four Irish stars took to the pitch at Villa Park. Shay Given will be pleased with that outcome – his first clean sheet in over five weeks -as will the returning John O’Shea.

The former Manchester United man made his comeback from a calf injury as a fullback in the drawn game. Stephen Ireland and James McClean, two attackers who (to varying degrees) are hoping to be a part of Giovanni Trapattoni’s plans failed to make an impact this time round.

One man who didn’t come anywhere near a clean sheet this weekend was Everton’s Darron Gibson. Up against his former club, Gibson was part of a dominant three man Toffees midfield which negated United’s Paul Scholes and Michael Carrick in the first half, before recovering from a 3-1 and 4-2 deficit to win a point with the improbable 4-4 scoreline.

Ian Harte celebrates the recent win over Southampton / Adam Davy/EMPICS Sport

Championship

There are honours aplenty to be had when we glance down a division. Ian Harte has been voted into the Championship team of the year by the PFA. At the ripe old age of 34, Harte has been a revelation for Reading – who secured the title on Saturday – scoring four goals off that magic left boot this season.

The strong Irish influence will hopefully continue as Reading move into the top flight. Karl Sheppard has scored five in his eight appearances for the Royals.

League One

No goals this weekend, but another couple of names on the PFA team of the year. Stephen Quinn of second-placed Sheffield United was picked in a midfield berth on the dream team alongside Stephen Gleeson.

Gleeson won two senior caps for Ireland during the 2007 summer tour of the US. Now with the MK Dons, the former Cherry orchard star helped his side to a 1-0 win over the the Blades on Saturday. A result which reinforces their playoff credentials.

A further step down in League Two; Derry native Eunan O’Kane was also nominated onto the team of the year for his performances with Torquay United.

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About the author:

Sean Farrell

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