Boys in Green

Irish eyes: Ciaran Clark takes the headlines after top-flight double

It was a good weekend for the Boys in Green in England and Scotland’s top flights.

IT WAS A decent weekend for the Irish, particularly on the goal-front, with three Irish players scoring in the English Premiership and two on the mark in Scotland’s top flight.

It was a massive weekend for former Irish manager Mick McCarthy with a tremendous fightback which earned Wolves a vital three points.

Ciaran Clark – Aston Villa

A bad day for his side, but Ciaran Clark can certainly be happy with his weekend’s work. He scored both goals in Aston Villas 4-2 loss to Arsenal.

Clark, who recently changed international allegiance from England to Ireland, netted a brilliant first goal after 52 minutes, with a tremendous turn and quality strike from 18 yards. A goal that would not have looked out of place at the Camp Nou.

Eight minutes later Clark had found the net again. Clark nodded the ball in after it rebounded off the cross-bar from fellow Irish man Richard Dunne’s header. Both Clark and Dunne played the 90 minutes, with Stephen Ireland coming on as a substitute after 66 minutes.

Kevin Foley – Wolves

A rare opportunity to wear the captain’s armband, and boy did he take it during Wolves 3-2 win over Sunderland.

The pressure of being captain did not get to Foley and he rose to the occasion putting in a great performance and capping it with a very well-taken goal. The Dubliner is very dependable in defence and there is notable improvements in his attacking abilities in recent weeks.

He showed his versatility during the game by playing in two positions during the game and did everything not to let his team-mates heads drop when they went two one down.

Stephen Ward also returned to the starting line-up for Wolves and was just as impressive as Foley. How he can’t get into Ireland squads is quite puzzling. Kevin Doyle was his usual industrious self and Stephen Hunt made a massive contribution when he came on by scoring the second

Keith Fahey – Birmingham

Being an Irish player who is consistently starting, Fahey is quite a rarity now. He played 85 minutes of Birmingham’s predictable 1-1 draw with

Before the game Birmingham had 7 draws, and Fulham had eight draws, so the result was never in doubt. Fahey was decent throughout but rarely got an opportunity to display his undoubted talent.

Worryingly both Stephen Kelly and Damien Duff were unused subs for Fulham.

Elsewhere there was more bad news for Robbie Keane, he was yet again not in the squad for Spurs impressive 2-1 victory over Liverpool.

John O’Shea, who appears to be sinking out of the starting 11 picture at Old Trafford, was again an unused substitute for Manchester United.

Leon Best returned to the Newcastle squad. Rory Delap played the full 90 minutes for Stoke while Marc Wilson and Jon Walters both came on in
the second half.

Conor Sammon – Kilmarnock

Simply bang in form at the moment and there have been tentative calls for him to be selected for Ireland. Sammon scored from a rebounded shot to grab his 14th goal of the season.

Then in the second half Sammon played a great ball into the box to Eremenko, who was fouled for a penalty. The penalty was dispatched and Kilmarnock won 2-0.

Richie Foran – Inverness Caledonian Thistle

The Dubliner netted in Caley Thistle’s impressive 2-2 draw away to Celtic.

In recent weeks it has been Adam Rooney grabbing the headlines but Foran has proven his worth time and time again. He made the most of a defensive slip by Celtic to get his goal while Rooney played the full 90 minutes.

For Celtic, Daryl Murphy played 78 minutes and was replaced by Anthony Stokes.

Michael Maher writes abour Irish football at GreenScene