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Rounding up all of the Irish involvement in the third round of the FA Cup

There were almost 40 Irish players in action across the third round of English football’s revered competition.

Shane Long in action for Southampton against Derby County.
Shane Long in action for Southampton against Derby County.
Image: Mike Egerton

LIKE THE ‘MAGIC’ bit in The Magic of the FA Cup™, Irish involvement at the very top of the English game has become a diminished tradition.

This will be the eighth-straight May without an Irish international parading the Premier League trophy since John O’Shea and Darron Gibson were part of Manchester United’s title-winning squad, while O’Shea also holds the dubious distinction of being the last Irishman to play for an English team in the Champions League, a fact lamentably dating to that same 2010/11 season. 

These days, Irish players are entwined with the lower reaches of the Premier League and beyond, and it is with the levelling of the playing field on FA Cup third-round weekend that this reality is most obvious.  

O’Shea was an unused substitute in Reading’s 2-0 defeat to Manchester United over the weekend; a game in which the sole Irish link is tenuous at best: Liam Kelly - so frequent a fall-guy of Martin O’Neill’s winnowing of bloated provisional squads that he now isn’t so sure he wants to play for us – played the full 90 minutes in midfield. 

As is becoming a tradition within the Cup’s best tradition, Pádraig Amond slayed the biggest giant. Having earned Newport County a replay against Spurs in last year’s third-round, the Carlow man scored a late penalty for the same club to chop the legs from relative giants Leicester City. Mark O’Brien, a product of Cherry Orchard, played the final couple of minutes for Newport.

Another Irish goalscorer was Paddy Madden, who scored once for Fleetwood Town in what proved to be a 3-2 defeat to AFC Wimbledon, who themselves were without new signing Dylan Connolly. 

Gillingham produced the other big shock of the round. In beating Cardiff City 1-0, they did so with a trio of Irish players: former Irish under-21 internationals Bradley Garmston and Callum Reilly along with Mark Byrne, once of Crumlin United.

For Cardiff, neither Harry Arter nor Greg Cunningham appeared, with the latter absent following some thinly-veiled criticism from Neil Warnock over his recent league performance against Spurs. 

Seamus Coleman was once again an unused substitute for Everton in their 2-1 win over Lincoln City. While the Irish captain faces an unhappy fight to dislodge Jonjoe Kenny from the first-team, his compatriot James McCarthy will be glad to be in a position to kick anyone out of the team: he was on the Everton bench for the first time since breaking his leg a year ago. There was an Irish player among the opposition midfield, too. 33-year-old Lee Frecklington played a single Irish ‘B’ international in 2006. 

Shane Long played in that same ‘B’ tie, and he has become a kind of unerring playmaker for Ralph Hasenhuttl of late: Long set up Nathan Redmond’s opener in Southampton’s 2-2 draw with Derby County.

Redmond, who is being linked with a switch to Ireland, scored both goals against a Derby defence featuring intensity’s Richard Keogh

Another potential Irish international, Will Keane, came off the bench for Ipswich in their 1-0 defeat to Accrington Stanley. 

Meanwhile, committed, surely-can’t-play-for-England-now Irishman Declan Rice played all of West Ham’s win over Birmingham. 

Elsewhere, Cork City fans could indulge fantasies of an alternative future as Kieran Sadlier and Sean Maguire came off the bench for Doncaster and Preston respectively, with Alan Browne and Graham Burke also involved in the latter’s 3-1 defeat. Former Irish U21 keeper Ian Lawlor played the full game for Rovers.

Another former Irish U21 international, Anthony Forde, endured all ninety minutes of Rotherham’s 7-0 battering at Man City, while Shane Duffy set up Brighton’s third goal in a 3-1 win over Bournemouth.

Kevin Long and Jeff Hendrick both played all of Burnley’s 1-0 over Barnsley, the latter having recently lost his place amid the club’s relative Premier League surge. 

West Bromwich Albion v Crystal Palace - Carabao Cup - Third Round - The Hawthorns Wes Hoolahan has been rolling back the years for West Brom. Source: Mike Egerton

Wes Hoolahan rolled back the years with a man-of-the-match performance against Wigan, impressing to the extent that West Brom are mulling over extending his expiring contract to the end of the season. 

James McClean made less of an impact for Stoke City in a 1-1 draw with League One’s Shrewsbury, while Scott Hogan spurned a rare starting opportunity in Aston Villa’s 3-0 defeat to Swansea. 

Callum O’Dowda played all 90 minutes of Bristol City’s 1-0 win over Huddersfield while Darragh Lenihan and Derrick Williams both played for Blackburn in their 1-1 draw with Newcastle, for whom Ciaran Clark sat on the bench and Rob Elliot was nowhere to be seen. 

Happily, 17-year-old Irish youth international Luca Connell made his debut for Bolton in the dying embers of their 5-2 win against a Walsall side featuring Irish U21 midfielder Liam Kinsella.

Elsewhere, Alan Judge and 21-year-old Chiedozie Ogbene were both used substitutes for Brentford in their 1-0 win over Oxford United; Aiden O’Brien started Millwall’s 2-1 win over Hull City, with Shaun Williams appearing from the bench; Ronan Curtis and Paudie O’Connor started for Portsmouth and Blackpool respectively while John EganEnda Stevens and David McGoldrick were all unused subs for Sheffield United. 

Ryan Manning sat on the QPR bench in victory over Leeds, while Conor O’Malley scooped the ball out of his own net five times against a Middlesbrough side without Darren Randolph. 

James McKeown, another goalkeeper who played twice for Ireland at U19 level in 2007 and 2008, was part of the Grimsby Town team that fell to an agonisingly late defeat to Crystal Palace. 

There were two Irishmen involved in Luton’s goalless draw with Sheffield Wednesday: former underage international Alan McCormack, and striker James Collins, who has scored thrice for Ireland at U21 level. 

The weekend isn’t quite over yet, as there remains one game to be played – expect Matt Doherty to play for Wolves against Liverpool, who have Cork’s Caoimhin Kelleher on the bench as Alisson Becker is given the weekend off. 

Finally, while he’s retired from Irish duty, it would be remiss to ignore Daryl Murphy’s appearance for Nottingham Forest in a 2-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge, primarily for the song that wafted from the travelling support in the direction of Alvaro Morata… “You’re just a shit Daryl Murphy”. 

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