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Irish players' involvement in Premier League falls to record low

14 Irish players accumulated just under 10,000 minutes action this season, less than half of last season’s total.

IRISH PLAYERS’ INVOLVEMENT in the Premier League fell to a record low in the 2021/22 season, with 14 players totalling 9,940 minutes of action. 

It represents a steep decline from last season’s total – which added up to 22,244 minutes – and is also considerably lower than the previous lowest total: the 19,351 minutes accumulated across the 2018/19 season. 

pjimage Matt Doherty, Caoimhin Kelleher, and Seamus Coleman. Source: Alamy

Irish players ranked 18th in the Premier League for total minutes by nationality, immediately behind Sweden and just ahead of Wales. 

14 Irish players made at least one Premier League appearance this season, with Everton captain Seamus Coleman accounting for just over a quarter of the total Irish minutes, with Nathan Collins next on the list.

As it stands, Collins won’t be in the Premier League next season following Burnley’s relegation. Adam Idah and Andrew Omobamidele were also relegated with Norwich, with both enduring injury-dogged seasons which limited them to 625 and 382 minutes’ action respectively. 

Shane Duffy played the third-most minutes among Irish players with Ciaran Clark fourth, though the latter ended the season as an outcast as he was left out of Newcastle’s Premier League squad after Eddie Howe’s appointment. Clark has also fallen out of favour at international level. 

Matt Doherty’s total of 875 minutes would have been significantly higher had it not been for the knee injury he sustained against Aston Villa in April. 

Of the 14 Irish players who made an appearance in this season’s Premier League, three have been relegated while another two were loaned out to the Championship midway through the season. 

The steep decline in playing minutes when compared to last season is largely explained by the relegations of Sheffield United and West Brom: all of David McGoldrick, John Egan, Enda Stevens, and Dara O’Shea played more than 2,000 minutes each of that Premier League season. 

Though this season marks a sudden if explicable drop-off, it continues a trend of diminishing Irish involvement in England’s top flight. 

In the Premier League’s very first season, 1992/93, Irish players clocked a total of 64,034 minutes’ action: almost six-and-a-half times’ this season’s total figure. 10 years ago, Irish players totalled just over 55,000 minutes, leaving Ireland second only to England in accumulated minutes. 

The total fell below 30,000 minutes for the first time in 2016/17, and has not exceeded that benchmark since. 

The Irish Premier League 14 

Seamus Coleman

Club: Everton

Appearances: 30

Total minutes: 2,656

Goals: 1 

Nathan Collins 

Club: Burnley 

Appearances: 19 

Total minutes: 1,670 

Goals: 2

Shane Duffy 

Club: Brighton 

Appearances: 18 

Total minutes: 1,436

Goals: 1 

Ciaran Clark 

Club: Newcastle 

Appearances: 13 

Total minutes: 1,014

Goals: 0 

Matt Doherty 

Club: Tottenham 

Appearances: 15

Total minutes: 875

Goals: 2 

Adam Idah 

Club: Norwich 

Appearances: 17 

Total minutes: 625

Goals: 1 

Andrew Omobamidele 

Club: Norwich 

Appearances: 5 

Total minutes: 382

Goals: 1 

Kevin Long 

Club: Burnley

Appearances: 6 

Total minutes: 410 

Goals: 0 

Shane Long 

Club: Southampton 

Appearances: 13 

Total minutes: 308 

Goals: 1 

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Caoimhin Kelleher 

Club: Liverpool 

Appearances: 2 

Total minutes: 180 

Clean Sheets: 1 

Aaron Connolly 

Club: Brighton (Loaned to Middlesbrough in January) 

Appearances: 4 

Total minutes: 156 

Goals: 0 

Will Smallbone 

Club: Southampton 

Appearances: 4 

Total minutes: 133

Goals: 0 

Jeff Hendrick 

Club: Newcastle (Loaned to QPR in January) 

Appearances: 3 

Total minutes: 72 

Goals: 1 

Evan Ferguson 

Club: Brighton 

Appearances: 1 

Total minutes: 23 

Goals: 0 

Source: FBRef 

Originally published at 16.52

About the author:

Gavin Cooney

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