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Where are they now? The last Irish team to play Poland away in a Euros qualifier

Ahead of this tonight’s vital Euro 2016 qualifier, we recall a similarly important game game 24 years ago.

Chris Morris featured in the Irish team that drew 3-3 with Poland on 16 October 1991.
Chris Morris featured in the Irish team that drew 3-3 with Poland on 16 October 1991.
Image: INPHO

IT’S BEEN ALMOST 24 years since Ireland last met Poland in a competitive fixture away from home.

Like tonight’s game, the Euro 92 qualifier was of much importance to both sides.

The game ended 3-3 in a match that ultimately cost Ireland a place at the European Championships in Sweden, as even after beating Turkey 3-1 in their final group game, they failed to advance, famously getting knocked out without ever losing a single game in the qualifying round.

Goals from Paul McGrath, Andy Townsend and Tony Cascarino had put Jack Charlton’s side into the driving seat, as they led 3-1, but the Poles hit back, with an 86th-minute goal from Jan Urban ensuring the points were shared.

Of the team that day, there are still many relatively familiar faces, including current assistant manager Roy Keane. Here’s what they’re up to now…

Packie Bonner: Bonner went on to win 80 caps for his country in total, and is widly considered to be one of the best goalkeepers Ireland have ever produced. Since retiring, he has done sporadic TV work and was named as the FAI’s technical director in 2003, having also served as goalkeeping coach before then. He now works for Uefa and recently released an autobiography.

Denis Irwin: Another Irish player who went on to become a legend both for his country and at Manchester United. Irwin also pursued a career in the media after retiring, working as a presenter on MUTV and as a pundit for RTÉ.

Steve Staunton: Went on to feature in two World Cups and win over 100 caps for Ireland, before having a short, ill-fated spell as manager of the Irish team during the Euro 2008 qualifiers. Since then, he has worked in various coaching roles at Leeds, Darlington, Middlesbrough and Sunderland.

David O’Leary: One of the more experienced members of the team at that point, O’Leary would retire from football shortly thereafter, having a mixed career at international level, which saw him banished from the team for a number of years before returning and scoring the decisive penalty in 1990 World Cup last-16 game against Romania. A managerial career that followed was equally bittersweet, and encompassed spells at Leeds, Aston Villa and Al-Ahli.

Kevin Moran: Another experienced player at the time, Moran went on to make the squad for the 1994 World Cup but didn’t play due to injury. He has since formed a football agency and also has done occasional work as a pundit for TV3.

Andy Townsend: Retired from international duty in 1997, having made 70 appearances for Ireland and captained the team in the 1994 World Cup, nowadays Townsend is best known for his role as a co-commentator with ITV.

Paul McGrath: McGrath would subsequently star for the Irish team in the 94 World Cup, before retiring after their failure to reach France 98. After stepping away from the spotlight, he published an autobiography, Back from the Brink, which was named William Hill Irish Sports Book of the Year, while the ex-United defender was also named director of football at Waterford United in 2004. McGrath was also among the spectators cheering on the Boys in Green at the Aviva Stadium on Thursday night.

Roy Keane 16/10/1991 Roy Keane of Ireland on the attack. Source: ©INPHO

Chris Morris: One of the less renowned members of this team, Morris earned 35 caps for Ireland in total between 1987 and 1993, and enjoyed spells at Sheffield Wednesday, Celtic and Middlesbrough over the course of his career. He now works at his family business, ‘Morris Pastries,’ and coaches the Bodmin College football team.

Roy Keane: Then a relatively inexperienced youngster, Keane would go on to become arguably the best Irish footballer ever, before becoming a coach and TV pundit. He is currently assistant manager of the senior side.

Tony Cascarino: Cascarino scored his fair share of goals for Ireland, before an ignominious conclusion to his international career saw him involved in a brawl at the end of a Euro 2000 playoff against Turkey. He has since become a prominent media commentator and is also now a semi-professional poker player.

Kevin Sheedy: Another veteran player at the time, who had been part of both the Euro 88 and Italia 90 squads, Sheedy’s international career finished shortly thereafter. He was previously assistant manager at both Tranmere and Hartlepool, and has been part of Everton’s coaching staff since 2006.

Subs

John Aldridge: Ultimately scored 19 goals in 69 appearances for Ireland in a career that encompassed an infamous foul-mouthed outburst at the 94 World Cup. He subsequently spent five years as manager of Tranmere and now works as a pundit with various media organisations.

Alan McLoughlin: McLoughlin would go on to score the famous goal that took Ireland to the 1994 World Cup and also featured as part of the squad for the Euro 96, World Cup 98 and Euro 2000 qualifying campaigns. He became a popular local radio pundit before working as a coach at Portsmouth and releasing an acclaimed autobiography.

Terry Phelan: Phelan ultimately won an impressive 42 caps for Ireland, and played with a number of teams in England, including Chelsea, Everton and Man City. He now works as a football coach, overseeing various teams in recent years, including Charleston Battery and Otago United.

David Kelly: Kelly accumulated a decent scoring ratio of nine Ireland goals in 26 appearances and was memorably on target during the controversial abandoned 1995 Lansdowne Road friendly between England and Ireland. He has worked in a number of coaching roles since retiring, and is now Scunthorpe’s assistant manager.

Gerry Peyton: The last Bournemouth player to play for Ireland before Harry Arter, Peyton’s international career ended later that year. He now works as a goalkeeping coach with Arsenal.

Manager

Jack Charlton: Took Ireland to the 1994 World Cup, before stepping down after their failure to qualify for Euro 96 and retiring from the game.

A version of this post was originally on 26 March 2015.

Analysis: How Ireland pulled off a famous victory against the world champions>

Letter from Warsaw: ‘One team with everything to lose; one with everything to gain>’

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About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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