At Last: An All-Ireland XI- On Wearside….

Now I don’t want this to descend into another thread on the merits- or otherwise- of an all-Ireland international football team, but I couldn’t resist the headline given the news that David Healy is on the verge of signing for Ireland’s favourite ‘second-supported’ Premiership side, Sunderland (owned by the Drumaville Consortium, sponsored by Boylesports, managed by Roy Keane, Chairman Niall Quinn and currently experiencing a remarkable surge in support across Ireland- as the youngsters with Sunderland strips will testify.) Consider this line-up: Colgan, McCardle, McShane, Miller, Reid, Kavanagh, Meyler, Healy, Murphy, O’Donovan, Connolly Subs: Carson (Gk), Hourihane.
Remarkably, all are Irish. Unsurprisingly, the lineup wouldn’t exactly put the fear o’ God into Premiership opponents though….

  • the future’s bright, the future’s orange

    a fiver they’ll go down lol
    Naw, Fulham, Hull and Stoke are pretty rubbish too. Good to see so many irish players in the top flight, although if it all goes pear shaped for sunderland then Keano may get a but of stick for buying all the paddy’s!!
    Hope Healy does well, but I don;t think he’s a top flight player.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    I’m glad they signed himm – like to see him do well but not sure he’s good enough – and Keane has a habit of signing too many players of not sufficient quality. I think they are going to sign Cisse as well – who is of sufficient quality.

    I fancy them for mid-table. But you cant rule out fisticuffs with Quinn and a mid-season walkout by the boy Keane – who by the way has an uncanny resemblance to the President of Iran – the one with the funny name like something-or-other-dinner-jacket.

    I love the joke, I got form the brother, that Keane and Mick Collins, both from Cork are the 2 biggest Irish traitors of all time.

  • RG Cuan

    Ahmadinejad? Not unlike the Corcaigh langer i have to say, though Keane would still take him, even without nuclear support!

    Great to see so many Irish men playing together… all the best to Healy.

  • Niall

    I dunno about this Roy, there must be loads of lower division English talent as good as many of these Irish lads and cheaper for not being internationals? Evans would be the one from these parts I would want of course.

    Good luck to all of them, if they all play together they’ll need it!

    The other players Keane bought are pretty decentat least.

  • Check out the Scotsman comments to see the Scots’ comments about the Hampden game NI fans, rule Brittania, booing of GSTQ etc. They’re a mix of bemusement (e.g. they’re irish what are they singing that for?) to digust (e.g. pathetic and much worse insults too rude to be printed here). As some guy said, United Kingdom? You’re avin a larf!

  • the future’s bright, the future’s orange

    going off topic……. again…….

  • Greenflag

    It’s all a devious plot by the canny Corkman :). He gets all these prospective Irish international players on the one team in Sunderland and there you have it- the future ‘world cup ‘ qualifiers get to play and train together every week 🙂

    Trappatoni probably put the word out . Now they have to work on Healy to ahem ‘come over’ and join the winners.

    No harm in dreamin eh ?

  • Yellowford

    I think we can all see what awaits. An All-Ireland team is the only way football in Ireland can progress, on the domestic front and on the international scene. The Setanta Cup is the pre-cursor. Just a litmus-test to see if the likes of Glentoran can play in the Brandywell or if Cork City can play in Winsor Park. We now see that they can. With money tight and standards poor, the only logical way forward is to almalgamate the two leagues behind lucrative sponsorship and live television deals. With more money, more proficient players, a better youth system and larger attendances to be had, my guess this will be sooner rather that later, maybe within the next 5-10 years(esp after it was announced that the IFA ran at a 300k deficit last year – not good for the bureaucrats within).
    The national team merger will be the next logigal step. There will no doubt be difficulties in team selection, association positions, game venues, national antemns etc., but for the good of the game and for the supporter who wants to go to the big tournaments, these wrinkles must be ironed out.

    BTW, Martin O’Neill for manager – probably the only man who can relate to an All-Ireland soccer team.

    All other sports in Ireland can do it. Why can’t football?

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    If this Sunderland all Irish set-up is successful it will be a great ‘subliminal’ ice breaker in a way for all those who vehemently oppose an All-Ireland soccer team! Sure ain’t the 2 Irish soccer leagues gonna join up in a few years time?

  • WindsorRocker

    Does every football thread have to keep droning on about an All Ireland football team…..?

    (Suppose people need something all ireland to go on about now that they’ve given up that 32 county republic thingy)

  • slug

    David Healy will have a better chance of regular games at Sunderland. Roy Keane is alot keener on Healy than his Fulham manager was.

  • smcgiff

    A good move for Sunderland and Healy.

  • Doctor Who

    Yellowford so what are your thoughs on the Sunderland team.

    It´s not unusual for managers to bring in players they relate to. Terry Neill had a lot of Irish players (NI and ROI) when he was manager of Arsenal, Arsene Wenger has had upto 8 French palyers at a time playing for his Arsenal side although Keane´s Sunderland paddy´s are not exactly world beaters.

    Anyway good luck to David Healy MBE who has had to put up with alot of bullshit recently from people with ulterior motives.

  • smcgiff

    Doctor Who,

    Don’t forget Benitez and his Spanish imports. 🙂

    Although this may be a case for employing Spanish rather than, say, Irish managers! 🙂

  • Alan

    I would love hear from someone who supports an all Ireland football team as why they think it would improve our chances of competing on the world stage. I look at the so called all Ireland rugby team and think, what have they ever done on the world stage.

    What championships have the all Ireland hockey teams ever won?

    The cricket team competed at the world cup which was great but the standard of cricket played over the summer here at club level is poor.

    I have no idea how many other sport’s are all Ireland, well apart from bowl’s that is . Maybe someone will enlighten me.

    I really don’t think an all Ireland football team is going to happen at any time in the neat future.

    If it was to happen who’s to say it won’t end up like rugby with the soldier’s song and tricolour as the emblem’s of the team. The I.R.F.U. have treated the unionist’s who support this team like second class citizen’s. Even through the day’s of the provo’s death and destuction campaign to have this flag flying over N.I. they still travelled south to support what they thought was their team and had to stand respectfully for what was the provo’s anthem. I can’t imagine football fan’s doing that.

  • iluvni

    sure the all-Ireland select GAA team cant even beat the one team they play on the international stage.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    a great British league is the only way to go, eventually ending up with a Great British team, which could be world beaters.

  • RG Cuan

    sure the all-Ireland select GAA team cant even beat the one team they play on the international stage.

    Indeed, but it’s not Gaelic they play but an odd amalagation of football and Aussie Rules. Ireland have one before though, not just last year.

    Anyway, off topic…

  • RG Cuan

    *won

    Wow, should go to bed now…

  • janeymac

    Alan
    ‘I look at the so called all Ireland rugby team and think, what have they ever done on the world stage.’

    At least the rugby team is competitive on the world stage. It gets to play in one of the two most prestigious rugby competitions every year (6Ns) which actually funds rugby in Ireland and allows us to have 3.5 competitive provincial teams (Connacht Rugby gets less funding than the other 3). It is also doubtful without the financial support of the IRFU there would be professional rugby in Belfast with your better talent also having to move away (just like the footballers) to make a living.

    btw, Connacht rugby are the only ones treated like second class citizens by the IRFU.

    iluvni
    “sure the all-Ireland select GAA team cant even beat the one team they play on the international stage”

    Actually, its pretty even – both countries have won 14 test matches each. Not bad for a crowd of amateurs, eh?

    Now, how does England v Aus compare in the Cricket?

    Oh, and the GAA (Croke Park funds) have certainly ensured that there are plenty of GAA stadia around the country. In fact, the GAA were wealthy enough to send 1 million over to New York last year to help build some facilities in a shared ground.

    It would seem that the all-Ireland sports at least have somewhere to play their sport.

    Back on topic – Healy could have a good partnership with Kenwyne Jones when he comes back from injury. Keane obviously sees something in him to give him a 3 year contract – hopefully it works out for them all.

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘sure the all-Ireland select GAA team cant even beat the one team they play on the international stage.’

    Its not GAA they play. Its called compromise rules or international rules, a cross between the native football and aussie rules. It is a great game to watch. I was at the last one in Croker, didn’t think it was as rough as the media made out. I believe Ireland has won several of the series, but i think Autrailia lead it by one or two.
    Which is a testament to the GAA players involved as its professional sportsmen Vs amateurs.

  • USA

    Wathced Sunderland play out a very dour game first day of the season. Liverpool scraped a 1-0 win. Irish lad called Murphy played up front for Sunderland, he did not have a good game and I wonder if he can cut it at premiership level (although I understand one game is not really enough to judge a guy on). I would expect Healy to do better that this guy but will he do enough? Time will tell, jury is still out on Healy for me as I had him in last years Slugger Fantasy football and he let me down bucketfuls, but I hope he succeeds at Sunderland. Took Carew from Aston Villa instead this year.
    I totally agree with Yellowford in post number 8 about the Irish league / international team. Its an absolute no brainer. I think those who oppose it are the ones letting their political preferences blinker their judgement.

  • Billy

    Healy may get more of a chance than at Fulham.

    However, although he has done very well for the North, he is simply not a Premiership class player.

    That’s why Fulham have moved him on and replaced him with better players.

    I expect that he will spend most of this season on the subs bench as a squad player and then move on to a Championship club next summer.

    That would be a better move for him as he would get a regular game and score more goals at that level.

    In short, he’s a good championship level player but never a Premiership class player.

  • eddie boots

    Healy had better not bring his orange flute with him or Keano’ll kick the sh*te clean out of him.

  • I expect that he will spend most of this season on the subs bench as a squad player and then move on to a Championship club next summer.

    He may not have to move clubs to play in the Championship next season…

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    “a great British league is the only way to go, eventually ending up with a Great British team, which could be world beaters.”

    I agree UMH. A Great British soccer team would be great! …….. ahem!

  • Tochais Si­orai­

    A big reason for Sunderland buying so many (mostly second rate) Irish players is down to money. Keep a strong Irish connection and the budget flights from Ireland to NE England will be full of ‘fans’ filling the ground and spending lots of dosh in the club shops.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see Sunderland putting their reserve games (more Irish in that team!) on Friday nights so they wring more money out of their weekend visitors.

  • janeymac

    Tochais Siorai
    Think Keane is the big attraction for most Irish fans – Sunday Business Post had an article on the marketing/hierarchy value of Irish sporting stars a week or so ago. Although retired as a player, Keane is still No. 1 sporting icon.

    It went Keane 1, Harrington 2, Sonia 3, Brian O’Driscoll 4, Ronan O’Gara 5 (interesting that all of those are either from Cork or have Cork connections – parents) LOL.

    Sunderland always had a fairly sizeable contingent of Irish born players. If you want to watch Irish footballers you can always go to an Irish League game. If travelling to Sunderland, I’d say most people would prefer to watch Cisse, Jones & Dioufy!

    Sunderland are well capable of a mid-table placing this season.

  • Liam

    Obviously Sunderland are being astute with their financing by tapping into the wealth of potential support over here. Expect to see an extensive pre-season tour around Ireland every year until the project comes to an end!

    BoyleSports sponsorship is also clever cross-border exposure, no flies on Niall Quinns disco pants!

    All the best to them, hope Healy becomes their new Kevin Philips and the wee man/big man of Quinn and Philips worked extremely well for them in the passed, could work with Healy and Jones! Diouf and Cisse will just frustrate I think but as somebody has mentioned earlier, Keane is adding bags of pace to his squad (Not including wee David in this).

    On the subject of an all Ireland National team and league, I personally think it is the way forward! For football to be taken seriously on this island (which it isn’t by anyone other than ourselves) a nationwide league needs to be developed with a real structure reaching down from the highest level to amateur league. Merging the islands leagues into a two or three tier competition will increase the standard of the football at lower levels and improve revenue and sponsorship throughout island.

    A lot of work would need done first and I have no confidence in the IFA or the FAI to implement such a strategy, not without funds being squandered and an abundance of red tape!

    I would hope that one day a national squad could go and represent the Island of Ireland in European and world competitions as George Best once envisioned. I admit it could be some way off when taking into account the Neil Lennon incident and Bigotry in both camps. Windsor’s worst stood alongside the ‘Brainy Bunch’ from Hill 16 is a recipe for disaster the way things stand at the moment. Issues such as anthems and flags would need to be addressed in a mature and constructive manner as would a way of rotating the venue for these international games.
    A hell of a lot of work would need to be done in order to sell this project to the hard core season ticket holding elements.

    On a lighter note a friend of mine is a hardcore Sunderland and Rangers fan who has a tendancy to be somewhat extreme in his views of the north. He is finding this whole SundIreland development very hard to deal with! Bless!

  • Liam

    Excuse my typo’s above, I have no fingers but an abundance of thumbs!

    Slan

  • Liam

    Excuse my typo’s above, I have no fingers but an abundance of thumbs!

    Slan

  • Charlie

    Delighted by this move! Think Keano will bring out the best in David and if all goes according to plan, it’ll raise his game for NI’s World Cup qualifiers and he’ll also become a firm favourite with Sunderland’s hordes of fans from the Republic thus helping undermine some of the sectarian ballix that some are so eager to keep perpetuating….the lad’s an Irish footballing hero and should be celebrated as such ….good luck David!

  • Ulsters my homeland

    “[i]On the subject of an all Ireland National team and league, I personally think it is the way forward! For football to be taken seriously on this island (which it isn’t by anyone other than ourselves) a nationwide league needs to be developed with a real structure reaching down from the highest level to amateur league.”[/i]

    Liam, an all-Ireland league and all Ireland national team will only become second to a British Isles league. You’re claim that it will make people from afield take football seriously on this island, is flawed and is a petty attempt to have both countries playing under one nationality. It’s like saying there needs to be a combined Welsh and English national team for Welsh football to be taken seriously. We all know that’s not true, but somehow there has to be an Irish national league and team for it to work over here.

    A British Isles league(s) [or call it by some other name] is the only way football on this island will be noticed.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi All,

    Talk of an all-Ireland league being taken seriously is wishful thinking. There aren’t enough people living in Ireland to make it the success you wish for. Take rugby for example, the Heineken Cup is a success. But, we can only realistically support 3 teams. Even then, most games have to be played on Friday nights to get reasonable attendances. Linfield/Cork just isn’t going to woo the crowds in! You can also be fairly sure that none of the Irish players in the Premiership would be looking for transfers to an all-Ireland league team. Therefore, I also would be on the side of an all islands league. Although, it would be more likely be a UK league, as this is the arrangement FIFA would like. Whether that would happen tho’ is another thing. For a start you’ll have nationalists from Scotland, Wales and N. Ireland arguing against it. And that would be if the English even decided to go for it! Which I’d say would be highly unlikely as at least 3 or 4 English clubs would be demoted to allow in Celtic and Rangers plus a few other also rans.

    An all Ireland football team could happen quite easily as has happened in the past. As the senior institution it would be the IFA running it, playing at Windsor/the Maze under the Union Flag and standing for GSTQ. Not sure everyone is on for that. Probably the most ardent “for sporting reasons” all Ireland fans leading the reasons against.

    So, in summing up, there won’t be an all-Ireland team. There may well be an all Ireland league. But, the attendances will be grim and won’t rocket Irish football (either jurisdiction) up the world rankings.

    PS Based on the medal count, who thinks team Ireland should join team GB∋for the next Olympics? For sporting reasons of course…

  • janeymac

    UMH
    “A British Isles league(s) [or call it by some other name] is the only way football on this island will be noticed.”

    That is never going to happen (lets face English premier league club are not going to want it).

    Worth looking at how rugby has developed (as that has been recently professionalised). Club Leagues (All Ireland) – Interprovincials – moving onto Celtic League (Wales/Scotland/Ireland) – Heineken Cup (which has made its way to these shores x 3 times in the last 10 years). Clubs from Scotland or Wales have never won it!

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Janeymac,

    The all-ireland rugby league isn’t a massive success judging by the attendances I’ve witnessed. The irish league gets way bigger gates. No one really cares about the Celtic league either. Afterall, it nearly folded a few years ago. The Heineken Cup is the only comp in town. Because it has the necessary critical mass for success.

  • WindsorRocker

    Indeed Congal, what about a Great Britain and Ireland team just like years ago?

    Sure we could all stand under the Union Flag as the St Patrick’s cross is there for all us Irish.
    Then all of Ireland would see their boys win medals and not just the northern bit!

  • 33rd County

    The IFA- Irish Football Association or the Incompetent Football Association

    The FAI- Football Association of Ireland or the Football Association of Incompetence

    Am I the only one who finds this completely asinine?

    At the very least the IFA should change their name to the TBFATHTBINI ( I know its a mouthful), which stands for the Thoroughly British Football Association That Happens To Be In Northern Ireland (by the Grace of God and Her Majesty)

  • WindsorRocker

    [i]”In short, he’s a good championship level player but never a Premiership class player.

    Posted by Billy on Aug 22, 2008 @ 05:13 AM”[/i]

    There is a school of thought that suggests he is more suited to a league like La Liga where he gets more time on the ball, like in internationals, rather than being involved in the ultra fast Premiership.

  • WindsorRocker

    Naw 33rd county,

    The IFA are the original Irish Football Association…….. no need for name changes.

  • RepublicanStones

    If they’re irish whats with the apron strings to Britain about?

  • the future’s bright, the future’s orange

    All very well for Sunderland to sign these Irish/Northern Irish players, however, the majority of them are mediocre at best. When they win, they may be described as the fighting Irish, but if they lose, sunderland fans will be wondering why they heck they’re paying to watch ireland rather than a top class premiership outfit.
    All a bit short-sighted by Keano.

  • All very well for Sunderland to sign these Irish/Northern Irish players, however, the majority of them are mediocre at best. When they win, they may be described as the fighting Irish, but if they lose, sunderland fans will be wondering why they heck they’re paying to watch ireland rather than a top class premiership outfit.
    All a bit short-sighted by Keano.

    If sunderland are not sucessful then I could see there been a backlash from home grown sunderland supporters.Some of the irish players brought in by keane are not top class(i would think that healy is one of the better ones).Mind you all sins will be forgiven if they do well.Why put yourself in this situation by buying so many players from one country though I believe that sunderland do have problems attracting some of the foreign stars.

  • Realist

    “If they’re irish whats with the apron strings to Britain about?”

    RS,

    Being Irish and British are not mutually exclusive.

    If you need clarification on the status of the IFA, read Definition 4 in the FIFA Statutes.

    Pleased for Sir David that he has got a move away from Fulham to another Premiership club – I honestly thought that he would have to drop a league.

    I would have tended to agree with Billy’s analysis, and feel that this is Sir David’s last chance to prove himself a Premiership player.

    So long as he keeps scoring for Northern Ireland, I’m not overly concerned where he plays his club football at tho.

    Roy Keane will be disappointed that he couldn’t land another Northern Ireland star – Jonny Evans – permanently too. Fergie must rate the kid highly, as I think he slapped a £10M price tag on him.

  • USA

    Just watched Sunderland again today. This time against Tottenham, Murphy was terrible up front again for Sunderland. If Keane keeps playing him then I would have to question his judgement.

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    “PS Based on the medal count, who thinks team Ireland should join team GB∋for the next Olympics? For sporting reasons of course… ”

    No way Congael Clan….Much better that we stand on our own two feet. Great to see our individuality recognised internationally! Better than being in the shadow of England with an English queen as head of state and English government calling the shots! This insistance of using the concept of an all inclusive ‘Britishness’ is rather obsessive!

    1 potentially gold/silver and 2 bronze medals isn’t bad for ‘our wee country’ Ireland!

    Erin abú!

    BTW Great win for Sunderland today.