More confusion from IFA quarters over football eligibility on the day Nigel walks

24 hours ahead of Irish football’s latest big showdown (and on the day when Nigel walked from Windsor), the IFA’s elite player mentor, Gerry Armstrong, has signalled a volte face in the approach of the northern football authorities to the issue of player eligibility, complaining that players are being asked at too young an age to decide to represent the Republic of Ireland.

Slugger regulars will know that, previously, the IFA complained that youngsters were entering into their youth structures before switching to represent the Republic, and in the process taking up places which could have been reserved for players wishing to proceed to represent Northern Ireland when they grew older. (Daniel Collins’ piece remains the most comprehensive and impressive analysis of the eligibility dispute to date.)

Here’s a quote from soon-to-be ex-international manager, Nigel Worthington:

“It’s frustrating and disappointing that a lot of time, energy, commitment and finance goes into these players over a period of years and then when they are 17, 18, 19 or even 20, there is the opportunity for them, because of the ruling, to vacate to another country,” he said.

And here’s a quote from the Our Wee Country-aligned GAWA blog on the matter:

A few of the players in question have stated that they support the Republic of Ireland which they have a right to do, however, why waste the Irish Football Association’s time and money in playing for the Northern Ireland youth sides if this is the case? Using scarce funds (which the fans contribute to through ticket and merchandise sales) in their training and travel to then ‘jump ship’ after representing Northern Ireland is wrong. Taking the place of another player who actually wants to represent Northern Ireland is wrong.

And recently retired NI captain, Aaron Hughes (7 mins in) lamented the fact that players were taking up places in the youth structure before departing for the Republic:

“They’ve come up through the youth system….and all of a sudden they go….they’re also taking a spot and playing in a team where someone is missing out on the chance to get some caps, to learn experience…if they make that decision a bit earlier, then give someone else a chance to further their career.”

Of course, this has not prevented Northern Ireland from calling up for international duties players who have gone through the youth structures of other international sides. But clearly that’s a side issue…

 But it does suggest some confusion within IFA ranks over how to deal with the issue, with the man tasked with halting the flow of players to the Republic shunning the earlier strategy of attempting to curry sympathy by complaining about players availing of places in underage sides now making an issue of efforts to ensure such players enter the Republic’s youth structures.

  • keano10

    Bizarre. Armstrong concedes what has already been legally decided and ratified by both FIFA and The Court of Abritation – that under The Good Friday Agreement, players from The North have the right to play for The Republic. So whats his problem?

    I’ll tell you what it is. Gerry is now taking a salary from the IFA with the prime responsibility of “persuading” young Northerners not to play for The Republic. His success rate to date has been absolutely zero. After claiming that he had ‘turned’ Newcastle’s Shane Ferguson, the young Ferguson promptly disappeared off the radar and refused to play for The North.

  • Mark

    Relationships between the FAI and IFA aren’t the best at the moment and there seems no end in sight . This row still has plenty of legs .

    The only saving grace at the moment in relation to the row not exploding is the fact that the players in question are crap .

    Law of averages suggests there’s a little Georgie Best out there somewhere waiting to be discovered . And when he is , that’s when things could turn nasty .

  • keano10

    The IFA need to get real and accept that many young Northerners regard The Republic of Ireland as being their national team. It’s got sod all to do with anthem changes at Windsor Park or any if that bollix that gets pandered around by the Alliance Party and others. These kids would no sooner play for The North than they would for England.

  • Mike the First

    “These kids would no sooner play for The North than they would for England”

    If by “these kids” you mean Shane Duffy, James McClean, Darron Gibson, Paul George, Daniel Kearns, etc – they DID play for Northern Ireland.

  • lamhdearg

    hints that shane is not refusing to play for n.i. but refused to play under Nigel abound.
    Chris, if gerry can draw some light on what hes claimed has happened, then the F.I.A. would not only be seen to be not telling the truth but also be seen to be proper stinkers, he only trying to do his job,
    whats the chances of us getting the shamrock duo, and with young irish nats play for them?.

  • lamhdearg

    he is, and, will.

  • keano10

    Mike,

    The North have been every bit as proactive in harranging players to recruit them at under age levels. But make no mistake, every single one of the players you named have all said that they only ever supported The Republic all their lives and only ever want to play for their senior international team.

    And do you what the likes of Gerry Armstrong dont get? That some of these kids will never actually play for The Republic cos they wont be good enough. But they still would rather opt for them than earn 60 caps for The North. That should tell its own story. This whole issue has nothing to do with the anthem at Windsor or recruiting Catholics to attend matches there. It is about the freedom to express national identity. The right to play your country as you deem fit.

  • BluesJazz

    Does anyone give a shit about international football these days? Certainly none of the England ‘team’ do. Both Irish sides are as shite as Wales, and Scotland only passable.

    Club football is the only game in town for the elite, euro 2012 already looks like an ersatz version of the world club championship. We only want to see Spain, Holland and Germany anyway. The World cup adds Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina.

  • Obelisk

    BluesJazz you act as if this entire dispute is about sport, when in fact it can be traced right back to the eternal dispute between the two tribes of the North.

    Some people want to maintain the Northern Ireland team as a symbol of their separate identity. And if they had to water down some of their cherished symbols in order to make it more attractive to the other tribe, then some amongst them would console themselves that they were weakening the bonds between the Irish of the North and the Irish of the South.

    Similarly, I would prefer a single team for the Island. Primarily because I believe one team and one league with a greater pool of talent to draw on would be much more successful. But it would also reflect my belief in the unity of the nation of Ireland, and hopefully a step in the long term towards eventual political union.

    As the situation is now, what is the inevitable effect of all these players jumping ship when they are able. What happens if a skilled young Protestant decides he’d rather play for a more successful team and opts to play for the Republic? Is the IFA destined to be inevitably ghettoised as the years pass and this keeps happening?

  • stewart1

    You would really think at this stage that someone within the IFA could actually understand the eligibility rules.

    But they seriously have no idea & local sports journalists have even less of an idea.

    The GFA had no real bearing on the issue as players from the north were just as eligible to represent Ireland prior to the GFA as they are now.

    I could go on, but the link below explains all.

    http://playereligibilityinireland.blogspot.com/2011/06/fifa-player-eligibility-in-context-of.html

  • FuturePhysicist

    What happens if a skilled young Protestant decides he’d rather play for a more successful team and opts to play for the Republic?

    Many have, most notably Alan Kernaghan who was raised in Bangor. The IFA refused to play the “granny rule” and Alan who wanted to play for the GAWA joined the Boys in Green instead.

    The IFA need to defenestrate the local lads idealism, f Germany, Brazil, Italy, France and England are “poaching”, the North needs to learn how to poach too.

    Also, it needs to promote anti-sectarianism and perhaps as Aaron Hughes has mentioned, it needs to have a better team. The next Northern Ireland manager should look at the likes of Montenegro, Estonia and Armenia and ask what they are doing right?

    There were many from a Catholic background welcome in the IFA side Martin O’Neill, Pat Jennings … currently Paddy McCourt … not one of them would be vilianized for doing so in the Bogside or Crossmaglen.

    Finally, no piece of legislation will keep someone from defecting to the Republic or even going into International retirement á lá Steven Ireland or Neill Lennon if they don’t get their own way. There needs to be a coaching set up which can compete with rivals for the best talents.

  • PJ Maybe

    Still using that illogical, incoherent vanity piece to back your position up Donnelly?

    Nothing new there then.

  • HeinzGuderian

    I’m sorry,but I’ve never heard of a football team called The North ?? 😉

  • Dec

    Heinz

    It’s near ‘the province’.

    Whilst Armstrong’s ramblings about morality and ‘politicizing’ children are absurd and offensive, we should remember he’s paying paid by the IFA to spout this nonsense.

  • DT123

    “What happens if a skilled young Protestant decides he’d rather play for a more successful team and opts to play for the Republic?

    Many have, most notably Alan Kernaghan who was raised in Bangor. The IFA refused to play the “granny rule” and Alan who wanted to play for the GAWA joined the Boys in Green instead.”

    Talk us through these “many protestants who have opted for the Republic then?

    Alan Kernaghan was inelligible under the rules used by NI at the time.

  • Alan N/Ards

    The IFA and indeed the fans need to let this matter drop. Northern Ireland needs players who WANT to play for Northern Ireland. We don’t need half hearted players players playing for us because thay can’t get picked for the Republic. I don’t believe that this has anything to do with religion but it will be kind of sad if we end up with a totally protestant NI team and a totally roman catholic republic team. People will cite the Neil Lennon incident of abuse from so called NI fans as Roman catholics not being wanted at Windsor. But in reality, this was more to do with moronic Rangers fans being anti Celtic than NI fans being anti Roman catholic. Yes, it was certainly emmbarssing for the decent fans who cheered on their team regardless of religion or club loyalty for years. Gerry Armstrong, Pat Jennings, Neil Lennon, Martin O’Neil, Mal Donaghy, Jim Magilton, Micheal O’Neil etc were heroes to a lot of people like me, who were prepared to spill blood for their team and the fans. It is such a loss to Northern Ireland that a number of young footballers are chosing the Republic over NI, but we have to respect their choice. It is such a shame that they go through the junior ranks and then decide that they want to play for the Republic.

  • Stewart

    This is a massively complicated and untidy mess.

    I can see that people should be able to choose their own identity and also that switching allegiances is disrespectful given the time and resources invested in you. I dont have a solution – just to say that the following is misleading.

    “Of course, this has not prevented Northern Ireland from calling up for international duties players who have gone through the youth structures of other international sides. But clearly that’s a side issue…”

    Northern Ireland may approach other players illegible for Northern Ireland at the point it becomes clear they will not be required by that nation – Camp and Hodson are examples, that isn’t Northern Ireland swooping in and taking a player nurtured by another country who that country sees as a part of their future squad. It is taking someone who has not made their grade.

  • Old Mortality

    It’s a great pity that Giovanni Trappatoni fails to recognize the heroic patriotism of Darron Gibson et al. He seems to prefer English accents. Perhaps like so many he finds the Derry whine deeply disagreeable and won’t have it about the place, so to speak.

  • BluesJazz

    Every NI player and every player on the RoI team is a mediocrity. They are mediocre teams. About the same level as Lithuania. Struggling to get a play-off place to get to the finals of tournaments where they haven’t a cats chance in hell. Wales and Scotland are little better. And England’s millionaire playboys just don’t want to be bothered. Their clubs can’t afford for them to get injured.
    A British Isles team consisting of players who volunteer for extra international training might see us all getting a winning side. The olympics would be a good start.

  • Neil

    Interesting reading on that link Stewart1.

    Telling an Irishman he ought to be denied the right to play for his country and have his choice limited to lining out for a team that is essentially a British entity is what is divisive, provocative and insulting to nationalists. It would appear to be indicative of an intolerance of the nationalist community’s right to express itself. Social or cultural integration can never be forced. Essentially, those who demand that nationalists “integrate” are dictating, “You are British and that is it; now, do what we say and integrate.”

    That’s it in a nutshell for me. It’s an old NI passtime of making a big deal of the fights you’re gauranteed to lose, just what the IFA has done here.

  • iluvni

    yawn

  • MonkDeWallyDeHonk

    MikeTheFirst

    “If by “these kids” you mean Shane Duffy, James McClean, Darron Gibson, Paul George, Daniel Kearns, etc – they DID play for Northern Ireland”

    Lee Camp played for England under 21, Oliver Norwood for England under 17 before NI “poached” them.

    Is this “poaching” only an issue when anyone other than NI does it?

    I can see why any team would be frustrated when this happens. However, I suspect that now the IFA has finally given up placing obstacles in the way of players from the North opting for the RoI, that we will see these choices being made earlier.

    Frankly, NI would be better continuing their efforts to make NI a more cross community team. There will always been a percentage of NI Catholics who see the RoI as their team and you can do nothing about that.

    Frankly, although I know that you are a genuine football for all person, the IFA and GAWA are suffering from decades of treating Catholic players and fans like sh!t – no sympathy there – they have only themselves to blame.

    I am aware of the efforts made in recent years – fair play and, like I say, IMO the best course of action is to continue this.

    What simply won’t work is NI fans coming on here and whinging about the RoI indulging in a practice that NI are so blatently indulging in themselves – it’s transparent, hypocritical and laughable.

  • keano10

    Erm Blue Jazz,

    Good try but please dont even attempt to bracket The Republic of Ireland in terms of ability with The North. Firstly The Republic arent “struggling” to qualify for anything. A comfortable home draw to Armenia tonight and they will have eased through to the play offs and a great chance of next years Finals.

    Northern Ireland are sitting in 5th place in a group of 6 managing only to sit above The Faroe Islands.

    The Republic are ranked 29th in The World (set to rise again this week). Northern Ireland are ranked 70th (set to fall again this week).

    And just for good measure The Republic hammered Northern Ireland 5-0 when the two sides met earlier this year.

    An Ireland of equals? Me thinks not… 🙂

  • Neil

    They (ROI) were pish against Andorra I’d give them a cat in hell’s chance of winning should they progress. Given the sporting week gone by I wouldn’t be surprised if they lost to Armenia tonight.

  • between the bridges

    Chris wonderful logic, former rep manager Brian Kerr came out against the FAI policy towards recruiting/poaching players does that mean there is ‘confusion’ in FAI ranks?

    As for the fans, some are on a crusade over this as illustrated in the link but the majority are more realistic. anyway tonight it’s time to say goodbye to that great Irishman Maik Stefan Taylor OWC’s best keeper since big pat!

    Keano indeed! A few years ago we were ranked 27th in the world, and Cyprus where tanking some ‘other team’…such is football.

  • Alan N/Ards

    Keano10

    At the end of the day success is measured in what you win and neither NI or the ROI are going to win the World cup or European Nations Cup. At times we will punch above our weight and qualify for tournament finals but that is the best we will probably do.

    That was proved last weekend when the All Ireland rugby team were put out of the World Cup in NZ. This is a competetion that only has 10 teams who play the game at a professional level. The rest were making up the numbers. Compare that to football were there are far more nations of a higher standard than the 10 who play rugger professionally. Being ranked 29th or in the top 8 like the All Ireland rugger team means nothing when you are on your way home before the tournament ends. Did you not see the faces of the irish players last weekend when they knew they were out of the World cup? Being in the top 8 meant nothing to them but they have to accept that they were not good enough to win the world Cup. Playing to the best of their ability is all we can ask of any team and that is all Northern Ireland and ROI fans want their team to do.

  • jonno99

    There is a very limited future for the NI team. The law of diminishing returns has already been applied. Its heyday for qualifiying for any tournament long since gone. Players from the North will continue to opt for the ROI leaving behind a rump B team. Bereft of any chance or opportunity other than be whipping boys, international fodder there just to make up the numbers.

    The NI team represents a divided British province in Ireland. A place with split loyalties and identities The only suprise is that it has taken this long for the situation to arise i.e. players choosing to reprenet the ROI over NI.

    In my opinion the only way this will ever be resolved is one international side for Ireland. The IFA and FAI to hammer out their differences, anthems and flags to be discussed…..then I woke up. Ha

  • jonno99

    There is a very limited future for the NI team. The law of diminishing returns has already been applied. Its heyday for qualifiying for any tournament long since gone. Players from the North will continue to opt for the ROI leaving behind a rump B team. Bereft of any chance or opportunity other than be whipping boys, international fodder there just to make up the numbers.

    The NI team represents a divided British province in Ireland. A place with split loyalties and identities The only surprise is that it has taken this long for the situation to arise i.e. players choosing to represent the ROI over NI.

    In my opinion the only way this will ever be resolved is one international side for Ireland. The IFA and FAI to hammer out their differences, anthems and flags to be discussed…..then I woke up. Ha

  • Dec

    ‘former rep manager Brian Kerr came out against the FAI policy towards recruiting/poaching players does that mean there is ‘confusion’ in FAI ranks?’

    I’d say it’s more a case of confusion in the Faroe Islands manager’s mind, given that Darron Gibson won his first cap under Kerr.

  • Alan N/Ards

    Jonno99

    Do you really believe that an All Ireland team will win the World Cup? If an All Ireland team in the 10 team Rugby world can’t do it what makes you think they can do it in football.

  • keano10

    Brian Kerr just has a grudge against the FAI because they (deservedly) gave him the boot.

    By the way good luck to Iain Dowie in his attempt for the Northern Ireland job. Hopefully it means we wont have to listen to him droning on, on Sky Sports anymore…

  • keano10

    Alan,

    Success is indeed measured in “what you win”…

    This year the Republic of Ireland won The Carling Nations Cup
    by defeating every other team in it:

    Northern Ireland 5-0
    Wales 3-0
    & Scotland 1-0.

    The trophy sits proudly in The Aviva Stadium…

  • between the bridges

    Keano…lol if your going to scrap the barrel so will i…

    Northern Ireland current British champions (cup’s in a pawn shop)

  • Alan N/Ards

    We (NI fans) need to let go of this issue and wish these lads all the best. All I would ask is that they stop messing the IFA and the coaches about. If you are a RO fanI throughout your childhood then do the decent thing and don’t go through the Junior ranks of the IFA wasting peoples time and money just to jump ship when you are a bit older.

  • between the bridges

    ‘scrape’

  • Alan N/Ards

    Keano10

    Well done at beating the 3 other teams in The Carlings Four Nations Cup. It’s also good to see that you are accepting Northern Ireland as a Nation.

  • Into the west

    Blue Jazz
    By your logic the ROI and NI teams should unite.
    By the way the rugby analogy is false.
    Ireland were a shite team, but in the last 10 yrs +
    they’ve won numerous triple crowns, a grand slam and so on.

  • Alan N/Ards

    Into the west

    True Ireland have improved and as an Ireland rugger fan it’s fantastic… but in the tournament that counts they fall short. It’s fine being one of the best in the 6 nations but they need to do it in the 10 team World Cup. They will only improve when the management brings in new blood quicker than they are doing at the moment.Craig Gilroy, and Nevin Spence should have been in the squad in the place of some of the old guard. They will hopefully get their chance but who knows maybe Scotland will give them a shout as their names sound scottish to me. They could do with some exciting young blood.

  • keano10

    Alan,

    I called them a team, not a nation…

  • lamhdearg

    Our wee country! if you dont like it then f**K off, the most skillfull player born on the island is playing for the ulstermen, once we get a manager in place that believes in the 11 v 11 motto, it’s onwards and upwards.

    keano “eased”, lose by one goal tonight and your out, not likely, but, its a fool who counts his chickens.

    Green and white army Green and white army, repeat until hoarse.

  • Alan/N’ards. Recent performances by players in the current NI squad show that it’s not only catholic players who aren’t really playing for NI but simply picking up a wage from the IFA. Worthy’s fears for the future of the NI setup are well grounded. There will now be a flight from international game here by young players from either side of the divide. Whoeveris taking over at NI as manager is on a hopeless mission. It’s all over as regards qualifying for tournaments for IFA and they’ve only themselves to blame.

  • Jimmy Sands

    “lose by one goal tonight and your out, not likely,”

    On current form it’s very likely.

  • Dec

    ‘the most skillfull player born on the island’

    I’ve a lot of time for Paddy McCourt myself – nice guy, occasional flash of skill against 2nd rate Scottish and part-time fishermen opposition – but let’s face it, he’s a poor man’s Frank Worthington.

  • Alan N/Ards

    Keano

    Do you think they should change the name of The Carling (Four)Nations Cup to something else?

  • keano10

    Jimmy,

    What current form is that exactly??

    The Republic have now gone 8 games (720 minutes) without conceding a goal. An all time record. They are undefeated in every single away game in every qualifying tournament since Trappatoni took over as manager. This year they won The Carling Nations Cup at a canter. In the summer they played Italy in a friendly and defeated them 2-0 on their own soil.

    Maybe you have some recent statistics to support your ownargument Jimmy. I somehow fear not though…

  • JR

    The way I see it is every few decades a couple of world class players come along at the same time. I think it is a real pity as has happened in the past when you had one superstar a few decent players and some passengers playing for the North and the same in the south.

    There is no argument with the fact that a larger pool of players achieves more and more often.

  • BluesJazz

    If players from the UK can play for the Republic, as per FIFA, why not just widen the boundaries slightly, and let players opt for whatever country they want?
    It happens already in South America and elsewhere, and in cricket, rugby and other sports it’s routine.

  • Jimmy Sands

    “Maybe you have some recent statistics to support your ownargument Jimmy.”

    They’ve scored 11 goals in their last three games. We’ve managed two. Both against Andorra. Not feeling confident about this at all.

  • keano10

    Alan,

    They can call it whatever they want as long as we keep winning it…

  • Dec

    For once I agree with Jimmy.

  • Neil

    If players from the UK can play for the Republic, as per FIFA, why not just widen the boundaries slightly, and let players opt for whatever country they want?

    Could rephrase that ever so slightly to make it sound as ridiculous as it is:

    If players from Ireland can play for Ireland, as per FIFA, why not just widen the boundaries slightly, and let players opt for whatever country they want?

  • Mike the First

    Neil, you know very well that you’re using two different meanings of “Ireland” and presenting them as if they’re the same thing. The first “Ireland” in your sentence above is the island of Ireland, the second is the Republic of Ireland.

  • Mike the First

    MonkDeWallyDeHonk

    My point was aimed at keano10 who claimed that “These kids would no sooner play for The North than they would for England.” My point is simply that Duffy, Kearns, Wilson, Gibson et al actually did play for Northern Ireland, so he’s not quite right in that claim.

    Indeed Duffy was prepared to play for the full international team (had he not been left on the bench) in a friendly, (and Shane Ferguson, who may or may not be thinking of swtiching, actually did play in that same match).

    This sort of “switch” causes a lot more ill feeling than it being done at youth level or indeed from the outset.

  • Neil

    the second is the Republic of Ireland.

    In a way that would be correct, but in a very literal and preferable from my point of view, I’m referring to the football team which I support who take their players from Ireland, all 32 counties of it. He’s from Ireland, and he represents Ireland (island of).

  • keano10

    Mike the First,

    Someone else earlier made the same point that you did about my comment and I answered it.

  • BluesJazz

    He’s from Ireland, and he represents Ireland (island of).

    Neil, you mean like Tony Cascarino, Andy Townsend etc…

  • Mike the First

    Neil

    “In a way that would be correct, but in a very literal and preferable from my point of view, I’m referring to the football team which I support who take their players from Ireland, all 32 counties of it. He’s from Ireland, and he represents Ireland (island of).”

    Bit of a circular argument you’re making then isn’t it? Players from anywhere on “Ireland” (the island) should be able to play for “Ireland” (the ROI team), and the team should be thought of as “Ireland” because it can pick players from anywhere on the island?

    What exactly is your starting premise here?

  • Mike the First

    keano10

    You’ll find my 2.39 above was addressed to MonkDeWallyDeHonk.

  • Jimmy Sands

    For those of my vintage watching NI in Spain in 82 was bittersweet. We had narrowly failed to qualify with possibly the most talented team we have ever had, but the success of the nordies was roundly cheered and provided some consolation. I would be saddened to see it become just the team for prods and I agree with Kerr that although we cannot turn away players determined to play for us I don’t believe the FAI should encourage it.

  • keano10

    Mike,

    Within that 2.39 post you say that your comments were directed at Keano10. Was just trying to point you in the direction of a reply…

  • keano10

    Blue Jazz,

    If you are going to go down that road then lets talk about all the English born members of the current N Ireland squad. Lee Camp, Adam Barton, Adam Thompson and Rory McArdle to name but a few. As for Maik Taylor, he was born in Germany…

  • Dec

    ‘I would be saddened to see it become just the team for prods’

    It already is in terms of support. That’s the challenge facing the IFA.

  • Obelisk

    ‘I would be saddened to see it become just the team for prods’

    And what do you want to see then? A bi-communal team drawing support from both sides of the community? It’s a nice fantasy but it’ll never happen. The ‘Prods only’ team is regrettable but it was truly the only realistic end for the IFA wasn’t it?

    I think the IFA could bend over backwards to try and accomodate Nationalists and it wouldn’t generate any support worth mentioning because Nationalists will always, always, always favour and support the Republic over the North because the Republic of Ireland is the national team, and Irish Nationalists are part of the Irish Nation, not some contrived bi-communal Northern Irish identity that’s distinct from the Irish Nation.

    If I feel ‘Northern Irish’ at all, it’s in the context of being an Ulsterman and even then, in the context that a man from Mayo is a Connachtman, or a woman from Cork is a Munsterwoman, in other words as sub-ordinate to, rather than distinct from my Irish identity.

  • sherdy

    Wouldn’t it be ironic if our Nigel found himself a job south of the border?

  • keano10

    To return a little bit to the main point of the lead thread – There is irony in Gerry Armstrong’s stance. The IFA have been very pro-active in deliberately targetting Catholic players and putting them in their Senior squad even though many of them are not ready for senior International football.

    They clearly see it as a proactive way of attempting to blood young Catholic players and therefore remove the option of playing for The Republic. It is quite cynical and pre-meditated. Many of these kids have simply become wise to this now. There is no way, for instance that Shane Ferguson is ready for International football (with anyone!). Gerry Armstrong and Worthington have shamelessly used the kid as a political football and in the end, he just wouldnt have any of it. As usual the IFA’s strategy is going to end in disaster. They simply dont have a clue…

    M

  • Mike the First

    “The IFA have been very pro-active in deliberately targetting Catholic players and putting them in their Senior squad even though many of them are not ready for senior International football.”

    Name them.

    If you’re talking about Ferguson, he was only called up (or an attempt made to call him up) to the squad for the current internationals as a replacement after numerous withdrawals. And he’s a member of the under-21 side as well as a Premier League squad member.

  • BluesJazz

    Did anyone ever find out what nationality Tony Cascarino actually was?

  • between the bridges

    i think toni was millwallise.

  • john

    Is this still going!!!
    To sum up N.Ireland feel aggreived because players are being poached but have no problem poaching players from other associations themselves. To be fair I had a bit of sympathy for Northern Ireland but any morale high ground was taken away over the Alex Bruce mess.
    This statement from Gerry is only to try and deflect attention away from yet another defeat, its to try and make some lame excuse for why Northern Ireland are 5th in their group.Earth to Gerry its not the FAI’s fault but the IFA’S
    1. The players are poor
    2. The manager is poor
    That didnt take too long to figure out the problem.
    If players want to play for the Republic then Northern Ireland are better off with out them. What they should be looking at is why so many so called devoted players withdraw so often. Maik Taylor mentioned it today in the Belfast Telegraph and you only have to look at the Carling Cup to see how many of them couldnt be bothered to play for their country. I think this is a much bigger concern than any talent drain to the Republic oh and I have to agree with some other posts that none of the players that have declared for the Republic are any good.
    So what next, new manager. Martin O’Neil would be great but never going to happen and the other names mentioned are almost laughable -I even heard Sammy (no goals in 12 matches ) Mcilroy was interested again!!! – would make worthless look like a tactical genius

  • jonno99

    Alan N/Ards

    Do I think an All Ireland team would win the world cup? May be not very likely but then again is it not even remotely possible?

    The main improvement would be to increase the chances of an Irish team reaching the Euros and World Cup finals. And end this endless ‘tit for tat’ shenaningans between the IFA and FAI over players eligibility.

    One team will limit the number of international caps for Irish players. Only the best selected. And may be just may be league games could be organised across the whole island in one league.

  • lamhdearg

    two hand balls?, No1 number 10 (r.o.i.) not seen, Number2 ,ball to the chest seen wrong , See keano it’s just a blind (or corrupt?) officials view, good luck and if you make it, watch the pole’s ultras, over here they may have let on to like ya’s *(used ya’s) but back home?

    * the local’s (belfast) folk but n.i. haters.

  • lamhdearg

    jonno99
    “And may be just may be league games could be organised across the whole island in one league.”
    who do you follow?

  • JR

    Lamhdhearg,
    Do I detect you were feeling a little bitter at arround half twelve last night 🙂 ?

  • lamhdearg

    JR, yea back to work today after two weeks off.

  • The only confusion generated here is by the author of this article. Although it is amusing watching as a Shinner dances around a Falls Rd icon trying to land a few jabs without daring to turn ugly on him. As good a sign as any that Gerry’s energy is paying off.

    On a general point of Slugger’s coverage of this subject, why has Chris Donnelly, an active – political – participant in this issue on behalf of SF, been allowed exclusive free rein on here? Sure each contributor posts what they want but when only one (extremely narrow minded and as stated – self-interested) point of view is highlighted time & again it shows a weakness in the medium.

    Clearly Northern Ireland wants it’s youngsters to have as little dealings with the FAI’s group of footballing gangsters as possible, if for no other reason then it may take the grin off that odious creature John Delaney.

  • St Etienne,

    Sure each contributor posts what they want but when only one (extremely narrow minded and as stated – self-interested) point of view is highlighted time & again it shows a weakness in the medium

    Anyone can post on the matter, it’s just that Donnelly is more diligent/obsessed on the subject. I am a contributor on Slugger and am also a supporter of our international team (just back from our game in Pescara).

    I do have a post already written up on both the team and the IFA’s future but am debating with myself whether to put it up as posts favourable on the NI team tend to produce a multiple blowing of gaskets and leave us with a sectarian slanging match.

  • john

    St Etienne it would be a bit of a dull website if we all agreed with the articles. John Delaney may come across as a bit of a weasel but the IFA boys are worse and should start being proactive and trying to solve the current exodus problem rather than blaming everyone else. I have alraedy made the point that the youngsters declaring for the Republic is a rather small problem (for the moment but will be massive if the IFA sit on their arses) compared to the big problem of Northern Irish players not turning up regularly for their country and pretending to be injured (e.g carling cup).

    O’Neill you should post your article, who cares what people say, ofcourse there will be the usual slanging match but there will also be plenty of sensible comments too.

    If you havent already listened to this clip from Radio Ulster then I would recomend it. Interesting to hear the thoughts from a number of ex-players who give honest and fair answers – IFA take note

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/search?q=cap%20fits

  • between the bridges

    i would agree with john ‘o’neill you should post your article, who cares what people say, of course there will be the usual slanging match but there will also be plenty of sensible comments too.’

    i see that god is interested in the manager’s job…

    ( aka Robert Bernard Fowler)

  • it’s just that Donnelly is more diligent/obsessed on the subject.

    I don’t see anyone else actively engaged in the subject on behalf of a political party though. Slugger is many things, but in the absence of alternate thought effectively a conduit for party political diatribes?

    St Etienne it would be a bit of a dull website if we all agreed with the articles

    On any given subject we don’t have to agree with the articles all the time but when I find myself agreeing with none of the articles then there is certainly a lack of healthy alternative voice. Sure there is the comments, but they can’t change the headline – which in this case was an extremely weak ‘news’piece. But hey at least it shows Gerry’s pushing the right buttons. Wonder how much of this crap is being sent his way privately?

    John Delaney may come across as a bit of a weasel but the IFA boys are worse

    Delaney comes across as a weasel because he is one. The IFA boys – historic ineptitude sure – but sliminess on the scale of Delaney’s reptilian scales? No chance. Prior to the CAS advisory he actually came out & said he was defending young nationalists political aspirations – as if this is something a member of FIFA should be concerning itself with!

    And that’s before you even get to the Team 33 shenanigans not so long ago. No begging bowl from the Armenians this time round of course.

    I have alraedy made the point that the youngsters declaring for the Republic is a rather small problem (for the moment but will be massive if the IFA sit on their arses) compared to the big problem of Northern Irish players not turning up regularly for their country

    4 years ago it was the Republic who couldn’t get their players turning out for them. Sanchez on the other hand engineered a team seemingly unbreakable in it’s determination to do what hadn’t been done before. Swings & roundabouts. However as you allude to, the continuing issue of player defections encouraged by the FAI is a far greater strategic issue.

  • Neil