Russia Calling

Russia Calling – Where To Now

So after two extremely disappointing results for the Republic of Ireland against Georgia 1-1 and a 1-0 defeat at home to Serbia, these two results have left Ireland’s slim qualifying chances for Russia 2018 hanging by a thread. Since the defeat on Tuesday evening and in particular the manner of the 1 all draw in Georgia  these two games has people up in arms about the nation’s chances of making it to Russia 2018.

Just like 12 months ago, I sit here seeing the same issues, an over reliance on 35 year old Wes Hoolahan and his undoubted quality in possession. One of Ireland’s main issues has to be that you do need a striker in form and scoring goals and at this current moment Martin O Neill refuses to pick a striker who has been doing just that ala Sean Maguire or Scott Hogan.

Why did O Neill pick Maguire as soon as he touched down in England but he refused to do the same while he was on the books of Cork City choosing instead to maintain he would not be ready to make the step up yet after less than 10 games in the Championship in England he secured a call up. Although he didn’t make the cut this time in the near future he will get a 1st cap.

This is one thing that O Neill will need to try and solve before the final two qualifiers next month against Moldova and Wales. Even with two wins Ireland may still not have enough points to secure a playoff spot. FIFA yesterday confirmed that the play off will be a seeded draw based on World ranking. Even if Ireland did manage to secure a playoff spot there no guarantee that they would make it through.

The issues that face Ireland are far reaching issues , the FAI need to decide like the IRFU with the Women’s team what direction they want their senior team to go in. The squad is ageing and there isn’t any young talent being brought in from the under 21 set up or any other underage set up.  This is going to get harder to watch if the rot is not stopped in the near future.

The game is in trouble as the League Of Ireland is forgotten about and all our talent takes it chances in England and most of them end up in the Championship or playing at a lower level again.  

When our national team had players playing in the Premier League you saw what was achieved even though some of those talented players were playing in a system  very similar to the one employed by Martin O Neill in Georgia last Saturday.

 He played something similar to stone age football last weekend, also he has come out complaining that he doesn’t have a player like a “27 year old Robbie Keane” in his squad that will score the chances that are created, he actually has an in form striker that has been scoring regularly in the last 12 months, Sean Maguire has scored 20+ goals for both Cork City and he has continued that form with Preston North End.

As I say , the trouble that Ireland have had in the past 10 days is only highlighted during the International window and needs urgent attention from the people at the top of the game if they are going to try and solve these issues.

John Delaney and the people at the very top of the FAI need to get together at the conclusion of these World Cup qualifiers and hold some sort of get together where ex players , coaches and anyone else interested in the future of Irish football get the opportunity to discuss the burning issues that need solving.

Irish football hasn’t moved very far in the 12 months since a 1 all draw with Serbia where a late Daryl Murphy headed goal secured a point away from home. Luck may have run out in the quest to get the 2018 World Cup although those chances aren’t completely gone.

We need to look to the future now and try and implement changes that will benefit Irish football beyond 2018….


Cian Mc Gibney


Tarbert Welcomes the Rugby Legends Cycle

Tarbert Welcomes Rugby Legends Cycle

Earlier today, the Rugby Legends cycle set up camp in Tarbert National School for a short visit with all the staff and pupils. Many parents and numerous locals made their way to the school to welcome the cyclists as they made their way from Tralee via Ballyduff , Tarbert and then onto Clare to Lahinch through Kilrush and Kilkee.

The cycle is in its 6th year and is raising funds for Cross Charity and Cancer research at Trinity College Dublin and St James’s Hospital. The legends that made their way to the school and spoke to the students were former New Zealand Number 8 Zinzan Brooke and Liam Toland who played professional rugby with Leinster and Munster.

Also among the travelling party for this leg of the trip were Tarbert men Michael Kelly and Colm Brennan who are both past students of Tarbert National School. Both men have fond memories of the school.

The staff and pupils put on a marvellous show with the pupils singing Ireland’s Call, the Fields Of Athenry and also performing the Haka in Irish , they also gave Zinzan a taste of Irish dancing and he responded by performing the Haka with some very willing help from a number of the other cyclists who stopped off with him and Liam Toland.

They have around 80 cyclists with them for this leg of the trip and that will rise to over 100 by the time they roll into Galway at around 4.30pm where they will have a night hosted by the Radisson Blu Galway.

The tour director is Michael Boyle , the CEO of Uniphar who sponsor the cycle is Ger Rabbette  , other legends on tour are Paddy Johns , Niall Woods both capped by Ireland , Paul Wallace who was also capped by Ireland 45 times and Neil Back who played for Leicester Tigers and England and is most probably remembered in these parts for the now infamous “ Hand Of Back “. We forgive you at this stage Neil!!

A special mention as well to Leonie Kelly who made this stop possible, to Mrs Heaphy and all her staff well done for organising a fantastic stop off for the cyclists. A memorable moment happened as Mrs Heaphy was hoisted up in the air by Liam and Zinzan in a line out , a photo for the mantle piece at home Mrs Heaphy…..

 There was a great turn out at this event and it again showed Tarbert up in a great light, well done to all involved….


Cian Mc Gibney