Friday, December 24, 2010

Chris Shields Interview

Okay, First of Chris thanks for taking time to speak to The LoI Interview Show

No problem

Okay so this year has been very up-down for Bray, who up to towards the end of the season looked to be "Doing a Derby" until Eddie Gormley left and Pat Devlin took over when you pulled off the remarkable feat of staying up via the play-offs, what did you think?

Ah Eddie can’t get all of the blame, as a team we weren’t performing well, but I suppose Pat made a big difference when he took over along with Keith Long and they did a brilliant job to keep us up

Yes and you yourself had a remarkable finish to the season starting with an own-goal against Monaghan and then within an hour of that scoring the winning penalty in the shoot-out how did it feel not only when you scored both stunning goals, but also when Jake Kelly saved your reputation in-between?

Streakers invade the pitch, oh wait it's just an ecstatic Chris Shields
Ha ha ye it was absolute madness, stuff you only see in a film. When the own goal went in I just felt absolute dejection [I] was near going to ask to be taken off, when Jake scored it was like a huge weight lifted off my shoulders myself and Daire Doyle went off on our own little celebration. But when the peno went in there was no better feeling in the world

Then you won Young Player of the Year award for Bray, and as we all know many a great player has won that in there time was that really the icing on the cake to end the season?

I was absolutely chuffed with that, yes like u said it was the icing on the cake, really I wasn’t expecting it because of the amount of young players who had a good year like Shane O’Neil, Jake Kelly and Dave Webster so I was delighted

Now lets talk a little about the bad things about this year, in the Monaghan game fans got onto the pitch in an all too easy manner when both goals were scored do you think that with better security in the LoI they could have stopped that from happening?

em No I think the security is ok, but u have to look at the game that it happened, like there was no way anybody was going to stop the bray supporters getting on the pitch after the year we’ve had, and the Monaghan fans was just unfortunate

I suppose, well now lets stay on the subject of the stadium. The League title has been won at the Carlisle in the last 2 years, how long do you reckon it could be until the Home team wins the trophy at that ground??

ha-ha em I don’t know, we’re definitely not afraid of the bigger teams anyway looking at the points we took off rovers Bohs and pats this year, but its a bit early to be talking about that

Okay, well at the start of this year up to a week before the season started it looked like you would be in Ireland's second tier, do you think that could have been one of the main factors of your bad early season form?

I think it was a factor but not a huge one; there was a lot of chopping and changing throughout the season

Okay well lets get back to the happy stuff, do you reckon that results like your 0-0 draw in Dalier and your last day draw 2-2 with Rovers of the shamrock variety contributed to making the title race even more memorable than last years tight title race?

I suppose it affected it in some respect but so did other results like [Shamrock] Rovers and Fingal and Bohs and Galway. But I thought it was a fantastic end to the season going right to the last game

Okay and now lets talk about the FAI Cup were you disappointed with how that ended abruptly in the quarter finals?

I was disappointed but our main focus was always going to be on staying up, and anything in the cup was going to be a bonus

Okay well we're almost out of time our last question is a very random, non-football related question, what's your favourite movie?

Step brothers. Pure genius

We would like to thank Chris for his time as well as wishing you all a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS

Donagh :P

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Morton to Dalymount, Fingal's Stadium Story

Fans sit quite far away from the players, as you can see here

Morton Stadium, even saying the name aloud causes shudders around the football loving faithful in the League of Ireland. 

Fans travel from all over the country to sit in the seats, higher and farther away from the pitch than any other stadium in Ireland's highest tier. Even players won't miss it as we found out when I spoke to Darren Quigley. Morton has a lovely playing surface, one of the best. I'm not sure I will miss it as I, and nearly all players, hate running tracks around pitches. It's OK if balls are flying back on after going out of play but that's not the case. Some times we build momentum and then it may take 30-45 seconds to take a throw in. 

I won't miss it, no.

The running track, ruining view for fans
Fingal were founded late in 2007, and were launched in 2008, and up until an agreement was made yesterday (the 22nd of December 2010) played all of their home games in The LoI at Morton Stadium, Santry.

Morton doesn't meet UEFA grade 2 standards, which means it couldn't host Fingal's home European Games.

Fans and players did not seem happy with a dreaded running track halting fans view of the pitch, which has caused havoc at even Europe's biggest stadiums.
I don't know what sort of fan numbers we will have now but one thing for sure is that any Fingal fan travelling to the games will now feel a closer relationship to the players. This can only be a good move considering the running track around Morton distanced the player and fan interaction.

It only annoys people at one other LoI Stadium, Waterford United's RSC.

Fingal have many fond memories at the stadium however which almost outweighs its problems  My favourite moment from Morton personally was the Fingal v Bray 1st promotion play off leg. Conditions were awful, match should never have been played but it was and I did well to give us a clean sheet going to Bray.

As a team, my definite favourite was 2-0 down at HT to Rovers in the 1/4 final of FAI Cup. Coming back to draw and then going on to win the cup, that was the real moment we knew we could win the cup.

Yesterday it was announced that Sporting Fingal had reached an agreement with Bohemians FC to Ground Share Ireland's most famous LoI stadium; Dalymount Park, which houses Bohemians FC.

Fingal have played at "Dalier" 3 times already, once as the designated home team against CS Maritimo in The UEFA Europa League 2nd Round of qualifying. 

Will This be a good move for Fingal??? We'll have to wait and see.

That's all folks,
Donagh :)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Ireland's Loss Is Aussie's Gain

Yesterday (18th December 2010) it was confirmed via Facebook that the duo of Paul Byrne (Recently released from St. Patrick’s) and Michael Kelly (UCD) will be leaving the LoI to go to sunny Australia, and more importantly Melbourne with no clubs yet confirmed.

Their Status’s were updated between 16:00 and 16:05 yesterday. Kelly’s read: “one way flight to Australia booked just now, adrenaline pumpin doin it!


While Byrne’s was along the lines of: “Just booked a one way ticket to Australia......Scary!!


When asked about the move Paul Byrne had this to say to Josh Dolan: A few personal things are the main reason for moving over, I decided I needed a fresh start and the opportunity to go to Australia came up, and my phone hasn’t been ringing off the hook with offers from within the league of Ireland so it was an easy decision really"


The opportunities for pro football are few and far between in Australia, with only 11 teams in the league at this moment in time, but it is rapidly rising I will be starting out playing in a provincial league side, but I would love if I got the chance to move to the A league at some stage while I’m there


This move comes as a shock to all LoI fans as Byrne did help Pat’s to a 5th place finish in the league which [If clubs struggle financially] could see them qualify for Europe, scoring many goals and providing many assists. “Yeah I had a good run for a couple of months alright , the injury was unfortunate and in all honesty the way it was dealt with was the most upsetting thing , in my opinion I could have got back playing far sooner with the proper attention but these things happen and I probably didn’t help myself at times either


Settling in may be a problem for the Dublin-based duo but Paul Byrne isn’t to worried. “I haven’t lived away from home before so I could end up starving to death in the first couple weeks but I’m sure there will be nice restaurants near me somewhere


When asked about his long term future in the country Byrne had this to say: “I’m not sure what will happen, I’ve a visa for a year there so at least that amount of time anyway


Still no word has come out of the Kelly camp, but when he gets back to us or makes a public statement we will have it right here, on The League of Ireland Interview Show. SO WATCH THIS SPACE


Thanks to Josh Dolan very much for the interview and thank you to Mr. Paul Byrne and we wish you the best for the future.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sydney FC - The Club

Taken From Wikipedia:

Sydney FC, founded in 2004, is a professional football (soccer) club based in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia and competes in the country's premier football (soccer) competition, the A-League. Sydney FC were inaugural winners of the A-League in 2006 and are considered as one of the most successful teams in Australia having won two national A-League Championships (2006 and 2010) and one Premiers' Plate[ (2010). Covertly, Sydney also remain the only A-League team to have won the OFC Champions League as since 2006, competing A-League teams have gained qualification to the AFC Champions League instead, in which Sydney has also competed finishing 2nd in the group stage of the 2007 season of the tournament and will also compete in the 2011 season. Having won titles in the W-League and in theNational Youth League Sydney hold the distinction of being the only club in the A-League to have won all 3 competitions.
Its home ground is Sydney Football Stadium, a 45,500 seat multi-use venue in the suburb of Moore Park. Right from the beginning Sydney FC was marketed as the "glamour club" of the new competition, with the involvement of the club's high-profile personnel, including investor and actor Anthony LaPaglia, ex-Manchester Unitedstar Dwight Yorke as the team's first "marquee player" and 1990 FIFA World Cup winner Pierre Littbarski as manager in the first season. Sydney went on to sign Former English International defender Terry Butcher as the 2006–07 season coach, Brazilian superstar midfielder Juninho Paulista in the 2007–08 season, and Socceroos legend John Aloisi as striker in their 2008–09 season, with each as the highest paid footballer in Australia in their respective seasons. Strikers Benito Carbone of Italy, and Japanese legend Kazuyoshi Miura have also made appearances in the sky blue jersey.

Colours etc.

The primary club colour of Sydney FC is sky blue, which represents the state colour of New South Wales. The secondary club colour is navy blue, with additional contrasting colours of orangeand white.

Sydney FC's Home Jersey worn against Everton

he Sydney FC badge was created and used since the clubs founding in 2004. It features a football set centrally in a stylised crest shape. Above the ball is the shape of three shells of theSydney Opera House, an internationally recognisable symbol of the city of Sydney. Below the ball is the Commonwealth Star, a seven-pointed star symbolising the Federation of Australia.

Sydney's Sydney Football Stadium

Sydney FC play their home matches at Sydney Football Stadium (commonly known as SFS, and formerly known as Aussie Stadium), located in the Sydney suburb of Moore Park. It was built in 1988 to be the premium "rectangular field" for rugby league matches. It is also now used for association football and rugby union for major matches and domestic competition.
The stadium has easy access from the city centre, with shuttle buses running from nearby Central Station on match days. It has been the venue for several Australian international matches (notably World Cup Qualifier against Argentina in 1993). The stadium's capacity was stated at 41,159 prior to renovations in 2007, although the attendance of the 2006 A-League grand final exceeded this number by over 500. The currently stated capacity is 45,500.
Sydney FC have played matches at other Sydney venues. Parramatta Stadium in western Sydney was the venue for an AFC Champions League match against Indonesian football side Persik Kediri in April 2007 when the SFS was unavailable due to a NRL match being played there. A friendly match against LA Galaxy was played at ANZ Stadium in November 2007 due to its greater capacity, which drew a crowd of 80,295. Some argue that if the home stadium of Sydney FC was moved to the ANZ Stadium in Homebush Bay, then it would attract much larger crowds, making it an easier travel distance from the stadium to the south and south-west districts of Sydney. However, the FFA has said they would like a separate team in Western Sydney.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


It is time for me to pick my Player of the Month for October, Goal of the Season, my Player of the Year 2010 and my Team of The Year.
First up is my player of the month for October. My 3 nominees are;
1) Chris Shields (Bray Wanderers)
2) Ciaran Kelly (Sligo Rovers)
3)Gary McCabe (Sligo Rovers)
I have chosen these 3 because;
Chris Shields- had the courage and bravery to take the penalty to keep Bray up after scoring an own goal.
Ciaran Kelly- quite obvious really, only time i have ever seen a keeper save 4 penalties and this happened to be in a cup final and in front of 36 thousand people.
Gary McCabe- scored an absolute cracker of a goal versus Drogheda.
My Player of the month for October is .................................  CIARAN KELLY
My goal of the season was an absolute peach. You`ll all remember it as a piece of team quality from UCD. The goal itself was scored by 
Ciaran Kilduff but my word it was unbelievable. The ball didn`t appear to touch the ground for about 10 seconds and when it did it was in the back of the net!
My player of the season is the majority of everyone elses player of the year. This of course is 
RICHIE RYAN. He was lucky to get a contract at the start of the season with Sligo and he paid them back magnificently. A string of game-controlling performaces helped Sligo to third in the league, winning the Leage Cup and getting them to the FAI Cup final which he was unfortunately suspended for.
And lastly my team of the year:
    Powell                       Murray                               Kenna              Bermingham
    Dennehy                    Ryan                                   Turner            McAllister
                                     J.Kelly                                Ndo

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Shorthall signs for pats

Brian Shorthall has signed for St patricks Athletic after 5 years at belfield with UCD .He is sured to be missed after being a first team regular for 5 years the ballyfermot native met up with  St pats .

Growing up in Claddagh Green, a lot of my family and friends would have been Pat’s supporters and as my local team I would gone down to see them a fair bit. My uncle Christy O’Sullivan is involved with managing one of the underage teams at the club and some of my family are more excited than me about joining the club!”

“From the age of 6 to about 18, I played with Cherry Orchard and then Pete Mahon signed me for UCD and I played under him for four or five years before playing under Martin Russell for the last two seasons at Belfield.”

“To be honest Pete would have been the main factor for me in joining Pat’s. He’s been very good to me in my career and I don’t think there’s anyone in the game who wants to win as much as he does.”

“My main position is centre half but I can play right or left full and last season I ended up playing across the back. I enjoyed my football at UCD, the concentration was very much on playing football, getting the ball down, keeping it and playing without any fear.”

“I always enjoyed coming to Richmond Park, at UCD Ian Bermingham, Derek Doyle and myself used to look forward to the fixture even though we’d be getting plenty of stick from our neighbours and friends down here. I suppose over the years it was often said that UCD were the club’s bogey team and I know my uncles never liked making the trips out to Belfield so hopefully I can play a part in reversing that one!”

“Last season Pat’s were a very strong unit, very solid and hard to breakdown and it wasn’t until the final quarter that they faded from the top. One or two other clubs at the moment might have more spending power and resources but I think Pat’s will still be challenging for honours next season and my main focus will be to nail down a starting position in the side”.

The other good news for Pats fans today is that James O’Brien has put pen to paper on a new deal that will see him line out again for Pats next season.

Thanks for reading . Josh

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Cook Extends Sligo Contract!!!!

Paul Cook has signed a new contract with his FAI Ford Cup winning side Sligo Rovers.

In what was one of the most successful season in Sligo history the club are delighted that Cook has signed a new two year deal.

So far Paul Cook led Rovers to success in the EA Sports and FAI Cup finals as well as qualification for the Europa League twice in a memorable three and a half year period with the club so far.

Sligo Rovers chairman Dermot Kelly said: “It’s a huge thing for the club to get Paul to sign a new deal. We feel it is a statement of intent by Sligo Rovers that we want more trophies and more success at The Showgrounds.

It‘s a boost when you consider we had to hold off rumblings interest from other clubs in Paul. We feel he is the best coach in the league and that obviously sits in our style of play of playing good football. It’s fantastic for the relationship we have with him. “We both agreed towards the end of the season that to avoid distraction we would hold off until the conclusion of the campaign. We gave our word and now we’re delighted to finalise the issue.”

Sunday, November 14, 2010

FAI Cup final 2010 Preview

Cup final day is finally upon us!!!! Its the very last day of the domestic season as the two Rovers collide in the brand new Aviva Stadium. So far there has been over 25,000 tickets sold which is great and the game is also been shown live on RTE 2. Here is my preview of this afternoons game...

Sligo Rovers Vs Shamrock Rovers = Shamrock Rovers are looking to secure the double but first they must overcome Sligo Rovers who many people consider to play the best football in the league. Their fantastic passing game hasn't been seen in the league for a number of years. One thing is for certain is that any neutrals or people who don't regularly attend league of Ireland games will certainly find themselves more attracted to domestic football in the future. I predict the score will end 3-2 to Sligo.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Rising Star Of The Week: Craig Sexton (Bohemians)

Craig, you currently play for the Bohemians A team and occasionally in the first team, how do u find Bohs?
I love it at Bohs; I’m a lifelong Bohs fan so it’s just great to be a part of it all as a player.

And how do you like the set-up? Is the A-Team (No pun intended) much different to the first team training etc?
I love the set up we have great coaches and great facilities so it’s always good. There is a slight difference because there are different coaches but training is enjoyable with both teams

Yeah and who are the most colourful in the dressing room? As in who would be jokers etc
Alot off good characters in both teams... Bucko is always up for having a 
laugh and is a funny fella

And who do you get on most with at the club?
I wouldn’t say there is just one person, we’re all a close group of players and we all get on very well

Okay now let’s get onto the pitch now, you played against Celtic in a friendly recently, how did it feel to be on the pitch with some of Scotland’s best players?
Yeah was a great experience to be playing my 1st game with the 1st team and for it to be against Celtic also

And were you happy with your performance? 
Yeah I wasn’t too disappointed with how I played just a great bit of experience for me really

And you were involved in squads for the huge games against Rovers and Dundalk, was that a steep learning curve?
Yeah it’s a huge learning experience being involved with the 1st team but to be involved with such big games was a bit more added pressure but great to 
be involved in as a lifelong fan

And were you disappointed you couldn't make your competitive debut against Dundalk, obviously Barry Murphy was playing on what was in hindsight 1 leg
I had no problem not playing just great to learn from all the 1st team lads. I think Barry knew it was the last game and knew he would get through the game and he played excellent for the type of injury he had

And now lets talk about the season overall, 3 finals for the clubs men teams, 3 silver medals were you disappointed with the teams finishes?
Yeah as young lads we were all very disappointed but we knew also we had a brilliant season our managers Eddie and Larry were really happy with the season because at the club its not about winning at our age in the club its just all about development and trying to make the step up to the 1st team

Okay and do you reckon that with a lot of players leaving Bohs, players like yourself may get a better shot in the first-team next year?
I don’t really know what’s going to happen to be honest... it would be great if I could and it is a dream of mine but another year or two in the reserves would help me gain some more valuable experience

Okay and we're almost out of time so our last question is.... if the club could sign any young lad who is on a free at the moment, who would you pick?
There is alot of good young players coming trough its hard to pick one out but I think ill have to say Gary Shaw from bray has been very impressive... I really noticed him when he scored a great goal against rovers recently

We would like to thank Craig for his time and Donagh for the interview

Friday, November 12, 2010

Home based U21 Squad announced

Noel King has announced a home-based Irish U21 squad for an upcoming challenge game against Gerry Smith’s amateur side on Saturday 20th November 2010 at 14.00hrs in the AUL Complex.

This is what the U21 boss had to say about deciding to call up all home based players, “We have organised this game so that I can have a look first hand at the home based players who qualify for Ireland Under 21’s. We don’t have competitive Under 21 games until next year so I want to use this time to speak with the player and to collect as much information as I can to build the strongest squad possible. I could have brought a squad of 30 in but I want to give these players a chance and we have plenty of time to see all the players on our list over the next few months. I would love to see one, two, or any number of home based players do the business and force their way into the squad and this is their chance.”

Here is the 18 man squad:

Republic of Ireland Under 21 Home based Squad
Ger Hanley Mervue United FC
Kevin Burns Waterford United FC

Enda Stevens Shamrock Rovers FC
Andy Boyle UCD AFC
Shane McEleney Derry City FC
Roberto Lopez Bohemian FC
Ciaran Nagle UCD AFC

Lee Dixon Bohemian FC
Paul Corry UCD AFC
Graham Kelly Bray Wanderers FC
James O’Brien St. Patricks Athletic FC
Jake Kelly Bray Wanderers FC
Keith Ward UCD AFC
Daniel Kearns Dundalk FC
Gary Burke Bohemian FC

Aaron Greene Bohemian FC
Chris Shields Bray Wanderers FC
Paddy Madden Bohemian FC

Well done to all the players called up many will have never played for Ireland before and this is a fantastic idea for Noel King to call up these LOI players.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

LOI Promotion/relegation Review!!!!

Bray Wanderers are now officially going to be in the Premier Division next season. Their status as a top-flight team was secured when they beat Monaghan 7-6 on penalties after the score was 1-1 after 120 minutes. It was 0-0 after the regulation 90 minutes so the game was forced to extra time where both teams scored late on to force the game to penalties. Bray Wanderers stayed in the Premier Division while Monaghan United stayed in the First Division.

Here us the full match report:

Bray Wanderers 1 Monaghan United 1

(after extra time)

(Agg 1-1)

Bray win 7-6 in penalty shootout.

Chris Shields was villain turned hero as Bray Wanderers kept their place in the Premier Division for a sixth season with a penalty shoot-out victory in the second leg of the premotion/relegation play-off at the Carlisle Grounds.

The Bray striker had the misfortune to concede a goal in the 119th minute when deflecting a Don Tierrney shot into his own net. Goal celebrations by Monaghan supporters led to a perimeter wall collapsing which held up play for several minutes.

Incredibly Bray were level in the second minute of added time of extra time when Shields crossed from the right for winger Jake Kelly to fire home an equaliser when it seemed his team were destined for the First Division.

In the resulting penalty shoot out Bray prevailed 7-6 - and who was the man to fire home the vital last spot kick - that man Shields.

Monaghan had an early chance when a Philip Hughes cross from the right was deflected just over his own bar by Bray defender Adam Mitchell.

Winger Cathal O'Connor then clverly skipped past Dane Massey only to see his cross from the right spilled by Seagulls 'keeper Brian Kane with Adam Mitchell completing the clearance.

Bray did have an opportunity on 13 minutes when striker Shane O'Neill cut in from the left and fired in a shot from the edge of the box well taken by 'keeper Gabriel Sava.

Then Danny O'Connor had another chance when shooting straight at Sava from 20 yards after O'Neill had created the opening on the right. Monaghan had a let-off on 37 minutes when a cross by Dean Zambra was nearly put through his own goal by defender Brian Gartland after a mix-up with 'keeper Sava.

Danny O'Connor went close to breaking the deadlock five minutes before the interval when he let fly from 30 yards only to see his effort brilliantly pushed over by the alert Sava after Shane O'Neill had carved open the visitors' defence.

Shields then set up a chance for Massey on 48 minutes when cutting in from the left he fired straight at Sava on a difficult playing surface that had cut up badly after torrential rain at various stages of the game.

The unmarked Alan Byrne wasted as easy chance to break the deadlock for Monaghan on 61 minutes when heading over from ten yards after a cross from the right by Sean Brennan.

Then Cathal O'Connor supplied a perfect ball to the overlapping Shane Grimes on the left only for the defender to see his effort brilliantly pushed round the post by 'keeper Kane.

Bray striker Chris Shields missed a glorious chance to win the game late in normal time when firing past from 12 yards after a probing Daire Doyle cross from the right. Then an angled shot from Jake Kelly on the left was pushed away by Sava.

Both teams look tired in extra time and that was no surprise in the energy sapping trying conditions although Bray did go close on 111 minutes when jake Kelly had a 15 yard effort brilliantly blocked by Sava after a Shane O'Neill effort was blocked by Paul Whelan.

Then game all that late drama with Monaghan grabbing what they thought was the winner in the 119th minute when a Barry Clancy corner on the left allowed Brian Gartland to get in a shot which hit the post. From the rebound, Don Tierney's effort was deflected into the roof of the net by bray striker Shields.

Goal celebrations from the Monaghan supporters caused a wall to collapse and the game resumed after four minutes and sensationally Bray were level in the second miute of added time.

A Shields cross from the right put Sava under pressure and Jake Kelly was able to fire home from close range in the crowded goalmouth.

Then came that agonising penalty shoot-out with Shields turning from villain to hero when firing home the decisive last kick to keep Bray in the Premier Division for a sixth successive season. It was jubilation for Bray and heartbreak for Monaghan.

Bray Wanderers - Kane; Doyle, Mitchell, S.O'Connor, Massey; Zambra (Shaw 93), D.O'Connor,

Dempsey, J.Kelly; Shields , O'Neill.

Monaghan United - Sava; Whelan, McMahon (McCrossan 72), Gartland, Grimes; C.O'Connor (Hanaphy 86), Byrne, Tierney, Clancy; Brennan (Bermingham 75), Hughes.

Referee - Declan Hannay (Dublin).

Thanks for reading. All that is left for this season is the Cup final which will be a great finale to an exciting LOI season.