ET Bitesize: Last of the Summer Whine

Wed, Jul 13 2016

"Please don't ask me. Please don't ask me..." Credit: RTÉ

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LAST OF THE SUMMER WHINE

 

Cork City continue their Europa League campaign this week as they travel to Sweden to take on BK Hacken in Gothenburg on Thursday.

 

City have mixed memories of Sweden's heavy metal capital, Dave Barry's side having beaten then-powerhouse IFK Goteborg 1-0 in the UEFA Cup at Turner's Cross in 1999 before losing the away leg 3-0, the locals seemingly unimpressed by Barry's more than passing resemblance to Rob Halford.

 

In a week where Portugal, sans Cristiano Ronaldo, confounded all the pundits to overcome a more talented team and wrest France's record of never having failed to win an international tournament at home, Caulfield was typically upbeat.

 

“Why do people think in Ireland, ‘We’re great soccer players?’ Caulfied beamed to the assembled media.

 

“We’re not, we’re scrapping. Our league has not progressed for 40 years.

 

“Everything went out the gate in the early 2000s, where players were getting money to stop them going to England and things were nuts.

 

“We’re back to basics,” Caulfield concluded, optimistically.

 

Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny was more pragmatic during his appearance on Soccer Republic on Monday night as his side prepare to face Icelanders FK Hafnarfjordur at Oriel Park on Wednesday.

 

At least, we assume that's what they'll be doing – given the total lack of interest shown by TV companies in the football-mad Republic of Ireland, only the 3,000 or so who've secured tickets will know for sure if it goes ahead.

 

The Icelandic champions have set up base in Muirhevnamor, presumably seeing the comfort of home in the unpronounceable Louth village.

 

Kenny had been invited to RTÉ studios to be raked over hot coals and explain why his team of title winners had conceded three times to basement side Longford Town before grabbing an injury time winner.

 

“Great save by Skinner,” enthused commentator John Kenny as the ball squirmed under the Longford goalkeeper and into the net, only to be disallowed for an apparent offside.

 

After satisfying the panel of Johnny McDonnell and Corkman Barry that the Lilywhites had triumphed in spite of his best efforts at training ground sabotage, talk moved onto the alleged European tie.

 

“We dominate possession in a lot of the games we play in our league, and they [FH] do likewise in Iceland.

 

“They've been so consistent over the years, winning the league, and they've a fair bit of experience. But something has to give.

 

“Our players have gained some experience in Europe from the last couple of seasons and I feel that will stand to us.

 

“There's a lot of anticipation in Dundalk for this game. You can feel it all week and people are really looking forward to it. The players know that.

 

“We will get it really tough over the two legs, but it's definitely our ambition to try and get through.”

 

At least try and sound confident, Stephen.

 

Elsewhere, Kenny struggled to pronounce the consonanty name of their Icelandic opponents, the Tallaght man understandably struggling to get his tongue around a place name that's not pronounced the way it looks.

 

“How do you pronounce that?” the Lilywhites boss helplessly asked the group, receiving no help from McDonnell, who had developed a sudden interest in the pile of notes in front of him.

 

St Patrick's Athletic travel to Belarus this week to face Dinamo Minsk, and McDonnell was unanimous in his view had suffered a “hangover coming out of Europe” after their midweek defeat in Luxembourg.

 

The Saints lost to Sligo Rovers at the Showgrounds, and fatigue was the only explanation in the absence of any other logical reason why the sixth-best side in the country might be beaten away from home by the seventh-best team.

 

 

FROM THE ECHO CHAMBER

 

Not everybody was enthused by the news that stand-in Soccer Republic host Joanne Cantwell's emergency loan from the rugby department is set to end with the return to full fitness of Peter Collins.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not that Peter seemed to let the criticism get to him.

 

 

(That's not the real Peter Collins - Ed.)

 

IN THE NEWS

 

Cork City midfielder Greg Bolger was named SWAI Player of the Month for June after his side beat the champions for the third time this season.

 

Drogheda United fan Jamie Monaghan collected the Medaille de la Ville de Paris on behalf of Irish fans at Euro 2016.

 

Ireland international James McClean and Stephen Kenny launched the Mark Farren Memorial Cup in Derry.

 

Shamrock Rovers confirmed the appointment of Stephen Bradley as caretaker manager following Pat Fenlon's dismissal.

 

Peamount United added Megan Lynch and Lisa Casserly to their squad ahead of the new WNL season.

 

 

IN-DEPTH

 

ET chief Gareth Penrose asks will the League of Ireland ever see a bounce from the international side while muttering “no” under his breath.

 

Dave Donnelly says the League of Ireland needs to pull its own weight if it's ever to catch up with other European leagues.

 

Dan Lucey sat down with Cobh Ramblers legend Eddie O'Halloran for a trip down memory lane.

 

Fran Reilly caught up with Cabinteely striker Joe Doyle as he set record after record for the League of Ireland's youngest side. Watch his four goals here.

 

New Shelbourne boss Owen Heary told Aaron Clarke it was a “no-brainer” to return to the club he captained to two league titles.

 

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