We are counting down our most read stories of 2017. Check out number 20 to 11 here and the Top 10 is below.
It is almost disappointing that only one Kenny Shiels article has made the top 10 list. Shiels is never short of a quote or two and is known around media circles for ‘good copy’ as can be seen when Shaun Keenan caught up with him in July. "Tell me a team that's won the League of Ireland and haven't bought it, I don't know if there's any,” mused Shiels.
John Caulfied told us back in April that the striker Sean Maguire wasn’t going to be moving to a League One club and the City boss was proved correct. It was an incredible season for Maguire who finished top scorer in the league with 20 goals despite leaving the league at the end of July for Championship side Preston North End.
Gareth O’Reilly has been busy during the off season with our transfer tracker article. We were somewhat disappointed that there were no Christmas Eve or Christmas Day signings announced by clubs this year – usually great #greatestleagueintheworld content. We did at least get a Bray statement on St. Stephen’s Day as they announced their new manager.
The FAI live streamed the EA Sports Cup quarter-final between Shamrock Rovers and Cork City. The sending off by referee Neil Doyle of City captain Alan Bennett after a clash with David Webster was the major taking point in the game and in the press between the two managers afterwards.
John Caulfield suggested “the ref was conned for the red card" while Stephen Bradley didn’t hold back saying “for John to suggest that he (David Webster) was lying and wants our player to apologise is unbelievable.”
With Rovers holding press conferences ahead of every home game and Cork doing weekly press conferences, there are plenty of opportunities for the two managers to give their opinion on matters and this one ran and ran.
David Webster simply stated “the video speaks for itself!” when speaking to extratime. The members of the FAI Disciplinary watched the video and Alan Bennett was cleared of violent conduct receiving no further sanction from the FAI other than the required one game automatic red card suspension.
This writer has been lucky enough to travel out of the country for a number of matches in 2017 and I penned a few postcards that got pinned to the fridge in extratime HQ. So which one did our readers look at the most?
Well it wasn’t from Ireland’s James McClean inspired win in Wales nor from a weekend watching Real Madrid become the first side to win back-to-back Champions Leagues. The most popular postcard was from a trip to Iceland where Shamrock Rovers claimed the 100th victory for a League of Ireland side in Europe.
In the much hyped buildup to the Champions League clash between Linfield and Celtic, former Celtic player Joe Miller told a far fetched tale of a time he had played at Windsor Park against the Blues when his teammates were being followed by laser pointers, as if to imitate sniper finders.
Linfield had a look back through their records and issued a statement saying “what troubles us most of all is that Linfield FC has no record of having played Aberdeen at Windsor Park or elsewhere in the entire decade Mr. Miller refers to, whether in a friendly fixture, training game or otherwise.”
Miller later apologised saying “this event occurred over 25 years ago and my memory has let me down. I apologise to Linfield Football Club for any offence taken.”
Our attendance articles are always popular on the site, with a review of the first two months of the year high up in our Top 10. Sadly we haven’t been able to provide a final year review as yet as we still are still chasing official attendances for a large number of games (plus there is one club who will not supply any figures).
Brendan Clarke raised plenty of talking points during this particular chat with our reporter Dan Lucey. Clarke talked about the regret of not taking up a playing scholarship in the United States, the sudden demise of Sporting Fingal and the embarrassment of being substituted by Paul Cook just ahead of the penalty shoot-out in the 2011 FAI Cup Final win against Shelbourne.
Would Anthony Buttimer make the top 10 list of referees in the League of Ireland? Well he made our list of top 10 stories with Sleevegate. The over-officious official had an issue with both Limerick and Galway having white on their sleeves on their kit.
Buttimer has previous form with colour clashes too as outlined in this article. This game eventually kicked off 25 minutes late with Limerick having to change into their luminous green away kit.
Why would a humble league preview for a mid-season game make it to the top of the list? Nothing should surprise you about Bray Wanderers in the 2016 season. Dave Donnelly was inspired by Bray’s most bizarre statements and penned quite simply the best pre-match preview ever published by extratime.ie. We give you the preview for the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea’s match against Finn Harps:
“The Seagulls come into this game on the back of 756 consecutive victories since the accession of Dear Leader Kim Jong-un. Comrade Harry Kenny's side sit in fifth place in the League of Ireland, a puppet organisation set up by the evil American government to humiliate the people of Korea. They will not succeed.”