The early kick off on Saturday between Swansea City and Everton had Irish interest in the shape of Seamus Coleman whose marauding breaks forward contributed to a fast and entertaining match; the score line of 3-0 wasn’t as one sided as paper might make it appear. Darron Gibson remained out through injury while centre back Shane Duffy was an unused substitute.
Shane Long was surprisingly left out of the starting line up for West Brom against the visit of his ex club Reading. Ironically he came on as a second half substitute to provide the knock down for Romelu Lukaku who kept him out of the side.
Ian Harte didn’t start for Reading, Alex Pearce though continued in central defence and Noel Hunt again was a used substitute.
Joey O’Brien again started for West Han United in their 1-1 draw at home to Sunderland in a match that they ultimately should have won but had to rely on late Kevin Nolan strike to earn a point.
Keiren Westwood was again understudy to Simon Mignolet and was joined on the sideline by David Meyler. James McLean as expected started.
Stoke City again had their Irish trio of Marc Wilson, Glen Whelan and Jonathan Walters in their starting line up. Walters played in an unorthodox position out on the right wing with a view to moving inside, a decision that was to contribute to Stoke stifling the Chelsea midfield. It almost worked, Whelan playing in a deeper role and it was the Dubliner’s ball into Walters that saw the Irish striker hit the crossbar.
James McCarthy started in midfield in a 2-1 defeat to high flying Fulham. Stephen Kelly again missed out for Fulham but Damien Duffs excellent form continued and he gave the away side a two goal advantage with a sharp strike.
The 4-1 victory for Southampton over Aston Villa was only noticeable from an Irish perspective for the presence of Ciaran Clark; but it was an afternoon to forget for Clark who not only saw his team take a step back after apparent progress under their new manager Paul Lambert but also scored an unfortunate own goal.
Wes Hoolahan started for Norwich City in their 1-0 defeat away to Newcastle. Anthony Pilkington was not given the opportunity by Chris Hughton to impact the game, remaining an unused substitute.
Birmingham City are fast becoming a feeder club for managers to the Premier League. But if Saturdays 5-0 home capitulation to Barnsley is the bench mark of things to come then Carson Yeung needn’t be too concerned of suitors for Lee Clark.
And while Craig Davies scored four of the five Barnsley goals it was the performance of Dubliner Stephen Dawson in midfield that epitomised the endeavour of the South Yorkshire team. Dawson is proving his worth following his move in January from captaining League One side Leyton Orient.
Damien Delaney again started for Crystal Palace in their 3-2 victory at home to Cardiff City. But Owen Garvan who scored twice on the opening day of the season had to settle for a place on the bench. Garvan is of high Irish Footballing pedigree. His Grandfather is ex Irish International Con Martin, an extremely versatile player who could play in a litany of positions. His Uncle is the well known ex Irish and Manchester United midfielder, Mick Martin.
Ex- Home Farm midfielder Chris McCann again lined out in midfield for Burnley as they defeated Derby 2-1 away; a victory that saw them over take their opponents. Derby had ex Republic of Ireland player Richard Keogh in defence, twenty year old Dubliner Jeff Hendrick in midfield and fellow Dubliner and Ex-Cherry Orchard striker Conor Sammon in attack.
Ipswich’s poor start to the season continues, the 2-1 defeat to Charlton Athletic sees them sit second from bottom in the Championship. Celtic’s on-loan striker Daryll Murphy started .
Charlton have no Irish players on their senior books but their academy currently has two promising goal keepers in Harry Doherty and Cathal O’Hanlon.
A more experienced keeper in Paddy Kenny was called into action on a number of occasions for Leeds, helping to contribute significantly to a 2-1 win over Simon Cox’s Nottingham Forest, a result that leaves both sides’ three points outside of the play off positions.
Andy Keogh, who has come back into the fold at international level couldn’t help his Millwall side slip further into trouble as they lost 2-1 at home to table topping Brighton and Hove Albion, the last club managed by Liam Brady. Ex UCD midfielder Gary Dicker didn’t feature for Brighton.
Kevin Doyle’s return to form for Ireland and Wolves continued as he went close on a few occasions against Peterborough in a match that saw them eventually win 2-0. Stephen Ward started for the midlands club. Stephen Hunt was an unused substitute.
Peterborough’s London born Kane Ferdinand who qualifies for Ireland through his father and who has played for the Republic at U18 and U19 level was also an unused substitute.
Keith Andrews contributed to Bolton’s push away from mid table of the Championship in their 2-1 victory away to Sheffield Wednesday. Ex UCD midfielder Paul Corry still awaits his first start for Wednesday.
Tallaght man Mark Yeates started for Watford in their 2-2 home draw with Bristol City. Watford have a strong Irish connection and Sean Murray who has represnted Ireland at threee under age levels through his grandparents also started. Connor Smith, a 19 year old midfielder from Mullingar who spent last season on loan with Wealdstone FC in the Isthmian League was an unused substitute but is clearly in the reckoning this season.
Irish full back Greg Cunningham didn’t feature for Bristol City after being ruled out for two months with an ankle injury sustained against Peterborough on Tuesday night.
On Sunday Sean St Ledger continued his return to form after injury in Leicester City’s 3-1 victory at hone to Hull City. Donegal goalkeeper, Conrad Logan, was on the bench for Leicester. On the opposition’s bench again was Paul McShane, with Clondalkin midfielder Stephen Quinn starting for Steve Bruce’s side.
The Irish connection at Coventry City is strong. Lee Carsley briefly stepped in to the manager’s role before Mark Robin’s appointment. Kevin Kilbane is club captain and the squad contains well known Irish names such as goalkeeper Joe Murphy, Ex-Cork City striker Roy O’Donovan and Stephen Elliott who has played 9 times for the Republic.
But a depressing 2-1 defeat at home to Carlisle on Saturday sees them floundering in 23rd place in League One. Here’s hoping the fresh loan deal of Conor Henderson from Arsenal will inject some vitality into a flaccid league start.
Aiden McGeady was an integral part of Spartak Moscow’s game plan in their opening Group G match in this seasons Champions League on Wednesday evening. Defending deep and resolutely away to Barcelona was balanced with a sharp counter attacking game.
McGeadys guile and pace was called upon and contributed to the Russian side gaining a 2-1 lead with a little over half an hour remaining. However there is a diminutive Argentinean who plays for the Catalan side who scored twice in ten minutes to reverse the 1 goal advantage.
The Greek Super League is quite the unknown realm to many us but with Liam Lawrence now a steady presence in the PAOK Salonika side our interest has been registered. Last Sunday saw Lawrence score his first goal for the side in a 2-1 victory over Asteras Tripolis. And Lawrence and his relatively new team mates now sit top of the division. Our interest grows.
Robbie Keane scored two goals as LA Galaxy beat Toronto FC 4-2, converting his only two chances of the game as the Galaxy made tough work of it without the injured David Beckham.