Each week we will review the performances of our Irish stars in Europe’s top league, despite the departure of Ireland’s talisman Robbie Keane to the US, there are still plenty of players in the Premier League to keep Irish fan’s happy. Last weekend saw 16 Irish players feature in England’s top division with another 7 failing to come off the bench. Meanwhile the Irish contingent in Scotland continues to get game time with no fewer than 13 players featuring over the weekend.
Aiden McGeadys absence saw Spartak Moscow fail to inspire while Barry Maguire’s summer move seems to be dividends in terms of game time.
Starting in the Premier League, at Stamford Bridge, Shane Long continued his impressive start to life in the EPL continued as he scored in WBA’s 2-1 loss to Chelsea, their second successive defeat. Long now has two in two and such is his form that another Irish striker, Simon Cox, is facing a long winter on the bench.
The days of calling Steven Reid a midfielder are finally over with the former Blackburn man now a fully fledged defender. Reid put in another 90 shift at the back for Hodgson’s side.
Kieren Westwood had to contend with a place on the bench for the second successive game as Sunderland went down 1-0 to Newcastle with Leon Best also unused for the magpies however there was better news at Villa Park as Shay Given overcame a groin injury to help Villa to a 3-1 win over Blackburn.
Richard Dunne and Ciaran Clarke also played with Stephen Ireland, yet to make an appearance his season, once again on bench duty.
The keeper action continued at Goodison as Paddy Kenny kept a clean sheet in QPR’s surprise 1-0 win over Everton. Recent signing Brian Murphy signed as back up to Kenny, did just that as he started and finished on the bench. Murphy’s arrival at QPR means there are now four Irish keepers in the Premier League. Good going.
Hogan Ephraim, who is eligible for Ireland, played 34 minutes for Neil Warnock’s side after coming on for goal scorer Tommy Smith.
James McCarthy played 64 minutes and was booked as Wigan drew with Swansea with Conor Sammon the sixth Irishman to fail to see any action in the EPL.
Glenn Whelan 90th minute cross led to Kenwyne Jones stealing a point for Stoke in their clash with Wes Hoolahan’s Norwich. Whelan was joined in the Potters line up by Marc Wilson and Jon Walters, all three getting a vital 90 minutes on the pitch. Meanwhile despite his scoring exploits last weekend Paul Lambert opted to leave out Hoolahan although former Irish U21 international Anthony Pilkington played 66 minutes on his home debut for Norwich.
Meanwhile Mick McCarthy’s Wolves side made it two from two as Kevin Doyle’s 42nd minute goal helped the home side to a 2-0 win over Fulham. Doyle was joined in the line up by Stephen Ward and Stephen Hunt with Damian Duff in the Londoners line up. Hunt played 84 minutes before making way for Kevin Foley while Stephen Kelly failed to follow his Europa League appearance dropping to the bench.
In the SPL, Richie Foran’s first league goal of the season wasn’t enough to see of Aberdeen as Craig Brown’s side came won 2-1. Jonathan Hayes started while Aaron Doran was on the bench for Terry Butcher’s side.
Sean Dillon returned to right back with Gavin Gunning in the centre as Dundee United lost one nil at home to Dunfermline to pile the pressure on Peter Houston. Willo Flood and Jon Daly completed the Irish Tangerine quartet.
Darren Randolph’s run of clean sheets came to an end as Ranger’s took top spot off Motherwell with a 3-0 win at Fir Park meanwhile Anthony Stokes played 90 minutes as Celtic fell to a surprise 1-0 defeat at home to St Johnstone, for whom Alan Maybury played the full game in midfield with Cillian Sheridan playing 63 minutes.
Meanwhile Irish striker drew a blank at Rugby Park as Paul Heffernan’s Dunfermline side drew nil all with Stephen Elliott Hearts.
In Europe and the America’s, Robbie Keane scored on his debut for the LA Galaxy while Caleb Folan also scored as the Colorado Rapids drew 2-2 with the Chicago Fire.
In Belgium, Dominic Foley played 17 minutes as Cercle Brugge beat Genk 3-2. Barry Maguire played the full 90 minutes as his new side VV Venlo drew 2-2 with Ajax. VVV have yet to win in 3 games so far in Holland.
Aiden McGeady was missing as Spartak Moscow drew 1-1 with Spartak Nal’chik
Good weekend for:
Paddy Kenny: Kept a clean sheet as QPR got their first win of the season at Goodison Park.
Honourable mentions: Shane Long, Robbie Keane, Kevin Doyle and Richie Foran as they all got on the score sheet.
Bad weekend for:
Wes Hoolahan: Can feel aggrieved at being on this list but more importantly for not making the starting line up for Norwich’s home clash with Wigan. A goal scoring premier league debut last weekend, benched this weekend. Harsh.