Sunday, 18 November 2007


Northern Ireland striker David Healy continued to update his now legendary status in yet another special night under the floodlit Windsor Park. Having scored the winner in the giant-killers 2-1 win over 10/11 favourites Denmark, the golden boy from Killyleagh took his tally an incredible 13 goals in the 2008 European Championship qualifying campaign.

That incredible feat now see's the Fulham new-boy overtake former Croatia striker Davor Suker as the highest ALL-TIME scorer, a record that has lasted since the Euro 96 tournament.

So it's now 33 goals in 61 internationals for Healy. Not bad. Especially when you consider the size of the country he represents. Last time I checked the Northern Ireland population was 1.5 million. Heavens above, if Liverpool opened any more universities in the city it would be guaranteed to breeze past that amount!

So now that you have got the idea of the magnitude of what David has actually achieved, it might be time to arrive slowly back down to Earth. To be blunt, Northern Ireland WILL NOT qualify for Austria & Swizerland next year (you heard it here first folks). Yes, we can go off to sunny Spain with all the hope in the world, but even if we did pull off a famous victory in the Canary Islands, we still need Latvia to go to Stockholm and do a number on Sweden! Not impossible, but highly improbable nonetheless.

But with every cloud they say there's a silver lining. It appears to be the reverse with Northern Ireland. Yes, we got the win but at a cost as we'll now be without Keith Gillespie for the Spain game. He's the battler (quite litterally eh Keef) we needed in Las Palmas. And then there was Spain's 3-0 over Sweden - who were from what I saw were completely uninterested from start to finish. Oh and another thing, who the hell was the twat waving his Rangers FC scarf at the final whistle like a monkey on a '3 leet'? Get lost mate, you either go to show your support for your COUNTRY, or you don't show your face at all. And no, Peter Lovenkrands wasn't even playing either if that's what you were thinking! The logic is lost on me.)

However, back to the up-side and as it draws to a close, what a rollercoaster this campaign has given us. The fans were amazing, as per usual. Vocal. That's what was required beforehand, and that's what we continue to get time and time again at home. It's a truley unreal atmosphere, and one that which if you haven't been you MUST experience. The 16,000 home fans (wish we had room for more) cheered their team onto yet another home win at 'fortress Windsor' which was very nearly 'waterlogged Windsor' before kick-off! But hey, the swimming pool effect worked perfectly! Well done IFA... and God (not Healy, the other one).

But at the end of the day, when it's all said and done, what a truely remarkable campaign it has been from the boys in emerald green, and one man inparticular... **Salutes**... DAVID HEALY. Good times never seemed so good.

PS: Well done to a former Ashfield Boys' pupil Warren Feeney, who like myself attended the East Belfast high school. To think, he was a 5th year when I was an itsy bitsy 1st year, ah the memories! 'Feeno' you did us proud tonight.

Saturday, 10 November 2007


World governing body Fifa has suggested that players born in Northern Ireland should be allowed to opt to play for the Republic of Ireland.

A question for all you blog-ites out there... should the world governing body FIFA allow Northern Ireland born players to opt for the 26 counties in the Republic of Ireland?

Puzzled? Ok, I'll answer it for you. They shouldn't. End of. Here's why...

The Irish FA is the 3rd oldest association in the world - who once officially ran the all-Ireland team for its first few decades - and they are clearly NOT the partitionists on this issue.

Of course the Brits could be accused of being partitionists in the political sense (ooh controversial!) but in all fairness this is FOOTBALL we're talking about and the Republic's football association should really reap what they sowed in the 1920's when they took their ball and killed off the islands all-Irish side. Lets not forget the fact that up until the partition of Ireland in 1921 the IFA governed football across the entire island but a decision by the Dublin clubs to form their own association led to the formation of the FAI (Football Association of Ireland).

What this breakaway association (the FAI) is doing is essentially sectarian, as players from nationalist/catholic areas such as Darron Gibson will form a generation of Irish catholics on their team (ROI) and we'll have a team full of Ulster protestants (NI).

The door will then be shut firm on the chris bairds, martin o'neills, gerry armstrongs, damien johnsons of days of old and partition in Ireland in footballing terms will be even greater.

So come on FIFA, in a time when Northern Ireland is beginning to achieve the cross-community support of old with the various campaigns run by the IFA, please dont make partition between our two countries even greater as we may potentially end up with 'Catholic Ireland' and 'Protestant Ireland' - sad, but a real possibility should they rule in favour of the breakaway association - the FAI.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007


CONFUSED?? You should be!

Pretty random, but how come brands in Northern Ireland suddenly change their name when you cross the border to the Republic?? It's a question that has quite simply baffled me for years. It seems the North-South divide applies to crisp and drink labels too!

Being honest I'll admit I haven't really bothered my arse in investigating this strange phenomenon, but as you can see from the above UK version is 'MAGNERS' whereas ROI version is 'BULMERS'. Infact, ask a Dubliner if he would like a bottle of Magners, you might just get a very bemused look.

Same thing would happen if you went down South and struck up a conversation on Mr Tayto (the wee man off the crisps). Both Mr Tayto's look completely different, and I am not sure as to who is the original and who is the imposter. Just look below, the red packet is 'the Irish one' and the yellow packet of Cheese & Onion is the 'Norn Irish one'.

When i was young I was always told, Mr Tayto was from Tandragee (Co. Armagh), but is he really? Or does he now have a clone running somewhere in Ashbourne (Co. Meath). I just don't know.

Ah the mind boggles as to this puzzling episode, so if anyone out there can enlighten me it would make my day... no really, it would.

Tuesday, 30 October 2007



All the talk on Sky Sports News today, and all over the press for that matter, has been about this proposed 'Team Great Britain' football team for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Will it or wont it happen is the question of everyones lips at the moment.

But the latest snag hitting the team has come from across the water from Great Britain, in Northern Ireland. New IFA president Raymond Kennedy is now AGAINST such a move to involve the four home nations together in a one-off tournament. Leaving England as the sole country interested by the team. And it should be remembered that it was former IFA chief Jim Boyce who was 'all for' there being a Great British team in 2012. But new-boy Kennedy's reasoning behind the IFA's 'U-turn' on the team was a follows...

"If this was to happen the IFA would be in a dangerous position. Other federations could seize on the opportunity to say that a GB team could compete in a European Championship or World Cup in the future. I'm not giving anyone the chance to say that. We do not want to compromise our national identity."

The word paranoid might spring to mind!
But, already, the associations of Wales & Scotland respectively, have been opposed to the joint team as they believe it could give FIFA a reason to propose a UK team solely in the future which would take away the four home nations rights to exist as separate footballing nations.

However, it seems the majority of fans of Wales, Scotland & Northern Ireland are very much against it for other reasons, citing 'English arrogance' as a reason behind their opposal to such a team being formed. Here's a few arrogant English fans (why they are so arrogant i do not know - Russia, Croatia and all that) at their best...

comment by pinnacleoffruit:
lol at barry fergerson, come on! so he is better than hargreaves, lampard, barry and more? I dont think so. We saw how good he was when he flopped at blackburn.The only reason the other teams arent that interested is that the GB team would mainly be english players with giggs, bale and gordon.

comment by liverpool_4_tital:
we (england) dont need wales and scotlad with us they wouldnt have any players in the team!

Typical, you might think. But lets be honest about this, a team representing Great Britain would be prodominantly full of English players, wheres the 'unity' in that?

If indeed it were to go ahead it would HAVE to be:

6 English
6 Scottish
6 Welsh
6 Northern Irish
+ a coaching squad containing EQUAL numbers from the four associations.

Only then, should the Home Nations be all for it.

Monday, 29 October 2007


From BBCNI yesterday...

So, another day goes by and another name is thrown into the hat for the vacant managers position in Dublin. The name Graham Souness has been synominous with Rangers FC supporters over the years after his highly controversial spell with them, but it could be the Glasgow Celtic fans in Ireland that may find themselves having to support a man whom they deeply hate - if any of these comments are anything to go by...

Originally Posted by joker77:
"Maybe Anti Irish is a bit strong. But after having managed Rangers, and being openly opposed to Scotland's separation from England, I wonder where he'd stand on the Gibson case..."

Originally Posted by Mr Alan:
"Cant help but feel a lot of the hate towards Souness may lie with his previous involvement with Rangers. No doubting that a fair amount of Irish fans wouldnt be impressed if he got the job. Unfortunately."

Of course, i realise as much as anyone else that Souness isn't a bigot. He managed the Protestant half Glasgow, so what? He also signed the first CATHOLIC in the clubs official history - Mo Johnson in 1989 - from rivals Celtic!

Indeed there are other possible candidates out there (Martin Jol, Brian Kerr, David O'Leary etc.) I wouldn't write off any of them from doing the job for the Irish but Souness is certainly a man worthy of taking ROI to the world cup. His passion for every club he has managed has never been questioned, but for a poor spell at Newcastle admittadly.

Other supporters on the site however were optimistic on Souness steering the Republic ship through the next qualifying campaign for World Cup 2010. These comments i believe reflected the 'good-side- of the Republic's football fans whom are all too often overshadowed by the Glasgow Celtic obsession...

Originally posted by DeadSkin:
"Come to think of it, I'd honestly love to see that happen. It'd be very interesting to see how Irish based Celtic fans would respond to an appointment of Souness."

But i have to say this post inparticular gave me the biggest laugh of the day, as well as a reassuring outlook on Republic fans in general, knowing they're not ALL Old Firm followers...

Originally posted by Seaneh:
"Boo-f**ing-hoo, he sold some Irish players ebcause he thought he could improve the team, most of the players he sold were coming to the ends of their carees anyway. It's called over-hauling, happens everywhere. He has signed Irish players for both Newcastle and Blackburn, he works for Irish TV, some of his best mates from his playing days are Irish, he's not some paddy bashing idiot. He did bad at ONE club, whoop, Alex Ferguson was **** for the first 3-4 years at Man U, look at him now. Again, Boo-fukin-hoo, he managed rangers, who gives a flying f**k except a couple of bigoted idiots in leprechuan suits and hooped jerseys, generally the sae idiots who protested outside croker saying 'keep forgien games out of Croke Park' while wearing hooped jerseys."

... couldn't have put it any better myself Seaneh mate!

Saturday, 27 October 2007



From the BBC today...

"Republic in hollow Gibson victory"


- "Darron Gibson decided to play for the Republic of Ireland. Fifa has told the the Republic of Ireland they can keep the services of Northern Ireland-born Darron Gibson." - GOOD RIDDANCE!

- "... the Republic have lost the battle with Northern Ireland over the eligibility of players in the future." - OF COURSE, REMEMBER THERE ARE TWO ASSOCIATIONS ON THE ISLAND.

- "Fifa has ruled that the FAI may no longer quote the Good Friday Agreement as a reason for drafting up players born on the island of Ireland." - AGREE.

- "The FAI can now only use players born in the Republic, or whose parents or grandparents are born in the Republic." - AND ONLY RIGHT TOO.

- "The world governing body will not impose any sanction over Gibson's involvement for the Republic of Ireland in the Euro 2008 qualifiers." - JOKE!

So, at last, closure on this never-ending saga. It has no doubt left a bad taste in any Northern Ireland supporters mouth, however the fact FIFA have ruled that dirty-dealing done by the border bandits in FAI in Gibson-gate, will NOT happen again. Gibson got his wish to represent a country he's neither from nor has any family from, and the FAI have won their tug-of-war with the IFA for his services. I say good luck to them. Sure, the guy's Northern Ireland born and bred, but his allegences clearly lie with the Republic of Ireland such is the current political climate in 'the North'.

Ultimately, Darren Gibson is a Catholic and has hailed from a largely Nationalist area of Londonderry. Although, is nationalist area really the correct discription in this case where a player has defected to the Republic's team. I thought a Nationalist was someone who believed in a united Ireland through demographic dialogue, and in essence a united Ireland football team also. Thats where my confusion arises...

The Irish Football Association founded football in Ireland in 1880 and fielded a 'united' team up until the breakaway Football Association Ireland formed their own 26 county team in the 1920's. How nationalists even contemplate support for this partitionist association beats me. Infact, it wasn't until the 1950's that the original team on the island were told by FIFA to change their official name away from 'Ireland' to the current 'Northern Ireland'. The FAI then changed their breakaway name to 'Republic of Ireland' respectively.

But enough of the history lesson, I say any player who isn't going to give 100% for their country of birth simply doesn't deserve to represent them, regardless of if they 'want' to or not. Gibson's decision didn't come down to simply being mistreated by the IFA at youth level, its deeper than that. It's politics. Politics of the worst kind unfortunately, and as observer from start to finish of this whole debacle all thats left to say to Mr Gibson is close the door on your way out.

So, as Northern Ireland continue to field players from both sides of the political divide Gibson's loss may or may not prove to Republic's gain, but lets get back to the football please ladies. Its onwards and upwards for the Green & White Army - The original one.

Friday, 26 October 2007


So folks welcome to Irish Connection UK, combining the Irish banter of the Northern variety & the English banter of a North-West-erly flavour!

So, looks like I have finally arrived on the weird and wacky world of 'blogging'.
Being a rookie to this madness, I'll apologise in advance!

As soon as i get up and running be sure to expect regular ramblings from the thoughts and views of a sports/media student currently in his final year at Liverpool Hope University.

I look forward to your feedback and views on topics discussed on here.
Until then, stay tuned to ICUK.

And make sure to post and leave comments 'til the cows come home (not literally)

Many Thanks
Ryan aka Hammy-GAWA (Green And White Army)