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.