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Tuesday, May 7, 2002

McCarthy loyalty is put to the test
Colin Young

Coach **** McCarthy will today name the new generation of players who will take the Republic of Ireland back on to the world stage next month.

McCarthy, who finally gets his opportunity to lead his country to a major finals, faced some tough choices before deciding on the 23 who will face Cameroon, Germany and Saudi Arabia in Japan.

The majority of McCarthy's World Cup squad travelled back from Tehran in November after the play-off victory against Iran. As his players celebrated a creditable play-off win in typical Irish style on the flight home, the manager was already pencilling in most of the revellers for a more sobering journey to the Far East on May 17.

At that point he did not expect much use for an eraser but the recent emergence of players like Andy O'Brien, Steven Reid, Clinton Morrison and Colin Healy and the return of Kenny Cunningham and Gary Doherty will test McCarthy's loyalty to his more established players.

Richard Dunne, Mark Kennedy, Lee Carsley, Alan Kelly, Rory Delap and Mark Kinsella have remained integral members of the McCarthy era and would have expected a reserved seat on the plane at the turn of the year. They have all been agonising over McCarthy's phone calls for the last two months.

The one absentee from the difficult trip to Iran has always been Mc Carthy's chief concern, and Roy Keane's recent return from injury will have cheered Jack Charlton's former international captain.

Keane was the driving force behind the Republic's group qualification which saw them finish second to Portugal and knock out Holland after refusing to lose to either of the Euro 2000 semi-finalists.

The Ireland and Manchester United captain was in inspired form in the crucial home win over the Dutch and the equally vital victory and clean sheet in the first leg against Iran at Lansdowne Road.

But Ireland went on to prove in Iran - and in the subsequent friendly home wins over Russia, Denmark and the United States - that they can cope without their leader.

McCarthy, who has extended his contract to the end of the Euro 2004 qualifiers, is further encouraged by the arrival of new talent which will join the exuberance of youth already injected by Robbie Keane, Damien Duff and Ian Harte.

Ireland are much better prepared for the future and for transition than they were when they qualified for the 1994 Finals and when McCarthy took over six years ago.

Whoever misses out is certain to return to the squad which will look to capitalise on their deserved top seeding in the European Championship qualifying draw.

One of those guaranteed a place today is Sunderland midfielder Jason McAteer, a late inclusion in Jack Charlton's squad bound for the United States three World Cups ago. The man who scored the unforgettable winner against Holland is now one of the most senior members of the Irish squad.

He said: 'In '94 I was in Magaluf and it absolutely destroyed my summer. I had a little inkling that I might be going when Bruce Rioch made me stop drinking and keep training while I was out there.

'It was a great occasion. I totally enjoyed it. It was the most perfect scenario in which to play football. This time it means a little bit more for me. In '94 I didn't play in any of the qualifiers, just the warm-up games. I didn't even know if I was going to make the 22, hence my being in Magaluf with Bolton.

'This time I've played in all of the qualifiers and grown with the squad over six years with **** McCarthy and the lads that have been there.

'Because we've missed out, having the heartache, the absolute nightmare of the play-off defeats in Belgium and Turkey, it makes this just a little bit more special.'

PROBABLE SQUAD:

Given (Newcastle), Kiely (Charlton), Alan Kelly (Blackburn Rovers), Finnan (Fulham), Breen (Coventry), Cunningham (Wimbledon), Dunne (Manchester City), Staunton (Aston Villa), O'Brien (Newcastle), Harte (Leeds), Gary Kelly (Leeds), McAteer (Sunderland), Roy Keane (Manchester United), Holland (Ipswich), Kinsella (Charlton), Carsley (Everton), Kilbane (Sunderland), Kennedy (Wolves), Robbie Keane (Leeds), Quinn (Sunderland), Duff (Blackburn Rovers), Morrison (Crystal Palace), Connolly (Wimbledon).

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Just watched the Gary Kelly's testimonial...

a great player...

all his earnings from the match to charity....cheers for kelly

hooya Kelly!!!!!! One Gary Kelly ..Theres only one Gary Kelly...

.......And the Celtic Fans rendition of YNWA is wonderful!!!! Hooya Celtic!! Hooya HOOYA hOOYA!!!!!

I'll be shouting my voice hoarse for England this summer....and of course Ireland too!!!!!

Come on Eire!!!!!!


Oh btw..the way Healy played....How the F*** is he not in Micky's squad??????? well his time will come ....a F***ing good playa this lad.....
 

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Wednesday, May 8, 2002

McCarthy remains loyal
Ian McGarry

McCarthy: Familiar faces
(Allsport)
**** McCarthy knows and appreciates the meaning of loyalty, so when it came to selecting the players who will represent the Republic of Ireland at the World Cup, his task was less painful than it might have been.

Other international managers have suffered sleepless nights and pangs of guilt knowing they must wreck dreams in the simple act of omitting a name from a squad list. However, you get the impression that McCarthy rarely wakes in anguish.

There were no bolts from the blue infiltrating the green when he announced the 23 players who will travel to Japan on another Irish campaign laden with hope.

Instead, they are a tried and tested bunch, all of whom are known well to the manager as players and men.

He could have added the precocious talent of Celtic's Colin Healy, who shone in the last three friendlies but, for McCarthy, betraying one of those who played a part in earning the Republic their ticket to the tournament was too high a price to pay.

Having benefited from the managerial patronage of Jack Charlton when still playing international football, McCarthy learned that trust between a coach and his players is the fundamental element of the team spirit which has given the Irish such a magnificent experience in tournament play.

McCarthy said yesterday: 'Loyalty is very important to me and I think it's very important to be loyal to people, whether it's in football or not.

'I remember that I spent most of the season before the World Cup playing in the reserves. I had only played about 10 games for my club Millwall before Jack Charlton picked me to go to Italia 90 on the basis of my performances for him.

'Jack showed his loyalty to me and I have always said that the lads who got us to the Finals would be the ones given the chance to go to Japan to try to win the World Cup or make progress in the tournament for Ireland.'

To that end, Lee Carsley was picked ahead of Healy, Tottenham's Gary Doherty, Millwall's Steven Reid and Southampton's Rory Delap.

Mark Kennedy of Wolves has also been named, despite recent injury worries, and he will be given the chance to prove his fitness in next week's match against Sunderland - for Niall Quinn's testimonial - and then Nigeria.

An honest and blunt man, McCarthy remembers when Queens Park Rangers' Gary Waddock was left out of the squad which went to Italy and reached the quarter-finals. He learned that what is in a man's heart can be just as valuable as what he can do with a ball.

The Republic boss added: 'I remember Alan McLoughlin of Portsmouth made a late run to make the squad and went instead of Gary Waddock, who had contributed to us qualifying. I then spent the whole of the tournament wondering whether Gary might have made a difference to how we performed.

'The young lads who aren't going this time will have the European Championship in 2004 to look forward to.

'I looked at the whole thing and asked myself: "Is taking any of them going to give us a better chance of winning the World Cup or making our mark?" When a player like Lee Carsley has turned up, given his all and been loyal to me, that has to mean something to you as a manager.

'The question that I asked myself then was what difference will it make?

'If it was someone who was streets ahead of everyone else we've got in terms of ability and would definitely start, then yes. But should I sacrifice someone like that just to bring in a fresh piece of meat? The answer is no.'

It was 'no' when he made a short round of phone calls on Monday to those who might have yearned to go but will instead watch the Group E matches against Germany, Saudi Arabia and Cameroon on television.

Aston Villa's Steve Staunton was among the number who received a positive call and, with 97 caps already to his name, the 33-year-old full back will have a chance to become the first Republic player to reach a century of appearances in his final World Cup.

Veteran striker Quinn, 35, has also been selected while younger players Richard Dunne, Damien Duff, Robbie Keane and Andy O'Brien are those who McCarthy hopes will form the new generation of Irish folk heroes. All of them know what it is to reap the rewards of loyalty.

GOALKEEPERS: S Given (Newcastle), D Kiely (Charlton), A Kelly (Blackburn).

DEFENDERS: S Staunton (Aston Villa), S Finnan (Fulham), K Cunningham (Wimbledon), G Breen (Coventry), I Harte, G Kelly (Leeds United), R Dunne (Man City), A O'Brien (Newcastle).

MIDFIELDERS: J McAteer (Sunderland), Roy Keane (Man United), M Kinsella (Charlton), M Holland (Ipswich), K Kilbane (Sunderland), M Kennedy (Wolves), L Carsley (Everton).

STRIKERS: Robbie Keane (Leeds), N Quinn (Sunderland), C Morrison (Crystal Palace), D Duff (Blackburn), D Connelly (Wimbledon).

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Reid is officially on standby if Kennedy goes down in the testimonial or against Nigeria
 

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Not a bad squad by anybody's standards. Could have used Keane though, whoop's, he's there. But I see not Quinn, wait a min he's there too. But what about Jason Mcateer? We can't play without him can we! Oh, he's there too. Hmmm, look's like this is the best squad we have ever had. Good Work ****! :tongue: :howler:
 

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I'm hearing the Kennedy has pulled out of the squad. So I presume Reid will be in (maybe Healy). I'm OK with that.
 

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I ran into Mark Kennedy whilst shopping the other day. I bumped into him as he was picking up a slice-pan.
"Ah, tis yourself" I said, with all my usual cheeriness.
"Yeah, Hi, I'd like to buy too tickets to France please" he said
"Oh is that the way it is now Kinsella?" I said, in a Temper.
"You'd be lucky if it lasts another 3 months" He spouted
The penny dropped
"Look, Dunne. I know it's you. So stop the messin, put out your shoes and get the f*ck out from behind that curtain"

.......Utter Bollox
 

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Badge said:
I'm hearing the Kennedy has pulled out of the squad. So I presume Reid will be in (maybe Healy). I'm OK with that.
Yeah I'm very O.k. with that. Not that I'd ever wish injury on any lad but Reid is a great young talent and I'd love to see him go.
 
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