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Saturday 10 December 2016

Euro 2012 playoff diary

Published 09/11/2011 | 05:00

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Duff's asian fan base

DAMIEN DUFF is still a big hit with Asian visitors to Fulham on account of his exploits at the 2002 World Cup -- Ireland's last appearance at a major tournament.

The Dubliner provided one of the enduring Irish images of that adventure to Japan and Korea with the respectful bow after his goal against Saudi Arabia.

And full-back Stephen Kelly revealed yesterday that his club colleague remains popular with visitors from that part of the world.

"It's amazing the number of Asian fans who come over to him,"said Kelly.

"It's unbelievable. I remember his signature bow and I think he

has the biggest majority of Asian fans because of that.

"It's unbelievable the respect he has -- he gets a little bit of slagging over it."

Does the notoriously shy Duff enjoy the attention? "Ah, you know Duffer," Kelly laughed. That's possibly a 'no' then.

Movember madness

It's Movember time, so if anyone notices any unusual facial hair on Jonathan Walters and Keith Fahey on Friday, it's because the duo have both signed up for the fundraising drive that raises awareness of men's health -- and specifically prostate cancer.

The entire first-team squad at Stoke have committed to the moustache growing cause, although it is easier for some than others at this early stage of the month.

Glenn Whelan's complexion means it will take longer for his effort to come to the fore.

Quote of the day

"I thought there was a sniper in the trees that caught me in the calf" -- Paul McShane explains that he was suspicious when he was struck down by another injury with Hull earlier this season.

Number of the day

10 Qualifying matches that Estonia have lost in their last two campaigns. By contrast, Ireland have suffered just one qualifying defeat -- at home to Russia -- and also the first-leg play-off reverse against France. The Estonians, though, have come a long way from collecting just eight points in their attempt to make the World Cup.

Bet of the day

BOYLESPORTS have priced up the odds of Ireland's goalscoring prospects over the next week and one bet stands out -- the 8/11 about Trapattoni's men scoring three goals or fewer over the 180 minutes.

Ireland have never scored more than two goals in a play-off tie and, while Estonia do concede goals, it still stands out as a value bet. It's evens about the favourites scoring four or more over the two matches.

Irish Independent

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