Friday 22 June 2018

11 things you didn't know about Irish XI

Darren Randolph. Picture: Sportsfile
Darren Randolph. Picture: Sportsfile
Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

Darren Randolph - at the age of 11, he was a guest at Ronan Keating's first wedding, to model Yvonne Connolly. His father, Ed Randolph - a basketball player and coach from Florida, USA - had coached and befriended Yvonne in Loreto Abbey in Rathfarnham, Dublin.

Robbie Brady has been childhood friends with Jeff Hendrick since the age of six. They first met at St Kevin's Boys Club in Dublin and the pair were first noticed when they played for the under-eights team.

Jeff Hendrick was with Dublin's underage development squad for a year or two but admits he only played Gaelic football just to get out of class.

David Meyler - as good a virtual footballer as he is in real life. In his down time, the Hull player loves a bit of Fifa gaming and has over 100,000 followers for his live streamed Fifa session on Twitch TV.

Daryl Murphy feels he is getting better with age and so he doesn't worry about being 34 - he just wants to get going and playing for Ireland fires him up.

"My missus says I am ageing like a fine wine, so I hope she is right. I feel good, I just need a bit of sharpness," he has said.

Harry Arter qualified to play for Ireland through his Sligo-born grandparents and believes he had to work even harder to prove his commitment to the Ireland cause, admitting it was hard for him to learn the anthem.

Stephen Ward's passion for the Irish side stretches back a long way to 2002 when he was in fifth year in school, when he skipped a summer exam in engineering to watch the Ireland versus Germany match.

Ciaran Clarke is a Christmas fanatic who's already bought this year's festive jumper. His favourite song is The Pogues' 'Fairytale of New York' and his favourite Christmas movies are 'Home Alone' and 'Home Alone 2'.

Shane Duffy nearly died on the pitch and needed life-saving surgery on a lacerated liver in May 2010, after a collision in a training game between Ireland and the national amateur side in Malahide.

Cyrus Christie was left heartbroken earlier this year after the death of his uncle, boxer Errol (53), a European amateur champion boxer who sparred with Muhammad Ali and 'Sugar' Ray Leonard.

James McClean played seven times for Northern Ireland's U21s but admits he never felt comfortable or wanted during his time there, as a Catholic from the Creggan area of Derry.

"It's hard to stand for that national anthem," he said.

Irish Independent

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