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Henry effect has taken huge toll on Trap's troops

IT gladdened the heart to see Glenn Whelan draw back and thump one into the back of the net against Manchester City last week. Better still to see him battle toe-to-toe with Patrick Vieira and win pulling up.

The sight of a Frenchman delivering a kick to Irish nethers was entirely in keeping with the theme of the season so far but this time a decent punishment has been handed out and Vieira, in the face of overwhelming video evidence, had the grace to 'fess up straight away and didn't compound his low act with mealy-mouthed self-justification.

In the great cathedral of Champions League football, our friend Martin Hansson was in the middle of another firestorm last week and irony of ironies, the oxygen was supplied by Arsene Wenger, Henry's greatest defender and apologist.

At the crucial moment in Porto when Sol Campbell's balletic skills let him down and teed up the Portuguese champions for a winner, the eagle-eyed among us spotted that the unfortunate Swede had his hand in the air signalling an indirect free-kick long before the RTE panel twigged it, but Eamo in full flood could not be denied and even though he was wrong, it felt good to hear him verbally swat Hansson about the ears.

Over in Munich, a certain Tom Henning Ovrebro made as many mistakes as Hansson has made in an entire career in just one match while Fiorentina and Bayern gave a decent impression of tag team cage fighting and chaos reigned.

But in the end, it's the players and of course the fans, who suffer most. Just ask Whelan or indeed the rest of the Irish team who left Paris with empty hearts and minds?

Let's call it the Henry Effect, for want of a better title, though it could just as easily be tagged the Hansson Effect or the Ovrebro Effect.

Since that fateful night in Paris, the statistics tell a tale of broken spirit in some cases, broken dreams in others but enough true grit to feel the stirrings of optimism again -- especially after the Euro 2012 draw gave Giovanni Trapattoni plenty of encouragement.

Against Brazil at the Emirates on March 2, he will find many reminders of Thierry Henry. Maybe he should swap sob stories with Wenger.

Before today's announcement, he had already signalled that he will stick close to the squad which travelled to Paris for the friendly with Brazil in London where he must begin the job of rebuilding morale.

But how big has the Henry Effect actually been and how big a job has Trapattoni on his hands?

SHAY GIVEN

Hardly blinked after Paris though he was deeply upset by events in the Stade de France. Given is so single-minded now in his pursuit of silverware that it was inevitable he would move on quickly. Has been outstanding for Manchester City and all but ever-present since November 18.

p Games since Paris: Man City 21, Given 20

p Henry Effect: 0

KEVIN KILBANE

Killer wasn't playing too often for Hull before Paris but he's been active even less since. Taken to one side and told by Liam Brady that he might have some time off to be with his family when Ireland are playing in the future, Kilbane is now in the same boat as Lee Carsley -- out of the picture but not quite out of the frame.

It wouldn't do any harm at all to bring him to the Emirates and let him say goodbye properly, if that's the point he has reached.

p Games since Paris: Hull City 16, Kilbane 6

p Henry Effect: 8

SEAN ST LEDGER

Got caught between managers, clubs and the transfer deadline and ended up marking time at Preston until the summer when Celtic will revive their interest along with several mid-rank Premier League clubs. Has been happy to talk his way through events in Paris and out the other side and has only missed one game since he returned.

p Games since Paris: M'bro 5/Preston 13, St Ledger 17

pHenry Effect: 0

RICHARD DUNNE

After a brief pause for a philosophical shrug of his shoulders, Richard Dunne simply turned his face into the wind and carried on where he left off in the Premier League and is now a live candidate for Player of the Season.

There were a few rumblings suggesting that he might be reviewing his involvement in international football after Paris but the Euro 2012 draw will surely keep him interested.

pGames since Paris: Aston Villa 19, Dunne 18

pHenry Effect: 0

JOHN O'SHEA

Has more reasons to be bitter about Paris than any other Irish player. On top of his disappointment, he's had to cope with a nasty and potentially long term injury and hasn't kicked a ball since Paris. Alex Ferguson has missed him badly.

p Games since Paris: Man Utd 22, O'Shea 0

p Henry Effect: 10

LIAM LAWRENCE

Lawrence had momentum when he was picked for Paris. Trapattoni's trust helped his confidence and his standing at the Britannia Stadium But he took the defeat badly and his form dipped to the point where he has been a peripheral figure at Stoke until recent games showed a marked improvement in form.

p Games since Paris: Stoke City 17, Lawrence: 11

p Henry Effect: 7

GLENN WHELAN

Took Paris to heart and faded into the background at Stoke. As Ireland's qualifying challenge grew, so too did Whelan's confidence and when the dream was shattered, so too was Trapattoni's engine room. Looked lively and bright against City during the week and may have turned a corner.

p Games since Paris: Stoke City 17, Whelan 12 p Henry Effect: 7

KEITH ANDREWS

Another who found confidence and form from Trapattoni but hit the wall after Paris and has struggled since. But, like Whelan and Lawrence, he seems to have come through his purgatory. He's made of strong stuff, is Andrews, and he will be one of Trap's rallying points in the coming months.

p Games since Paris: Blackburn 20, Andrews 13

p Henry Effect: 7

DAMIEN DUFF

One of the bright spots in a gloomy picture, Duffer has been brilliant for Fulham without a hint of any reaction to events in Paris and has been acclaimed by Roy Hodgson as the buy of the season. Duff hasn't missed a beat and is pushing Dunne for the Irish player of the season award.

p Games since Paris: Fulham 22, Duff 21

p Henry Effect: 0

KEVIN DOYLE

Just three goals since Paris and just two before that, Kevin Doyle is doing just about everything right for Wolves other than score enough. He was clearly disgusted with events in Paris and his form did dip briefly but he's been earning rave reviews from Mick McCarthy for his general play. A few more goals please.

p Games since Paris: Wolves 17, Doyle 13

p Henry Effect: 5

ROBBIE KEANE

Robbie's position at Spurs after Paris went downhill rapidly and his game time with it. Reduced to an impact sub, he decided on a highly risky loan move to Celtic and returns to White Hart Lane and an uncertain future in the summer -- unless he makes the trip to Glasgow a permanent one. Three goals since the play-off and two of them for Celtic.

p Games since Paris: Spurs 15/Celtic 5, Keane 16

p Henry Effect: 9

SUBS

PAUL McSHANE

Oddly enough, McShane's club fortunes have improved since Paris and he's been getting his game almost every week since.

McShane took a lot of flak from some quarters -- including his former manager Roy Keane -- for allowing Henry to roam free at the crucial moment in the Stade de France but he's not one to dwell on disappointments.

p Games since Paris: Hull City 16, McShane 13

p Henry Effect: 0

AIDEN McGEADY

Nothing much upsets McGeady to a point where his form suffers badly for a prolonged period of time and the Celtic winger was back into his stride quickly in the Scottish Premier League.

His form was so good over Christmas that it seemed inevitable that Premier League money would seek him out in Glasgow.

On the downside, he has only scored two goals since the nightmare in Paris.

p Games since Paris: Celtic 19, McGeady 17

p Henry Effect: 4

DARRON GIBSON

Gibson was on a upward curve in the months and weeks before Paris but the fateful day signalled the beginning of a disastrous run,

culminating in defeat by Leeds in the FA Cup at Old Trafford and the hairdryer from Fergie.

Has been inching his way back into the picture in the last few weeks but he's taken a body blow and won't fully recover for some time, especially with a rejuvenated Paul Scholes in full flow.

p Games since Paris: Man Utd 22, Gibson 11

p Henry Effect: 10


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