Friday 18 October 2019

Big match diary: Setanta to show friendly matches

Former Irish International soccer player Denis Irwin
Former Irish International soccer player Denis Irwin

SETANTA SPORTS landed the rights for tomorrow's Wembley showdown after RTE lost out in a bidding war. Setanta have also secured the rights for Ireland's friendly with Spain in New York on June 11.

"We did look to secure the rights but we were outbid," said an RTE spokeswoman.

As it's England's home game, the TV rights are distributed by a third party acting on the English FA's behalf.

RTE have committed to reducing their spending on sports rights in the current, difficult economic climate and this game was a victim of that policy, with Montrose chiefs prioritising competitive games.

They recently extended their deal for the free-to-air broadcasting of all of Ireland's qualifying games until the end of the 2018 World Cup campaign.

Setanta presenter Paul Dempsey will be joined in studio tomorrow by Brian Kerr, Stephen Hunt and Denis Irwin (above), who played when the countries last met on that infamous night in 1995.

RTE 2FM will cover the game live, though, with regular TV commentator George Hamilton behind the microphone.

MANDZUKIC ONE OF THE BEST – ST LEDGER

THE Champions League final featured two players who have caused Ireland heartache lately, with David Alaba and Mario Mandzukic prominent in Bayern Munich's success.

Ireland defender Sean St Ledger found the positives in Croatian international Mandzukic's goalscoring exploits.

"It made me feel a lot better actually," said St Ledger, who was part of the defence that conceded twice to the prolific striker during Euro 2012 in Poznan.

"He seems to score a lot. He's done very, very well. He probably wasn't too well known in the Euros but I felt he was one of the best strikers I've ever played against. He seems like he has proved himself this season."

SPAIN RECALL TORRES FOR BIG APPLE CLASH

While all eyes are focused on tomorrow's opening game of Ireland's four-match end-of-season schedule, the Spain squad named by Vicente del Bosque gives an indication of the task facing Giovanni Trapattoni's charges in New York on June 11.

The Spanish head coach has named a 26-man squad for the friendlies with Haiti and Ireland, which will be cut to 23 for the Confederations Cup in Brazil.

Fernando Torres has been recalled to a roster that also includes Xavi, Iniesta, Mata, Silva, Alba, Ramos, Pique and a host of other top-class performers.

NUMBER OF THE DAY

5 Members of the Ireland squad who were born in England. They are goalkeeper Keiren Westwood, defenders Sean St Ledger and Richard Keogh and strikers Jon Walters and Simon Cox. It is quite a contrast from 1995, when seven members of the starting team were English-born.

Daniel McDonnell

Irish Independent

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