Friday 24 November 2017

Euro 2012 Diary: Foley tuned into his Kingdom roots

KEVIN FOLEY may speak with an accent born from his upbringing in Luton, but he will be passionately rooting for Kerry in their All-Ireland final showdown with Dublin.

Both his parents are from the Kingdom, and the versatile Wolverhampton Wanderers star spent many of his summers in that part of the world honing his GAA skills.

His dad remains a fanatical supporter and has, in the past, favoured a trip to Dublin to watch his beloved Kerry over an appearance to catch his son in action.

Foley Snr can't be in Croke Park on September 18, though he is planning to make the afternoon a special occasion nonetheless.

"He's actually going to Las Vegas for a wedding," smiled Foley Jnr. "He gets in at 1.30 that afternoon and says he'll just have enough time to get to the pub.

"I think he's looking forward to it. A week in Vegas and then coming back to that. Hopefully they win."

Foley is, of course, part of a large Irish contingent at Wolves. And that group could grow bigger, with English-born defender Richard Stearman another Wolves star linked with a switch to the Republic under FIFA eligibility rules.

The 24-year-old has lined out for the England U-21s but qualifies for Ireland. His clubmate Jamie O'Hara turned down the chance to switch across to the Boys in Green, and Foley has indicated that Stearman is facing a dilemma.

"The lads are giving him a bit of stick about that," said Foley, indicating that characters like Kevin Doyle, Stephen Hunt and Stephen Ward have enquired about the extent of his Irishness.

"I think he has got grandparents and there's an opportunity there, but whether he takes it or not I'm not sure. I think he might still be undecided."

Number of the day: 11

The entire starting XI from that famous night in Paris are available for selection this Friday -- a rarity since Thierry Henry ended Ireland's World Cup dream.

Liam Lawrence is likely to be on the bench, but it's possible that the other 10 will start, with Kevin Kilbane the only one in jeopardy.

Quote of the day

"We have never asked them to stay for one week in the hotel. But if the players want to play in the European Championships, then they must stay focused and be professional."

-- Ireland assistant Marco Tardelli offers his take on the issue of player discipline that was brought up by manager Giovanni Trapattoni on Monday.

Irish Independent

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