Sunday 20 October 2019

Ireland diary: England likely to keep us waiting

AFTER Wednesday's successful Wembley date, FA general secretary Alex Horne has again promised that England will visit Dublin for a return fixture, but it could develop into another saga on the basis of his non-committal comments about the exact date.

The FAI would be keen on a fixture in November 2014. Horne, however, said it won't take place 'in the immediate future', adding, "It's something that we'll look to do. We owe them a game and so we'll schedule that."

TONGUE-TIED LONG GIVES MEDIA THE SLIP

HE crept away from the opposition defence to put the ball in the English net, but Shane Long showed even greater movement to avoid talking about it to the media afterwards, managing to find his way onto the team bus without going through the post-match mixed zone.

Long has barely spoken on Irish duty since his run-in with Giovanni Trapattoni in Serbia last August, when he stressed that he was 'fully fit,' while the manager claimed otherwise.

The player wanted to avoid controversy by keeping his head down and not speaking again afterwards. But with that issue now in the past, it's a shame that he didn't air his thoughts about his part in such a special occasion. But that's the way things are around the Irish camp these days, with the same players often left with the task of fulfilling media duties.

Another affable character, Stephen Kelly, refused to speak on Wednesday as well, perhaps fearing a raft of questions about his own spat with the manager when a simple one-line statement would put it to bed.

Have some sympathy for the agreeable Sean St Ledger and Darren O'Dea if they end up in front of the microphones again over the next week.

NUMBER OF THE DAY

5Members of the current Irish squad who started in Giovanni Trapattoni's first competitive game in charge, the 2-1 win over Georgia back in September 2008. The controversial decision to move the match to Germany set the wheels in motion for this Sunday's fixture. The five are John O'Shea, Richard Dunne, Glenn Whelan, Aiden McGeady and Robbie Keane.

JUNIOR FINAL HOPES TO PULL IN THE CROWDS

There are two matches at the Aviva on Sunday, with the Georgia game preceded by the FAI Junior Cup final between Kilbarrack and Sheriff YC.

Players from both clubs were at Ireland training yesterday, posing for photos. The amateur decider kicks off at 1.30 and, hopefully, there'll be a good turnout; although that could easily apply to the Georgia match too!

Irish Independent

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