Dan McDonnell: Doherty makes case with another fine show but bad break for O'Kane
Dan McDonnell rounds up the football weekend:
Doherty makes case with another fine show
"I know he’s said he would like me to attack more," said Matt Doherty in an interview with two Irish Sunday newspapers. "Maybe I’ll do that.
"When I first joined up it was my defending that was the problem. Now it’s my attacking. Maybe my face just doesn’t fit."
Martin O’Neill will have noted his words. The Wolves player has developed into a major talking point and, while Seamus Coleman will always play, Doherty found himself behind Cyrus Christie in Poland and was deeply frustrated.
After his pre-match words, there was scrutiny on Doherty yesterday but he responded in the best possible way by producing a man of the match performance against Burnley.
He had more touches than any other Wolves player and made the winning goal. Granted, Ireland may not control possession in the same way but Doherty is entitled to be sore about his international status. The questions won’t go away for O’Neill.
Bad break for O'Kane
Irish players tend to go out of sight and out of Martin O’Neill’s mind when they drop to League One level – although that pattern has altered somewhat this year, with Ronan Curtis earning a call for Poland.
However, there’s a difference between players who look to be on the way up and players who have been forced to drop down.
Eunan O’Kane is in that boat and moved to Luton Town on loan from Leeds in order to get some game-time.
Disaster struck for O’Kane on Saturday when he suffered a double leg break after coming off the bench against Bristol Rovers. A long and lonely road lies ahead for the 28-year-old – back at the parent club where he has no future.
Zlatan hits milestone
He joins Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in crossing that milestone and, while his MLS goals may not carry the same currency as his strikes in elite leagues, his effort for LA Galaxy away to Toronto was beamed around the world.
Ibrahimovic was on the run as a ball that was lofted towards him in the box sailed over his head and he managed to contort his body to execute a perfect karate kick that left the keeper rooted. The home fans joined in the applause.
Galaxy were 3-0 down at the time, but managed to pull it back level before losing 5-3 in a crazy game.
On This Day – 2006
Shay Given suffered a perforated bowel after a clumsy challenge from West Ham’s Marlon Harewood.
It turned out to be a far more serious injury than the goalkeeper initially realised – it was only in the Newcastle dressing room afterwards that the penny dropped.
The Donegal man was taken to hospital and told that his injury was consistent with someone who had been in a car crash. Indeed, he was told that he was lucky to be alive.
His injury had implications for Ireland and their new manager Steve Staunton, with Paddy Kenny called in for what is now remembered as the Nightmare in Nicosia – the 5-2 loss in Cyprus which his regime never recovered from. Kenny never played for Ireland again.
It’s now well established that Crystal Palace are a different team when Zaha is in the side and he proved that point again with a match-winning moment at Huddersfield. It would be a surprise if he’s still there this time next year.
It’s been a big year of penalty saves for the Derry City goalkeeper and he added to that list at the Brandywell yesterday with a late stop to make sure of victory in the EA Sports Cup final. The skipper then got to lift a trophy in his hometown.
The Bohemians winger was exceptional in their dismantling of Cork City and is a complete late bloomer who has burst on to the League of Ireland scene after serving his time in the amateur game.
Cork City were excited to bring in a player from the Premier League when he opted to come home, but the defender has struggled and suffered a horror show in Friday’s defeat to Bohemians. He was hooked at the interval after a comical own goal in a half where Bohs scored four.
He overperformed with a tight budget last year to make Preston play-off contenders, but there’s a bit of scrutiny on the Scot now after a weekend defeat to Reading that puts North End in the relegation zone.
The England U-21 international struggled in Everton’s loss at West Ham, a game where watching senior team assistant Steve Holland would have noted another assured display from Declan Rice.