24 March, 2011

(Irish) International Football: "Macedonia. Discuss"......."Disgusted!"........

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Ireland goalkeeping coach Alan Kelly has unhappy Macedonia memories
......such was the reaction of the only surviving member of the last time that Ireland played Saturday's rivals: Alan Kelly; now goal - keeping coach for the Republic of Ireland. Every team has a "bogey team," a team who you should beat comfortably and yet always struggle to do so. Ireland have played Macedonia four times in previous qualifiers and their record is won one, drew two lost one. This is hardly a stellar record against a nation with a population of less than 1/5th that of Ireland's who only have a handful of full-time professional footballers. Such has been Ireland's lack of success against the former Yugoslav Republic that any time an Irish player had a bad training session; they were handed a bib to wear with "I had a Macedonia written on it."
Damien Duff: back to top form
In more relevant news to today's Irish set-up; Séamus Coleman will miss Saturday's tie, which really looks like a must-win if Ireland are to have hopes of reaching Euro 2012. Damien Duff looks set to lead the line on Saturday night and, after a quite few seasons, Duffer looks close to his form of 2002 and was really flying in training at Malahide's Gannon Park this morning.
The team that trained today saw Kieran Westwood in goal and a back four of Kevin Foley, Richard Dunne, Darren O'Dea and Kevin Kilbane.
Macedonia celebrate shock win over Ireland in a 1998 World Cup qualifier
Glenn Whelan and Darron Gibson played in central midfield, flanked by Damien Duff and Aiden McGeady, with Kevin Doyle and Robbie Keane in attack.
This is likely to be the starting line-up on Saturday night.

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