…that are Irish!
Here at the Transfer Tavern, we like to think we pretty much embrace all cultures. Sort of like, an internet based UN only with more football transfer rumours! If that culture happens to have a tasy ale as it’s national dish, and also produces great footballers, we like it even more.
So, in the spirit of the day, pull up a bar stool, grab yourself a pint of the black stuff, have a listen to that scratchy old Daniel O’Donnell CD the landlord keeps under the till especially for the 17th of March and start talking like you just stepped off the boat from Dublin! We say Cead Mille Failte, to these 5 top Irish Premier League stars!
Roy Keane – Adored by Manchester United fans (except those eating prawn sandwiches) and universally hated by the rest of us, Keane is seen by many as being a snarling, untalented, uncouth thug, who should never have been anywhere near a football pitch.
Witness the Alf Inge Haaland incident for proof. But, deep down, many people’s resentment of Keane boils down to jealousy. Generally people are thinking, ‘I wish we had a Roy Keane, in our team.’ Currently in the managerial wilderness following his departure from Ipswich Town, the former Sunderland manager won 7 Premier League titles, 4 FA Cups and led his team to a Champions League victory in the Nou Camp. Ok, so he never actually played in the final because he was suspended, but he still got a medal!
Roy only got 67 caps for the Republic, and probably would have got more had he not decided to call manager Mick McCartney ‘an English —— and ‘a —– manager and a —— player! He hails from Cork, in deepest darkest Ireland.
Robbie Keane – No relation to the above psychopath, the Dublin born Keane is currently at West Ham. That’s the 8th club of a career which has seen him score goals for Liverpool, Inter, Leeds and Celtic. Oh, and of course Tottenham! Keane is currently 9th on the Spurs all time goalscorer list with 123 goals to his name.
So far, he has 104 caps for Ireland with 45 goals. It’s been said that the quickest way to get an Irish person to swear is to mention Robbie Keane! I would have thought the quickest way to get an Irish person to swear is just to speak to them….Only joking! I love Irish people, not as much as I like Australian people though…Keane’s trademark goal celebration is to do a cartwheel and then pretend to fire a handgun into the crowd. Ashley Cole just saves that for the training pitch.
Shay Given – When he was at Newcastle, I firmly believe that Shay was the the best keeper outside of the Top 4 in the Premiership, perhaps even the best in the Premiership. He made 354 appearances for the Magpies, but the lack of trophies inevitably forced him out.
Joined Manchester City in 2009, and initially had a good debut season. Unfortunately for Shay a change of ownership and management meant that he lost his place to youngster Joe Hart. So far this seaosn he has made just 4 appearances in the Cup, managing only 1 clean sheet. His skills come from his experience of Gaelic football, a sport which his brother still plays back in their native County Donegal. He has 109 caps for Ireland, making him his country’s most capped player.
Damien Duff – Another Dublin born boy, Duff has been a Premier League regular since making his debut for Blackburn back in 1996, when he was just 18. He’s since turned out for Chelsea, Newcastle and Fulham. After his compatriot Roy, he’s the second most successful Irishman on this list, with 2 Premier League titles to his name.
Oh, and an Intertoto cup with Newcastle! So far he has 884 caps for Ireland, and was one of his country’s ‘Golden Generation’ scoring a goal against Saudi Arabia in the 2002 World Cup finals. Widely regarded as one of Ireland’s best players, Duff has scored 8 goals for the Emerald Isle.
Kevin Kilbane – Ok, so he’s not the most exiting Irish player on the list, nor was he particularly any good. Plus he was actually born in Preston, Lancashire, on this side of the Irish sea. But 34 year old Kilbane has 102 caps for Ireland, and is pushing Giovanni Trapattoni for more caps in the run-up to the Euro 2012 tournament. He has made 50 consecutive appearances for Ireland, and went to the World Cup with Given, Duff and both Keane’s!
He’s played in the Premier League for 4 different clubs, Sunderland, Everton, Wigan and Hull. He’s still playing now, with Huddersfield! And it wouldn’t be St. Patrick’s day without mentioning an Irish ex-pat whose eyes still get misty when he hears the Rare Old Mountain Dew blasting out of the speakers in his local!
Follow Peter ‘Paddy’ Turner on Twitter @petermagpie