Posts Tagged ‘irish football’

Italia ’90 came just too early for me, and while I still have recollections of it, most of them more than likely made up as they are far too glorious for any six year old to have experienced. So, USA ’94 was more within my grasp and while I wasn’t a football loving child (oh how my ways have changed,) it was hard not to get caught up in the fever pitch that surrounded a national event like Ireland playing in the World Cup. Streets empty during games and lined with Olé Óle Olé chanting, pint swilling headcases after them.  Audacious thieves made a fortune ram- raiding shops during the games, safe in the knowlege their local Gardaí were most likely huddled around a portable tv in the station, blissfully unawares to the happenings in the outside world. The glory of Italia ’90 was impossible to recreate but the reactions to beating Italy and drawing with Norway were the same. Pure unadulterated lunacy.

Soccerball World Cup mascot, 1994

The football sure as hell wasn’t beautiful. The mind truly boggles to think that Ireland beat Italy with a team consisting of five defenders, two defensive midfielders and a man by the name of Tommy Coyne up front. But we did win, Ray Houghton netting in the eleventh minute before eloping on a mad run, tumbling like a toddler and emitting screams that put Marco Tardelli to shame.

Celebrations were short lived as Jack Charlton sent out the same side against Mexico and they were duly spanked 2-1. And still, we somehow managed to qualify for the second round by playing out a dull encounter against Norway that ended 0-0. Exciting stuff, the four teams in the group finishing on four points,  Ireland scraping through only due to their win against Italy.  Three games, two goals scored and two conceeded. You really do look back at these things with rose tinted glasses as reading that statistic shows it was about as far from total football as our Monday night kickabouts. But these were different times, Roy Keane was still a young man, we had squad members like Alan Kernaghan, Alan McLoughlin and John Sheridan and Gary Kelly was still a player with “great potential for the future.” We were tonked 2-0 in the next round and the dream was over.

Why am I harping on about all this you may be (or more than likely aren’t) wondering. Well, digging in the attic last week I came across a collection of cards Kellogs had produced for the occasion. You got free stuff in your cereal those days, generally useless plastic toys or reflectors for the spokes of your bike, but they came up trumps with these. I’m missing Bonner, Babb, Coyne, Eddie McGoldrick (remember him?!) and John Aldridge; Terry Phelan has lost his head. Anyone out there with swapsies?

The Kellogs freebies from USA '94, six shy of the full squad!

Gary Kelly; His profile says he has "great potential" and he hadn't won the first of his 51 caps yet

Ex- Bohs, and the only person in the world to have an All Ireland GAA medal for football and a FA Cup winners medal, Kevin Moran

The man who played 88 times for Ireland and scored 19 goals despite not having a drop of Irish blood in him- Tony Cascarino

Anyone who can provide the missing cards mentioned above, please get in touch- I’d love to get a picture of the full squad… Comment on here or e-mail me at ci_murray@hotmail.com …

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