December 7, 2015

Republic of Ireland national team – starting line-up (Best XI) from match which clinched their qualification for the 2016 Euros in France. (Republic of Ireland starting squad from 16 November 2015, Ireland 2-0 Bosnia/3-1 aggregate to Ireland in 2016 UEFA Euros qualifiers play-offs.) [11 starters + 8 other players/ 19 Ireland players profiled.]

Filed under: Ireland — admin @ 6:42 pm

By Bill Turianski on 7 December 2015;
-Squad chart.
-Article on Ireland clinching…Martin O’Neill praises his Republic of Ireland heroes and Roy Keane (by Daniel Taylor at the Aviva Stadium on 16 Nov. 2015 at
-Thread on the day Ireland clinched…Ireland are through to the European Championships! [thread with 1,024 comments] (
-Team (current squad)…Republic of Ireland national football team/current squad (
-Team, with schedule, etc…REPUBLIC OF IRELAND (
-Country…Republic of Ireland.
-Provinces of Ireland…Provinces of Ireland (

Demographics of the Republic of Ireland
Size of the Republic of Ireland…
70,273 km-squared (or 27,133 square miles). The Republic of Ireland is slightly smaller than the African nation of Sierra Leone and is slightly larger than the Eurasian nation of Georgia, and the Republic of Ireland is slightly larger than the state of West Virginia in the USA. The Republic of Ireland is the 118th-largest country by area.
{Sources: Republic of Ireland;
List of countries and dependencies by area;
List of U.S. states and territories by area.(}

Population of the Republic of Ireland…
The Republic of Ireland has a population of around 4.6 million {2014 estimate}. The Republic of Ireland is the 122nd-most-populous country, placing them between New Zealand and DR Congo in population size.
{Sources: Republic of Ireland;
List of countries and dependencies by population (}

Capital & largest city…
Dublin, city population: about 527,000. Greater Dublin metro-area population.: about 1.8 million {2014 estimates}.

Gross Domestic Product of the Republic of Ireland…
The Republic of Ireland’s economy might have hit a severe slump following the 2008 Global economic crisis, but the nation still has the the 12th-highest GDP in the world, at $51,284 (Int$) per capita. (Gross Domestic Product as measured by purchasing power parity [PPP] per capita, via IMF numbers.)
{Source: List of countries by GDP (PPP) per capita (}

Coach of Ireland team:
Martin O’Neill….
Martin O’Neill [age 63] is Northern Ireland-born (in County Londonderry). He made his name as a MF for Nottingham Forest during that club’s legendary run under Brian Clough and Peter Taylor in the late-1970s/early-1980s time period. O’Neill played 10 seasons for Forest (1971-81), with 285 league appearances and 45 goals. He helped them win promotion to the First Division in 1977, then helped Forest become the last English team to win the 1st-divison-championship-after-being-promoted (1977-78 First Division title). Then O’Neill contributed to Nottingham Forest’s 2 straight European titles (in 1979 & 1980). Following stints at Norwich City, Manchester City, and Notts County, O’Neill retired as a player in 1985. O’Neill also amassed 64 caps and 8 goals for the Northern Ireland national team (1981-85).

O’Neill’s management career began in Non-League football, and in 1992 he got Wycombe Wanderers promoted into the Football League for the first time…
Martin O’Neill began his managerial career in Non-League football in 1987 with Northern League side Grantham Town. 3 years later, in February 1990, he got his shot with an up-and-coming Conference club – the Wycombe Wanderers of southern Buckinghamshire. Wycombe were then a somewhat-large-for-non-league club with potential, including a soon-to-be-opened new 10-K-capacity ground (Adams Park in High Wycombe), but Wycombe had never been able to gain election to the Football League before automatic promotion/relegation was instituted between the 4th and 5th levels in 1986-87. And in due time (3 years), O’Neill delivered on that and got Wycombe promoted to the Football League in May 1993 by winning the 1992-93 Conference National. Then one year later, O’Neill delivered again and got Wycombe a second-straight promotion as the Wanderers won the 1993-94 Fourth Division play-offs (4-2 over Preston in front of 40 K at the old Wembley). Martin O’Neill had moved a Non-League club up into the Third Division, in 2 years flat.

O’Neiil gets Leicester City into the Premier League (in 2000), then has a good spell as Celtic manager, before tribulations at both Aston Villa and Sunderland…
So of course O’Neill got the chance to manage bigger clubs, starting with a brief stop at Norwich City (1995). Then O’Neill moved a couple counties over, to Leicester, where he guided the Foxes to promotion to the Premier League in May 2000. Next stop for O’Neill was north to Glasgow Celtic, where, from 2000-to-’05 he managed the Scottish giants to 3 titles and a UEFA Cup final (losing in 2003 to Porto 3-2, in Seville). And speaking of the UEFA Cup, O’Neill’s next managerial stint – at Aston Villa (2006-10) – became unstuck soon after he fielded essentially reserve sides for Villa’s lame and morale-sapping foray in the 2008-09 UEFA Cup. In other words, O’Neill opted to field a sub-standard lineup and treat the competition with cynical disdain. To say that that decision backfired would be an understatement. In fact, it could be said that (the currently-basement-dwelling) Aston Villa still hasn’t recovered from the negativity of O’Neill’s nihilistic UEFA Cup game plan. O’Neill’s plan was this: let’s not even try to win this tinpot tournament, because we got bigger fish to fry. Then they folded over. Here is an excerpt from Martin O’Neill’s wikipedia page,…” After 25 games of the 2008–09 season the club were third in the table on 51 points, 2 points above Chelsea on level games and 7 points above Arsenal in 5th place and on course for a place in the Champions League for the first time since 1983. O’Neill then decided to prioritise Champions League qualification above all else, fielding a virtual reserve side for a UEFA Cup game against CSKA Moscow which was subsequently lost. Following this, Villa failed to win any of the next 10 league games and improving form for Arsenal & Chelsea meant that Villa failed to reach the top 4.”…{excerpt from Martin O’Neill (

Under O’Neill, Aston Villa had three straight 6th-place-finishes (2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10). Villa were stuck in the pathological-Thursday-night UEFA-Cup/Europa-League-purgatory. That, coupled with seeing insufficient funds available to improve his squad, contributed to O’Neill’s decision to resign as Aston Villa manager in August 2010. Martin O’Neill’s next club was chronic-dysfunction-magnet Sunderland AFC, of whom O’Neill took the reins of in December 2011. (Sunderland and Celtic are the 2 clubs that O’Neill supported in his boyhood.) O’Neill could do little to change the culture of underachievement there on the Wear, and 27 months on, in March 2013, O’Neill was sacked by the Sunderland board, as the team lay mired in a relegation fight. Sunderland finished 3 points above the drop in 17th that season [2012-13], and have been teetering on the brink of relegation virtually ever since then. O’Neill would not coach or manage for one-and-a-half years after that sacking.

November 2013: Martin O’Neill is hired as the Republic of Ireland national team coach…
17 months later, in November 2013, Martin O’Neill was hired as the Republic of Ireland national team coach. O’Neill brought in Roy Keane as assistant coach, in a sort of Good-Cop (O’Neill)/Bad-Cop (Keane) dynamic. Well, it worked, and although it took a nail-biting play-offs victory over Bosnia to clinch it, in the end, no one can deny that Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane got the perennial-nearly-men the Ireland national football team into a major competition – this from probably the toughest group in the qualifiers (Group D: Germany, Poland, Ireland, Scotland, Georgia, Gibralter). In the qualifiers, Ireland took 4 of a possible 6 points off of Germany (aka the World Champions), despite having only 37% possession when drawing with Germany away, and then having only 33% possession in beating Germany at home in Dublin (see 3 photos below). But Poland held off Ireland to claim the second automatic qualifying spot in the group. So it was off to the dreaded play-offs for Ireland. (Article continues below the illustration.)

    Below, the 2016 Euros qualifying campaign of the Republic of Ireland

(Please note: you can click on the illustration below to place it on an easier-to-read page.)
Photo credits above – John O’Shea scoring on a header, late (94′) v Germany, photo by Keith McManus/BPI via Shane Long scoring winner v Germany, photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images via Shane long runs to fans to celebrate his winning goal v Germany, photo by Getty Images via Robbie Brady scoring in the fog in Bosnia, photo by Reuters via Edin Džeko after scoring for Bosnia to equaliize v Ireland, photo by Getty Images via Screenshots of interior-view of Aviva Stadium on 16 Nov.2015 from video at Schematic illustration of Ireland squad lineup, by Jonathan Walters scoring from the penalty spot (24′), photo by AFP/Getty Images via Jon Walters scoring second goal off free kick by Robbie Brady, screenshot of video at Jon Walters celebrating with fans alongside giant green-&-white-checkered flag, photo by Peter Morrison/Associated Press via Martin O’Neill & Roy Keane after win, photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile/Corbis via

So it was off to the dreaded play-offs for Ireland…
In the play-offs, Ireland drew Bosnia, and then eked out a 1-1 result in the first leg, in the dense fog in Zenica, Bosnia on 13 Nov. 2015, with DF Robbie Brady scoring late, followed a couple minutes later by an equalizer from Bosnia FW Edin Dzeko (see photos above). In the second leg, before a full-house/50-K-crowd in Dublin, Ireland clinched qualification with a 2-0 victory over Bosnia, thanks to a brace from RW/FW Jonathan Walters. Walters’ first goal was in the 24th minute from the penalty spot. His second goal was in the 70th minute off of a free kick by Robbie Brady – which Walters trapped, parried, and slotted in on the near post (see fuzzy screenshot above). The staunch Ireland defense held for the remaining 20-odd minutes, and Ireland had clinched. As noted in the following article by Daniel Taylor at Guardian/football, Martin O’Neill afterward praised assistant coach Roy Keane for his influence in the dressing-room. Said Martin O’Neill: “I’ve had to make many big decisions. The biggest was bringing in Roy Keane and he has been absolutely phenomenal. I couldn’t be more delighted with him. He’s an iconic figure. He sometimes polarises opinion but not in the dressing room.”…{quote from Martin O’Neill praises his Republic of Ireland heroes and Roy Keane (by Daniel Taylor on 16 Nov.2015 at

The Republic of Ireland will join 3 of the 4 British home countries in the 2016 UEFA Euros in France next summer…
Ireland now joins England, Northern Ireland, and Wales in qualifying for the 2016 Euros. Ireland have now qualified for 2 straight Euros tournaments (this is their 3rd Euros qualification overall). Northern Ireland have qualified for the Euros for the first-time-ever, and have made it to a major tournament for the first time in 30 years (previous, FIFA WC 1982 & 1986). Meaning, in France next summer, there will be full representation for ALL of Ireland – in a major tournament – for the first time ever. And how fitting that a man (O’Neill), born in the United Kingdom, got the Republic of Ireland into the Euros, just as his fellow countrymen from his birthplace up north, in Northern Ireland, had done the same.

(Please note: you can click on the illustration below to place it on an easier-to-read page.)

    Ireland national team – starting line-up from match which clinched their qualification for the 2016 Euros in France.
    (Republic of Ireland starting squad from 16 November 2015, Ireland 2-0 Bosnia/3-1 aggregate to Ireland in 2016 UEFA Euros qualifiers play-offs).

Photo and Image credits above – Ireland 2015 kits illustration from Republic of Ireland national football team Photo of Martin O’Neill jumping for joy as Ireland scores a late goal for a draw in Germany, photo unattributed at Map of Ireland within the EU, by NuclearVacuum at File:EU-Ireland.svg.
Blank map of administrative divisions in the Republic of Ireland, by lasunncty at File:Republic of Ireland counties and cities.svg ( Blank map of Ireland, by NordNordWest at File:Ireland location map.svg ( Circa 2014-15 Ireland jersey badge, photo uploaded by Otaku [unattributed] at [thread: appreciating-the-worlds-finest-in-football-kits]. 2015 Ireland jersey, photo from
Goalkeeper… Darren Randolph, GK (West Ham Utd), photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images Europe via
Defenders…Séamus Coleman, RB/RMF (Everton), photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images Europe via Richard Keogh, CB (Derby County), photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images at Ciaran Clark, CB/DMF (Aston Villa), photo by Craig Brough/Reuters via Robbie Brady, LB/LMF/CMF (Norwich City), photo by Christopher Lee via
Holding Midfielders…Glenn Whelan, CMF/DMF (Stoke City), photo by Paul Thomas at James McCarthy, CMF/DMF/AMF (Everton), photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images Europe via
Attacking Midfielders…Jonathan Walters, RW/CF (Stoke City), photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images via Wes Hoolahan, AMF/LW (Norwich City), photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images Europe via Jeff Hendrick, CMF/DMF/AMF (Derby County), photo by Harry Engels/Getty Images Europe via
Striker…Daryl Murphy, CF/W (Ipswich Town), photo by Stuart Watson at
Other player-options…Shane Long, CF/W (Southampton), photo by David Cannon/Getty Images Europe via John O’Shea, CB/WB (Sunderland), photo by Getty Images (mis-attributed) at Robbie Keane, CF/LW (LA Galaxy), photo unattributed at James McClean, LW/FW/RW (West Bromwich Albion), photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images via Shay Given, GK (Stokr City), photo by Christof Koepsel at Aiden McGeady, RW/AMF/LW (Everton), photo by Gareth Jones via Marc Wilson, CB/LB/DMF (Stoke City), photo by Getty Images via Stephen Ward, MF (Burnley), photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images Europe via

Thanks to all at the following links -
-Republic of Ireland national team (
-Special thanks to the very excellent site called – for their unerring ability to describe most any footballers position(s).

September 3, 2009

Super League XIV; Guinness Premiership 2009-10 and the Magners League 2009-10, with maps of each league, and attendance map of all 36 teams in top flight UK/Irish rugby.

Filed under: Ireland,Rugby,Rugby>England,Scotland,Wales — admin @ 6:25 am


The first map shows all 36 teams in the three top rugby leagues of Great Britain and Ireland.  The maps for Super League XIV,  Guinness Premiership 2009-10,  and Magners League 2009-10 are further down in the post.  

Two of the three leagues shown on the map use the older Rugby Union code.  Super League uses the newer Rugby League rules

The Rugby Union code dates back to 1870 {see this}. The Rugby League code has its roots in the Great Schism, and the formation of the Northern Rugby Football Union in 1895 {see this: ‘The Great Schism’ (from};  {see this: ‘History of rugby league’, from}.}.   

In the late nineteenth century, the working class status of the majority of rugby players in the north of England necessitated an establishment of payment for the players (as well as compensation for injuries). The origins of many of the rugby players in the south of England were middle class and upper class, and many learned the game at the Public Schools (which were then and still are essentially private schools for the privileged). So there was less a need for player payment. The Rugby League / Rugby Union split can traced to this Victorian era class divide…in the north, poor working-class men playing the game, in the south, Public School graduates with little pressing need for salary augmentation, playing the game under the principles of amateurism. 

In 1892, charges of professionalism were made against rugby clubs in Yorkshire, specifically in Leeds and Bradford. By 1893, widespread suspensions of northern clubs and players began. In late August, 1895, in a meeting in Manchester, nine Lancashire clubs declared their support for their Yorkshire colleagues. Two days later, 29th August, 1895, representatives of 22 clubs met in Huddersfield, Yorkshire to form the Northern Rugby Football League. Included in these 22 clubs were 7 clubs that are currently in Super League XIV…Huddersfield, Hull FC, Leeds, St Helens, Wakefield Trinity, Warrington, and Wigan.


Rugby Union is more plodding, and utilizes scrums to restart the run of play {see this, ‘Playing rugby union’}.  Rugby League is faster and more wide-open {see this: ‘Rugby League’}. But Rugby League is the dominant game in just two areas of the world…in a swath of north-central England, and in Australia. 

Rugby League Code: Super League…


Click on the following title for Super League XIV map:  rugby_super-league-xiv___.gif

The parts of northern England where Rugby League is the dominant code are in a band which stretches from Merseyside, through Cheshire, Greater Manchester, and east across the Pennine Chain to West Yorkshire, and the East Riding of Yorkshire, centered on Hull. 11 of the 14 current teams in Super League are from this Rugby League-intensive swath of England. In this swath there is 1 team from Merseyside, just east of Liverpool (St Helens); [Editors note ca. 2014: now 2 teams currently from Cheshire incl. the re-instated Widnes Vikings] 1 team from Cheshire (Warrington Wolves); 2 teams from Greater Manchester (Wigan Warriors and Salford City); 5 teams from West Yorkshire (Huddersfield Giants, Bradford Bulls, Leeds Rhinos, Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, and Castleford Tigers); and 2 teams from Kingston upon Hull (Hull FC, and Hull Kingston Rovers).

There is one other team in Super League from England: Harlequins RL, who are based in west London. Although it had separate origins, since 2005 Harlequins RL has been a branch of the Rugby Union/ Guinness Premiership team Harlequins FC. Harlequins field a team in both rugby codes (as do Super League team Leeds Rhinos, with their Rugby Union team being Leeds Carnegie). 

The other two teams in Super League XIV are the Celtic Crusaders of Bridgend, south Wales, who joined Super League in 2008; and Catalans Dragons, of Perpignon, France (in the Catalonian area of southern France), who joined in 2006. [Note: Celtic Crusaders are now defunct, having been wound up in Sept. 2011.]. Super League was formed with the intention of being Europe’s top league in the Rugby League code, but having one team outside of Great Britain is as far as the league has got in that direction. The French team was originally Paris Saint-Germain RL , but thar poorly supported club went under in 1997.

In 2005, Super League replaced promotion/relegation with Licensing {see this}. There is a brief description of Super League Licenses on the map, in the sidebar.  Super League features a February to September playing season, unlike the traditional late summer/ fall/ winter/ early spring rugby season. 

The highest drawing teams in Super League are Leeds Rhinos, who averaged 15,113 per game in 2008;  Hull FC (14,390 per game);  Wigan Warriors (14,149 per game); and St Helens (12,796 per game). As a whole, Super League XIII averaged 9,082 per game. Here is the list of attendances that I used {click here ( Message Board thread, posted by frequent contributor Stadiumitis?)}

Super League has a large play-off format, with 8 teams qualifying each season . This system has been in place since 1998 {see this}, and culminates each season in the Grand Final.

Only four teams have won Grand Final Titles…St Helens 4 times; Leeds Rhinos and Bradford Bulls 3 times; and Wigan Warriors once, in the first final in 1998.   Leeds Rhinos were 2008 champions.

For the full list of Rugby League Champions (1895-’96 to 2008), {click here}.

For the 2009 Super League table {click here}.

For new expanded Super League play-off structure {click here (Sky Sports broadcast report from March, 2009}.


Rugby Union Code: Guinness Premiership…

Click on the following title for Guinness Premierhip 2009-10 map: rugby_guinness-premiership2009-10_1.gif

 The Guinness Premiership is strictly an English affair.  Its roots are in the English Rugby Football Union’s decision in the early 1970′s to finally sanction a knock-out cup (which is now known as the Anglo-Welsh Cup {see this}. The pro game in England had been held back by the organizers fear that ‘dirty play’ would ensue if leagues were organized within English Rugby Union. By the mid-1980′s , national merit tables came into being (this being the first time Rugby Union teams’ success was quantifiably measured). In 1987, the Courage Leagues were formed. This was a pyramid system involving 108 leagues and over 1,000 teams. In 1994, Sky Sports started broadcasting games. In 1996, professional status began with the debut of the Rugby Union Premiership. In 2002-03, the champion was now determined by the Playoffs winner, instead of first place in the final league table. That season the title went to London Wasps, while Bath was winner of the now-secondary league table. Those two teams, London Wasps and Bath Rugby, both have won 6 Premiership Titles, they are second only to Leicester Tigers  who boast of 8 Premiership titles. Leicester also draws very well,  averaging around 17,000 per game. The only other teams with titles are Newcastle Falcons and Sale Sharks, both with 1 championship season. Incidentally, Sale Sharks are the lone Rugby Union team in the Rugby League region of north-central England. Gloucester has won the league table 3 times. Reigning champions are Leicester Tigers.

The Guinness Premiership has relegation and promotion, with last place being sent down to the Guinness Championship (formerly National Division One). It is the only one of these 3 leagues that has promotion/relegation in the strict sense. Leeds Carnegie have been promoted for the 2009-10 Guinness Premiership,  upplanting the relegated Bristol Rugby. 

The Guinness Premiership draws the highest crowds of the 3 leagues, averaging 10,876 per game in the 2008-’09 season. Highest drawing teams in 2008-09 were Leicester Tigers (17,210 per game); Gloucester (14,215 per game); Northampton Saints (13,250 per game); Harlequins RFC (11,774 per game); and London Irish, of Reading (11,384 per game). Five teams drew between 9,100 and 10,600 per game…Bath Rugby; Worcester Warriors;  Saracens,of Watford; London Wasps, of Wycombe;  and Sale Sharks, of Stockport, Greater Manchester. 

Guinness Premiership 2009-2010 season starts 4th September,  fixtures {click here (Official site)}


Rugby Union Code: Magners League…

Click on the following title for Magners League map: rugby_magners-league09-10.gif

The Magners League is the top flight rugby league of Wales, Scotland, Ireland, and Northern Ireland. Its roots are in the old Welsh Premier Division. In 1999, Scottish teams joined, and in 2001, Irish and Northern Irish teams joined,  inaugurating the Celtic League. After a shake-up in early 2003, involving the demise of some of the Welsh teams, it was decided that the Celtic League would become the sole professional league in Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Northern Ireland. [The Welsh Premier Division is now a developmental league, see this.]. In 2006, for sponsorship reasons, the Celtic League became known officially as the Magners League. 

Munster and Leinster have won the title twice; Ospreys, Llanelli, and Ulster have one title each. Munster Rugby are reigning champions. Munster also drew highest of all teams, not just in the Magners League, but versus teams from the other two leagues as well. Munster plays in two locations: in Cork, and in Limerick. They averaged 17,401 per game in 08/09. Leinster also drew well, second highest in the Magners League and fifth best overall, at 14,728. The next highest drawing Magners League team last season was Ulster, of Belfast, Northern Ireland, who drew 9,085 per game. Next in order came the four Welsh teams… Cardiff Blues (8,673 per game); Ospreys, of Swansea (8,405 per game); Scarlets, of Llanelli (7,293); and Newport Gwent Dragons (6,089). The 2 Scottish teams only drew in the 4,000-range; and the lowest drawing club of all was Connacht, of Galway, Ireland,  ho drew only 1,989 per game, lower than 10 teams in lower-division leagues. There is a Magners League sidebar at the lower left of the map.

Magners League 2009-2010 season starts 4th September,  fixtures {click here}.


Lower Leagues

The highest drawing non-top-flight team in 08/9 was Exeter Chiefs, of National Division 1 (that league will be called the Guinness Championship in September 2009). Exeter drew 4,599 per game in 08/09, higher than 2 Super League and 2 Magners League teams. Next highest, at 4,006 per game, was Widnes Vikings, of Cheshire, a team in the second tier of Rugby League, which is called the Co-Operative Championship {see this map of the teams in the Co-operative Championship…again,  ote the concentration of teams in the Rugby League-oriented north of England} [note: Widnes Vikings joined Super League in 2012.].


Thanks to Football Grounds Guide Message Board, and contributor ‘Stadiumitis?’  {click here}.   Football Grounds Guide home {click here}.  

Thanks to James at The Rugby Blog {click here}, for input and information.

Thanks to Steven Bond at {‘Rugby League vs. Rugby Union’, click here}.  

Thanks to Suite101 site, and this thread {click here: ‘Rugby Union versus Rugby League’,  by Stuart Duncan}.  
Thanks to the contributors to the pages at Wikimedia  {click here for Super League XIV page;  click here for Guinness Premiership pageclick here for Magners League page}.

Powered by WordPress