July 15th 2001

Ireland XI 3 – 1 England XI

On a day that hopefully marked the beginning of the Irish summer a thrilling encounter was being held at Tully Park where the home side who ran out eventual winners by three goals to one. The game was played in excellent spirit but was by no means an idle Saturday kick about between a group of lads from Trim and a group of lads from Reading, this was Ireland Vs England with national pride at stake. The Irish boys were out to show what a truly great sporting nation they are while the English lads were out to show that since they were the creators of the sport, they were the most talented footballers. Unfortunately the game was delayed for over a half an hour as traffic congestion from the crowd travelling to Co Meath was unprecedented. The players arrived in ones and twos while the local lads were all stripped and stretched, ready for action. Eventually all arrived safely and when referee Alan McCormack called the two Flood brothers up for the toss all joking was put to one side for the next seventy minutes.

For the game Ireland called in a special manager in the form of Ronan McKenna aka Jose Camacho . McKenna instilled great belief into his young pretenders and stuck to a rigid 4-4-2 formation. As the Irish hadn’t much experience of playing together this proved an excellent starting tactic as every player knew their position. The game kicked off and after an initial settling down period it was clear that both teams were well matched. The English had the moves but failed to break down the Irish defence and found Anthony Kane in top form, alongside the uncompromising Andrew Reilly they made a formidable team. England earned plenty of corners in the first half none of which forced Peter Clancy into a decent save. However one stinging effort from Baz from well out left Clancy stranded. Luckily for the Stoned One the ball rebounded off his crossbar. Midway through the half, the deadlock was broken. Gordon Flood broke down the left wing, his cross was bravely met by a diving Seamus Harte. Soon after Ireland doubled their lead, Philip Power latched onto a breaking ball and his volley prove too hot for the visiting keeper. Only after this did England start to show some of their attacking ability. On one occasion there were four Irish defenders on the goal-line but as the ball ping-ponged around it broke to safety. However the English were not to be denied and as Clancy spilled a long range effort, he tripped an opposing striker and conceded a penalty. One of four Irish exiles playing on the English side Rob Flood hammered the ball into the top corner to give the lads from Reading hope of making a comeback. Soon after the welcome sound of the halftime whistle was heard and the players went off for some refreshments.

The second half saw McKenna introduce David Doyle in an attempt to kill of the visitors, however the second half as more of a midfield battle as Jonathan Dilworth began to see more possession for the lads from across the Irish Sea. On numerous occasions it was left to Kane to snuff out the danger and this he did when called upon. McKenna made more changes as Gerard Martin replaced a tiring Ross Campbell. Derek Donohoe began to show his true colours runnning at the opposition but often his finishing was lacking. In a bold move McKenna withdrew Donohoe replacing him with goalkeeper Clancy. It proved a masterstroke by the tactical genius as Clancy caused havoc in the Reading defence. In the last ten minutes the Trim boys found an extra gear and were unlucky not to wrap the game up hitting the frame of the goal three times in quick succession. However the time came for McKenna’s inspired substitution to come good as Clancy did what Donohoe could not – find the back of the net. With that the final whistle blew on a highly entertaining evening of football.

Ireland starring

Peter Clancy as: Pedro the Spanish Astronaught

Philip Power as : Stevie Finnan

Anthony Kane as: Franco Baresi

John Kelly as:Nellor

Andrew Reilly as: An Fear is fearr by far

Gordon Flood as: Fuinneog

David Conway as:Conners

Gerard Martin as:Froggy

Derek Donohoe as: Silky skills

Seamus Harte as: the tape worm

David Doyle as: Daithí

Alan McCormack as: the ref who let england play with 12 players……useless….

Some Photos from the match are available here

England Team:

1. Saurauv ghosh – goal

2. dominic wooley, defence

3. Paul Brown, defence,

4. James (gills boyfriend), defence

5. robbie upton, defence

6. adam shaw, midfield

7. Jonathan dilworth, midfield

8. james flood, midfield

9. barry chrisp, midfield

10. pete dilworth, forward

11. robert flood, forward

12. mike young 12th man!