I’m grateful McCarthy came in and steadied things for Ireland and the decision to put Kenny in charge full-time of the Under-21s for 2 years and give him the first team rôle in advance is inspired. But I’ve half given up on the MCarthy side now. If you follow Ireland it’s like being in limbo. Which is pretty much how Manning must be feeling as a player. Waiting for a Mick McDinosaur team to shuffle off and see if the new prospects can cut it at international level. I’m more excited for the U21 Euros in Hungary & Slovenia in 2021 than the 2020 Euros. And if Ireland qualify in 2021 (looking good top of the group at the moment) I wonder how they’ll keep the continuity going? ie: who will run the youngsters as Kenny will be managing the first team.
Ireland were crying out for someone of Manning’s attacking intent in the bore-draw against Georgia yesterday. He could be played in the midfield if he’s not seen as an international-level defender. Interesting to see Aaron Connolly, the other lad from Galway, get his debut and make a positive impact. If McCarthy had given him more than 10 minutes they may well have won the game. After decades of dross Ireland have a bunch of decent youngsters coming through and Ryan is one of them.
Conor Masterson played the full 90 in Dublin Thursday night for Ireland U21s v Italy U21s 0-0. Sounded like a feisty affair. 9 yellows and 2 Reds. Parrott (Ireland) and Kean (Italy) both sent off on 64 minutes. Fairly decent crowd for this level - over 7,000. Haven’t seen Masterson play yet. Games like this must be great experience wise.
I watched Bono the Keeper in a penalty shoot out once. A bit like our Scottish goalie he was trying to distract the penalty taker by jumping around on the goal line and flapping his hands. He moved in mysterious ways.
Subbuteo is without doubt worthy of its own thread.
My many Subbuteo memories include my mate making a discovery that there would sometimes be one player in a team that, if you held it by the body and shook it, the base would make a rattling sound, this player would always be played up front and given the nickname The Rattler and whenever the rattler scored you would shout out ”Rattler!” or ”Rattler strikes again!” It was tacitly implied that this player was either European or South American. The first thing on buying a new team was always to shake each player to see if your box contained one of these exotic rattling rarities.
Also having shït-loads of Lego I would build my own stadiums around the pitch. These stadiums (stadia?) were works of art even if I do say so myself - way ahead of their time. The terraces and exits looked so cool as if designed by 20th Century Dutch Abstract Artist Piet Mondrian and I even had the team names patterned on the outside walls of the stands - often QPR but sometimes the Sunday morning team my Uncle played for.
One Saturday night after a hard evening’s construction and subbuteo-ing I left my proud work in the middle of the front room then turned the lights off to get the full impact of whatever Hammer Horror film was on. Dad comes in from the pub and accidentally stomps all over the bespoke Lego terracing cussing to high heaven and almost falling head-first into the television. For me this will always be known as the great mid-70s Subbuteo Stadium disaster. The subsequent enquiry, the What the fcuk is that shit doing in the middle of the floor!? Report led to a complete ban of all Subbuteo from the living room.