Sunday, 13 October 2013

Liam Kelly half-way line goal against Sweden - a welcome distraction from the Republic of Ireland seniors.

You would have to wonder about the future of football in this country.   By "football", I mean "football' as understood by most of the world.   Not bogball, not rugger-buggery and not, even worse, the North American variety of the latter, which is played in armour. 

I refer, of course, to the beautiful game, Association Football – or "soccer". 

Despite the odds, this country has produced some wonderful footballers.  Johnny Giles, Paul McGrath, Liam Brady, Dave O'Leary, Packie Bonner, Frank Stapleton and, though I hate to say it, Roy Keane are all examples.

But decent players haven't been coming through in recent years, just headbangers like Stephen Ireland with more belief than ability and a bad attitude to boot.  I think things will get even worse in the coming years with so many young lads being lost to the dark arts of the GAA and the rugby lot.    

All aided and abetted by the utter ineptitude of the Football Association of Ireland.   Which means we will never again grace the World Cup finals or the European Championships' final stages.  

A work colleague of mine described how his kids have been lost to football thanks to the FA placing too much emphasis on competion at and up to under-12 level.

Basically, if a kid does not make the team he is out on his arse, or stood shivering on the sidelines watching his mates play.   I've some memories of this, having partaken in the Home Farm Mini Leagues as a kid, in the capacity described above. 

Kids don't need to be told they are no good - they are at the start of their football lives and even Europe's top leagues are well endowed with players who developed late on.   

There  is some glimmer of hope, as the FAI have belatedly appointed someone who plans to shake up kids' football in Ireland, with three-a-side non-competitive matches played with small goals and designed to give young players as many touches of the ball as possible. 

Ruud Dokter, a Dutchman, might sound like a Carry On character, but he could be just the thing Irish football needs to ensure some kind of future.

Mind you, with a few more goals like the one below by Reading's Liam Kelly – scored against the Swedish under 19s – things might not be as glum as we think.

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John said...

Ah,GM, brings back memories, if your Daddy was not managing the team you would never get a look in, I remember sitting on me arse, many the Saturdays,things do not look bright for the national team at senior level.. we shall wait and see.

The Gombeen Man said...

That's right, John. Cronyism even at that level!!! It's not good for kids to have their confidence knocked like that. I hope the rude doctor can shake things up a bit at that level, and encourage kids to develop skills and confidence.

John said...

Interesting here in Swansea this morning. Swansea play Sunderland and we have a visit from the National Front, scary bunch.. it looks like they came with the followers? good thing about Swansea citizens from what I saw is that they ignore them. However, they have collection boxes with the Poppy and help a hero,and they are wearing semi military uniforms, to look like official collectors. Just taught I mention, GM.