O’Leary Wants Irish Job – Someday
by Cathal Dervan
DAVID O’Leary has bought a house in his native Dublin and re-iterated his desire to manage the Republic of Ireland – when his Premiership ambitions are realized.
The Aston Villa boss dismissed speculation linking him with a shock return to troubled Leeds United in the wake of Peter Reid’s Elland Road sacking.
And the former Republic of Ireland international, a World Cup hero at Genoa in 1990, insists the only job that will interest him after Villa is currently Brian Kerr’s.
“My dream is to move home to Dublin and manage my country when the time is right,” O’Leary told the Sunday Star.
“It won’t happen for some time yet and I know I am taking a chance that it might never happen for me in the future, but I have ambitions still in England.
“I want the Irish job when I get club management out of my system. That would be the icing on the cake for me – to move home, live in Dublin and manage my country.”
Former international boss Mick McCarthy has also found an unlikely ally in O’Leary, the player he kept out of Jack Charlton’s team for so many years.
O’Leary has spoken out about the way former Irish boss Mick McCarthy was treated by a section of the Lansdowne Road crowd after the defeat to Switzerland that cost him his job last year.
“I was home for that game and I was disappointed at the way the crowd turned on Mick, it shocked me to see Irish fans turn on their own,” said the Villa Park supreme.
“I thought Mick did a really great job with the squad at his disposal and he deserved more than what he got. I came away that night very disappointed. I never thought I would experience something like that at Lansdowne Road.
“I met Mick later that night and he asked me if it was time for me to have a go. I said no, the job wasn’t right for me then but I got hammered for being honest.
“All I wanted to do was ensure that people knew where I stood with regard to the Irish job then. I didn’t want people to put money on me under false pretences.”
O’Leary also has strong views on the subject of a home for Irish soccer as the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) face up to the prospect of playing home matches away from Dublin in the next World Cup qualifiers.
“It saddens me that we are still playing at Lansdowne Road, in a ground that hasn’t changed a bit since I first played there in the ‘70s,” he added.
“I was there for the England rugby game back in March and I passed Croke Park on my way to the match. That ground is a credit to the GAA, as good as anything I have seen in Europe, and I would love to see the soccer team play there.
“It is a crying shame that soccer isn’t being played there. I have friends and family who follow Dublin from the Hill but they are all soccer people as well.
“My mother’s family down in Clonmel follow the Irish soccer team, the same as all Irish people. I would love the people in the GAA, the small minority, to open their ground up and show it off to the world.
“That said, it is a crime that we don’t have a stadium of our own when you look at all the revenue the Irish team has generated over the last 20 years.”
Boylan in Geraghty’s Corner
SEAN Boylan launched Graham Geraghty’s biography Misunderstood in the Meath town of Athboy on Tuesday night and leapt to the defense of his banned All-Ireland winner.
Geraghty will sit out the 2004 championship and may never play for Meath again after he was suspended for 48 weeks for throwing a bottle at a referee after a club game.
Boylan, guest of honor at the book launch, knows Meath will struggle without their controversial full-forward. And he has lashed out at some of the ludicrous press stories which feature so prominently in Geraghty’s book.
“Graham has had to put up with so much in his career, on and off the field, and sometimes I wonder how fair it all is,” Boylan said.
“When you look at some of the scurrilous stories that have been written about him and his family, stories with no truth that have bordered on malicious and libelous, you just have to wonder how people can treat him like that.
“I know Graham and I know Amanda his wife and their two children. He is not a bad person, he is not someone who deserves controversy the way it has stuck to him like a magnet.
“The people who have said and written those things about him should examine their own conscience. He was my captain. We have only ever won seven All-Irelands in Meath and he deserved to be captain in 1999. I wouldn’t have made him captain if he was a bad person or a dirty player.
“I feel for Graham now and I know we will miss him. He is such a lovely footballer, someone you could ask to play in any position on the team and know that he would do a job for you.”
Kerr Wants New Stadium
BRIAN Kerr has again called on the government to sort out the National Stadium issue as the FAI prepare to move Ireland’s home World Cup qualifiers out of the country.
Officials at Parkhead, Old Trafford, Anfield and even Ibrox have declared a willingness to talk to the FAI about the use of their grounds for Republic matches after FIFA banned the Lansdowne Road bucket seats.
And Kerr, who led the Republic into Tuesday night’s friendly with Canada at the Dublin venue, knows it is not looking good for his team’s chances of playing competitive games on home soil next season.
“We do need a decision from the government soon as regards the stadium issue,” said Kerr as Bertie Ahern’s Cabinet continues to drag its heels on the issue.
“The issue of the ground is not a very attractive proposition right now. We may have to play our home games away from Ireland which is not preferable, or we may have to play at Lansdowne with two ends of the ground empty.
“Neither proposition is attractive as far as we are concerned so we need a decision soon.”
The government choice is simple. They can bankroll a re-development of Lansdowne, build a brand new stadium at Abbotstown or put pressure on the GAA to open up Croke Park to other sports.
“I hope we get the stadium the kids of this country deserve,” added Kerr. “It was a lot easier when I was a kid to go to internationals and it’s not that long ago that you could turn up at Dalymount or Lansdowne and get into an Ireland game 30 minutes before kick-off.
“Thousands of Irish kids haven’t had the opportunity to get to our home games in recent years and they haven’t been able to experience the games live and watch the exciting players we have in the team now. We need a bigger stadium for them.”
Irish Clubs Cash In
IRISH clubs have welcomed FIFA’s ruling that schoolboy clubs are entitled to a share of the fee if their graduates move from one professional club to another later in life.
Dublin side Crumlin United have led the way in the battle for rights to their players transfer fees and will now pocket over $150,000 from the sale of Robbie Keane from Leeds to Spurs.
New Irish international Andy Reid may well be the next big revenue earner for both Lourdes Celtic and Cherry Orchard if he leaves Nottingham Forest for the Premiership when the transfer window re-opens in January.
And he has welcomed the decision by FIFA that guarantees a lucrative spin-off for his schoolboy clubs.
Speaking ahead of the Canada friendly, Reid said: “I think it’s a brilliant thing. A hundred grand is nothing to a club in England when they are selling the likes of Damien Duff or Robbie Keane for millions.”
Reid, the kid who turned down Arsenal and Manchester United for Nottingham Forest, may well source a nice nest egg for the Cherry Orchard coffers in years to come as the big guns of English football eye his talents once again.
He is non-plussed about the speculation. “I chose Forest years ago because they made me feel wanted, because they had more time for me as a young kid that I felt at Arsenal or United,” he revealed.
“The speculation about moving doesn’t bother me and doesn’t faze me. If the club come to me and say they have accepted an offer, then that is a different story but that hasn’t happened yet.
“I am just so happy at the moment. Things couldn’t be going better for me.”
DONEGAL boss Brian McEniff inspired Ulster with a stirring halftime team talk as they beat Connacht by 0-14 to 0-9 in the Railway Cup football final in Enniskillen on Sunday.
“This is the centenary of the Ulster Council and it was only fitting that, in a year when the Sam Maguire came to the province, that we should win the Railway Cup as well,” said McEniff afterwards . . .
PAIDI O Se’s reign as Westmeath manager started with a defeat as an experimental side went down to a young Dublin outfit by 0-15 to 0-9 in a challenge game at Templeogue on Sunday. “It was a start, my first day out with them,” said O Se. “There were a lot of pluses and a lot of negatives but it is early days yet.”
MANCHESTER United’s biggest shareholder John Magnier is to “vigorously defend” a court action taken by Alex Ferguson over the ownership of champion racehorse Rock of Gibraltar. Ferguson is demanding 50% of the stud fees earned by the wonder horse but Magnier claimed the High Court action, initiated on Monday, is “without merit.” . . .
CATHERINA McKiernan returned to winning ways as Irish athletes dominated the Margate Cross Country International in England on Sunday. McKiernan and Seamus Power won the senior races while Mullingar’s Mark Christie won the junior men’s event . . .
PADRAIG Harrington and Paul McGinley netted $135,000 between them when they produced a fine final round 67 to claim fifth place in the World Cup at Kiawah Island on Sunday . . .
IRELAND rugby international David Humphreys is expected to return for Ulster when they meet Edinburgh in the Celtic Cup final in Glasgow on Saturday.
SHELBOURNE are now red hot favorites for the eircom League title after beating nearest challengers Bohemians on Friday and Drogheda United on Monday night. Bohs also dropped a point to Longford on Monday to all but hand the title to their Dublin rivals with just three games to go . . .
SUNDERLAND’S Sean Thornton has lost his battle to be fit for the under 20 World Cup finals and his place in Gerry Smith’s squad has been taken by St. Patrick’s Athletic youngster Keith Fahy . . .
LIAM Miller is expected to be fit for Celtic’s visit to Dundee United on Saturday after a hamstring injury forced him out of Ireland’s friendly with Canada. Former Celt Colin Healy also missed that game, with a toe injury, but should play for Sunderland at Crewe this weekend.