Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Boost to Irish football

This is a picture of a new mini pitch in Dublin that the youth can play and have competitions. Pitches like this one and getting the yount involved is the key to develope the game and try to get market share back to the League of Ireland.

 There is a big difference in interest in Irish sports. According to wikipedia Galic football is more that twice as "interest" as soccer. Soccer use to be the number one sport however over time interest has wained. The best players migrated overseas particularry England. TV (skysport) broadcast the Premiership games which have the best teams and the best players in the World. (IMHO). The stadiums in Ireland are old and beat up. Just like MLS the league is trying to improve the stadiums to make the game more appealing to attend. This has been a difficult task to not only compete against Galic football, Hurling but also the Premier League.
        Ireland just hosted the EUFA Europa League final. This final brought a lot of attention to the game in Ireland. The is a huge boost to the game. The FAI was active to get the kids involved in a grass roots game that was staged the same day as the final. The FAI is taking a page out of Galic football success by establishing a grass roots organization. This will take years to delvelope so patience and due delligence is the key. Good for FAI for their approach. Emediate results will not be felt but the long out look for the League of Ireland is trying to establish a foundation it badly needs.

FAI grass roots approach to grow game....

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Carling Nations Cup

            I love soccer tournaments. The World Cup is awesome since every country backs their national team. When they are knocked out there is sadness in everyone that supported them. However when the nation gets a good victory, there is celebration from fans in a carnival like atmosphere. The nations I follow are the yanks and the Irish. Well me yanks have the Gold Cup every 2 years. The Irish have Euro Championship in between the World Cups. The Irish however have not made the Euro finals since 1988. The FAI was looking for another little tournament. Enter the Nations Cup or the Carling Nations Cup. This is a new tournament in its inaugural season. This tournament is “taking the place” of the British Home Championship (BHC). The BHC was a soccer tournament between England, Scottland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Founded in 1884 it ran for 100 years to 1984. England was not interested in the tournament anymore so the historical tournament was scrapped. This is when Ireland stepped in. They were the key player and main supporter of this tournament. The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) convinced Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to continue this newer version with a Celtic flavor….the “Celtic Cup”. These nations were in the same boat as Ireland. They all agreed.                                                                                                                                                There is some doubt that the tournament will continue because of lack of interest. However once Skysports agreed to broadcast the event things picked up. Managing director fo SkySports, Barney Francis said: "Live 3D coverage of the Carling Nations Cup further strengthens our portfolio of international football that already includes crucial Euro 2012 qualifiers for the home nations and the Republic of Ireland. We're also delighted that the tournament provides us with another first; as we pioneer international football in 3D for both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The Aviva Stadium will provide the perfect backdrop for what should be some fantastic matches."  The matches will be live in all the participation countries and the UK.
            All games are taking place in Dublin’s Aviva Stadium.  May 24th Ireland take on it’s rival Northern Ireland. The “troubles” always come to mind with Northern Ireland however I do not believe there will be any hooliganism at this event. The Republic of Ireland fans pride themselves that they are not at all like England and their hooligans. Northern Ireland on the other hand has more similarities with English soccer. Scotland will take on Wales the next day. May 27th will feature Wales vs. Northern Ireland while Scotland will challenge the Republic of Ireland May 29th.
            I would have to say I believe the Championship will come to the final game between Scotland and The Republic of Ireland. Ireland being the host nations will have the edge. Attendance and viewer ship with Skysports will determine if this tournament will continue ora not.

Aviva Stadium, site of the 2011 Carling Nations Cup