Keane links up with squad for key Euro games

[caption id="attachment_66505" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="Shamrock Rovers' Pat Sullivan celebrates scoring a goal during the defeat of against FK Partizan Belgrade in Belgrade, which helped Rovers qualify for the group stages of the Europa League."]


There’s an old saying that "It's an ill wind that blows no good." Now a hurricane has helped Irish manager Giovanni Trapattoni as he prepares for the vital European Championship games against Slovakia and Russia next weekend. The threat of Hurricane Irene caused the postponement of the MSL game between New York Red Bulls and LA Galaxy at the weekend, which meant that Irish striker Robbie Keane was able link up early with the Irish squad in Dublin.

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Trapattoni was at Villa Park on Saturday to see his goalkeeper Shay Given keep a clean sheet for Aston Villa against Wolves in the Midlands derby. The Donegal man is getting treatment for a back strain, but was expected to link-up with the squad yesterday. Midfielder Keith Fahey, who was an unused sub for Birmingham City in their draw with Watford on Sunday, is out with a groin injury.

Manchester is certainly the capital of English soccer right now with City and United sharing leadership of the Premier League with nine points each. The score at the weekend was: Manchester 13, North London 2. United hammered Arsenal 8-2 at Old Trafford, while neighbors City travelled to White Hart Lane and beat Spurs 5-1.

Meanwhile, back in Robbie Keane's home town of Tallaght Shamrock Rovers are hoping that South Dublin County Council will allow them to erect approximately 3,000 temporary seats at the Tallaght Stadium for their Europa League games against English club Tottenham, Rubin Kazan from Russia and Greek side PAOK.

Rovers resisted the temptation to move their Euro games to the Aviva Stadium where Spurs would obviously be an attraction, but they would probably be lots of empty spaces against the other two clubs. Rovers were the first Irish team to play in Europe when they met Manchester United in the European Cup in 1957 and, after their stunning defeat of Partizan Belgrade in Belgrade on Thursday night, it's fitting that the Hoops are now the first Irish club to qualify for the group stages of the Europa League. However, the fixtures have not fallen kindly for Rovers with Spurs not due in Tallaght until Dec.13. Rovers first game in the group stage will be at home to Rubin Kazan on Sept 15.

Junior side Sheriff YC were the giant-killers in the 4th round of the FAI Cup at the weekend, beating first division Shelbourne 3-2 at Tolka Park.