Matthew Fitzpatrick, seen here in possession for Antrim against Kildare at Corrigan Park in 2019, has signed to play for Linfield, following a 19-goal soccer season with Glenavon. [Inpho/Declan Roughan]

Kenny readies for qualifiers

Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny has named a 25-man squad for this month’s Euro 2024 qualifiers away to Greece and at home to Gibraltar. Peterborough’s Jack Taylor, who is being rewarded for his late-season form, is the only uncapped player. Chiedoze Ogbene misses out through injury. He has been nursing a hamstring problem since the start of May, when he was forced off during Rotherham's win at Middlesbrough. Alan Browne and Jeff Hendrick are both included after missing the recent training camp in Bristol due to injury. Liam Scales and Darragh Lenihan have been recalled, as the manager tries to cope without defenders Seamus Coleman and Andrew Omobamidele. 

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Taylor impressed Kenny during the recent training camp in Bristol, reporting for duty in the wake of Peterborough’s League One semi-final collapse against Sheffield Wednesday. He was man-of-the-match in the first leg, which the Posh won 4-0. However, they lost the return game 5-1 at Hillsborough and then lost on penalties. Matt Doherty has seen just 16 minutes of club action since his January move from Spurs to Atletico Madrid, but Kenny is happy that the player is training with the Spanish club, while Callum Robinson also misses out through injury. 

Kenny reckons that goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher will leave Liverpool, saying: ‘‘It looks like he will be on the move this summer, and it can only benefit him because he needs to play games. Caoimhin has not started games this year and it’s been a problem for him. He is very talented, but at Liverpool he is behind probably one of the best goalkeepers in the world in Alisson and it’s not going to get any easier. I know it’s hard to leave Liverpool — it’s such an iconic club, but he is not so young now. We have spoken regularly in the last year and he knows that himself. I think he is ready to go and play regularly because he needs to move. The previous season Liverpool had been successful, winning the League Cup where Caoimhim played in all the games and scored in the penalty shoot-out win over Chelsea, but he has made only five League appearances for the club.’’ 

Gavin Bazunu is Ireland’s first choice keeper and Kenny was happy that Matt Travers was recalled to the Bournemouth team for the last game of the season against Everton where he impressed. The squad flew to Antalya in Turkey on Monday for a nine-day warm-weather training camp as Kenny looks to fine tune preparations for that game against Greece which is likely to played in temperatures reaching 30 degrees Celsius.


Manchester City remain on course for the treble after Ilkay Gundogan scored twice to give them victory over Manchester United in Saturday’s FA Cup final at Wembley. Having already won the Premier League title, City now go into next Saturday’s Champions League final against Inter Milan in Istanbul with the opportunity to emulate United’s feat of 1999. City captain Gundogan got the match-winner in the second half, but not before assuring his place in history with the quickest goal ever in an FA Cup final. The stunning volley after only 12 seconds eclipsed Louis Saha’s strike for Everton after 25 seconds against Chelsea in 2009. 

United equalized in the 34th minute after VAR ruled that Jack Grealish had handled; Bruno Fernandes coolly sent Stefan Ortega the wrong way from the spot. It was Gundogan, as he does so often, who made the decisive contribution when he volleyed Kevin de Bruyne’s free-kick past United keeper David de Gea six minutes after the break to give City the FA Cup for the seventh time.

Also UEFA has confirmed that Polish referee Szymon Marciniak will remain in charge of next Saturday Champions League final between Manchester City and Inter Milan in Istanbul after investigating his alleged links with a far-right movement. The 42-year-old Marciniak was under review after speaking at a recent event organized by Polish far-right leader Slawomir Mentzen and his role as match official was in doubt. But UEFA say they are satisfied that Marciniak had been “gravely misled and completely unaware of the true nature and affiliations of the event in question.”


West Ham United's Jarrod Bowen scored a last-minute goal to beat Fiorentina and win the Europa Conference League last evening in Prague. It was the East London's first major trophy since winning the FA Cup in 1980 and first continental title since winning the old European Cup Winners Cup in 1965, with future World Cup winners Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters in the side.

Said Benrahma's 62nd penalty put the Hammers in front, but it was followed by an equalizer in the 67th minute from from Giacomo Bonaventura.

The BBC described the Prague final as a "testy and sometimes bad tempered game - and at one point it got downright ugly as Fiorentina captain Cristiano Biraghi was struck by a plastic bottle thrown from the West Ham section."

West Ham captain Declan Rice -- who began his senior international career with the Republic of Ireland before opting for England -- is expected to move on from the club before the start of the new Premier League season.

Shelbourne Assistant Coach Joey O'Brien pictured, left, with Head Coach Damien Duff ahead of Monday night’s 3-2 win over Drogheda United at Tolka Park. [Inpho/Ben Brady]



It was a historic day at Hampden Park on Saturday as Celtic secured a world record 8th treble with a 3-1 victory over Inverness Caledonian Thistle in the Scottish Cup final. The latest treble success sees Ange Postecoglou’s team replicate the previous achievements of Jock Stein, Martin O’Neill, Brendan Rodgers and Neil Lennon. Now the Greek-born, Australian-raised Postecoglou has been appointed Tottenham manager.



Roma manager Jose Mourinho has been charged by UEFA for using insulting or abusive language against an official after last week’s Europa League final. Mourinho was booked by English referee Anthony Taylor in Budapest, where Sevilla beat his Roma side on penalties after a 1-1 draw. The charge relates to an incident in a car park after the game, when Mourinho directed a foul-mouthed rant at Taylor. Both clubs also face several charges over their fans’ and players’ conduct. 

Meantime, some Irish fans will no doubt be hoping to see Liverpool or West Ham or Brighton (with hometown hero Evan Ferguson in the lineup) feature in next year’s final, as it will be played at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.



Manager Sam Allardyce has left Leeds United after his four-game tenure ended in relegation from the EPL. The 68-year-old lost three and drew one of his four games in charge, having succeeded Javi Gracia on May 3. Sam said: ‘‘It has been an honor to manage Leeds United, a great club with an incredible fan base, who deserve to be in the EPL. At this stage in my career I am not sure taking on this challenge, which is potentially a long-term project, is something I could commit to, but I wish the club every success for the future and hope the club returns to the EPL where they belong.’’ 

Leeds CEO Angus Kinnear said: ‘‘We thank Sam for being brave enough to step in and do all he could to save us. Sadly, it was not to be, but Sam and his assistants Karl Robinson and Robbie Keane did everything they could to lift the mood at our training centre at Thorp Arch and Elland Road and for that we are all extremely grateful.’’


Aiden McGeady has been released by Scottish club Hibernian at the end of an injury-disrupted season. The 37-year-old former Republic of Ireland international joined Hibs on a one-year contract last summer, but two long lay-offs restricted him to just 14 appearances, the majority of which came between December and February. He said: ‘‘I have enjoyed my time at Hibs and wish the lads, supporters and staff all the best for next season.’’



Antrim footballer Matthew Fitzpatrick has signed for Irish League club Linfield. Fitzpatrick, who hasn’t featured for the Saffrons since 2019, is swapping the blue of his GAA club St John’s for the blue of the Windsor Park club. He has agreed a two-year deal after scoring 19 goals for Glenavon last season. Linfield manager David Healy said: “I’m delighted to welcome Matthew Fitzpatrick to the club on a two-year contract. His signing will be registered on the opening of the transfer next month and I am delighted that we have reached agreement with Glenavon to secure the transfer of a quality player who I have admired for some time.’’



Phil Neville has been fired as manager of MLS club Inter Miami. The 46-year-old former Manchester United and England defender has paid the price for a poor run of form, with the 1-0 defeat to New York Red Bulls proving the final straw. Neville, who was appointed in January 2021 after his resignation as
England Women’s manager, leaves the club bottom of the Eastern Conference following four successive defeats. Co-owner David Beckham, who is Neville's ex-Manchester United and England team-mate and friend, said it was the right time to make the change. Beckham said: ‘‘When we appointed Phil we knew he would give Inter Miami his all and I have watched him work incredibly hard and with real commitment towards the ambitions we set out for the club.’’ Neville attracted attention recently after he swore at a reporter during a press conference, having been interrupted during an answer.


Shamrock Rovers are back on top of the League of Ireland premier division; the Hoops beat Dundalk 2-0 in Tallaght on Friday night to replace Derry City at the summit, after the Candystripes could only draw 0-0 at home to Shelbourne. And on Monday night, Rovers beat Sligo Rovers, and Derry went down to St. Pat’s. 

LOI results, Friday: Bohemians 2, Sligo Rovers 0; Derry City 0, Shelbourne 0; Drogheda Utd 0, Cork City 1; Shamrock Rovers 2, Dundalk 0; UCD 1, St Patrick’s Athletic 3.

LOI results, Monday: Cork City 2 Bohemians 1; Dundalk 4, UCD 1Sligo Rovers 0, Shamrock Rovers 3; St Patrick's Athletic 4, Derry City 1; Shelbourne 3, Drogheda United 2.