Ireland is on the march again following qualification for next summer’s European Football final’s in Poland and Ukraine.
And once again Donegal has played its part in the qualification campaign and will hopefully play a leading role in the championship next summer in Poland and Ukraine. In 1988, on the one and only other occasion when Ireland qualified for the European finals, the Rosses’ most famous son Packie Bonner was the goal-keeper.
This time around once again a Donegal man is manning the nets with Lifford’s Shay Given between the posts. And just as Ray Houghton - also a member of Jack Charlton’s army in ‘88 had strong Donegal blood lines, so too on this occasion, left sided midfielder Aidan McGeady. McGeady’s grandparents are from Gweedore.
And of course there is also Seamie Coleman from Killybegs, who is a member of the squad and has already been mentioned by experts such as Eamonn Dunphy and Johnny Giles as a player that could break into the squad for the championship whch are being held in Poland and Ukraine in June and July of next year.
Given, has had an outstanding qualification campaign conceding only two goals in the last eleven games and was rated among Ireland’s best performers in the qualifiers after almost single-handedly keeping the Russians at bay in Moscow.
“It was a brilliant night and great to qualify regardless of the style of football we have played. The most important thing is that we qualified, It is great for the game and will give the country a lift and I’m really looking forward to it,” Packie Bonner told the Democrat on Wednesday night.
“It is great for Shay and Aidan McGeady and hopefully now Seamus Coleman can break into the squad for the championship. Shay had a brilliant campaign and I thought himself and Richard Dunne were our two best performers over the whole campaign. It really is something to look forward to and will be a whole new experience for a whole new generation.”=
“It was a boring home draw. But it was enjoyable evening and everybody was in high spirits and I would say 90% of the crowd were not even watching the game, they were soaking up the atmosphere,” Seamus Given, the Ireland netminder’s father, said on the Shaun Doherty Show on Highland Radio Wednesday morning.