With an FA Cup weekend upon us, a large number of Irishmen will be taking the stage of one of the worlds most charming competitions.
A number of youngsters at Premier league youngsters such as Connor Ronan, Joe Hodge, Connor Coventry and the Brighton duo Evan Ferguson and Andrew Moran will hope to feature while a number of familiar faces will be in action for their clubs as they hope to navigate past the famous third round which is always full of upsets. Irish caps Daryl Horgan (Stevenage) and Ronan Curtis (Portsmouth) will hope to pull off giant killing jobs against Aston Villa and Spurs respectively, whilst some other players will hope to catch the eye for some lower league sides.
With so many exciting current and future Irish internationals on show, we have complied a list of some of the more obscure names that may jog some fans memories in what in itself can be a weird and whacky competition!
Sean Scannell (Grimsby Town)
Sean Scannell, remember him? The dreadlocked teenager who featured in Giovanni Trappatoni’s first Ireland squad and was subsequently linked with Manchester United? Well he is still knocking about with League 2 side Grimsby and could feature against Burton Albion after a long injury lay-off. Scannell was held in high regard as a Crystal Palace youngster and was put in the same bracket as Wilfred Zaha and Nathanial Clyne in terms of potential. Just a couple of years ago, he was rumoured to have switched his international allegiances to Northern Ireland.
Sean Williams (Gillingham)
Malahide man Shaun Williams has forged out a fine career for himself in the English Football League Since departing Sporting Fingal in 2010. No 36, the midfielder who has the distinguished title as Ireland’s first Nations League goalscorer now find himself at Gillingham who take on Leicester. Williams is a veteran of the competition at this stage, reaching the semi-finals in 2012 with Millwall. Like Daryl Horgan and Ronan Curtis, Williams will hope to pull off a major upset against Brendan Rogers side in a game that will be televised on BBC.
Seamus Conneely (Accrington Stanley)
Former Galway United and Sligo Rovers man Seamus Conneely will captain Accrington Stanley against non-league Boreham Wood this weekend. The ex-Ireland international is a cult hero at the club that itself has a bit of cult status (Accrington Stanley? Who are they?….remember that one?). The midfielder is at the club since 2015 and will hope this favourable draw could set up a tie with one of the competitions big guns. Connelly’s teammate, 18 year old Leslie Adekoya could also feature with the Irish born considered one of the best products of Stanley’s youth academy in recent years.
Liam McAlinden (Wrexham)
Wrexham have become famous for reasons off the pitch in recent years and will be hoping to upset Coventry City this weekend. The Welsh side have a couple of Irishmen in their ranks including Thomas O’Connor and Anthony Forde but it is Liam McAlinden who many may remember as one of the many players to jump ship from Northern Ireland to the Republic. This tug of war started to get heated for the then promising Wolves youngster who has played for 11 clubs, all in the lower leagues without a senior international cap to show.
Paddy Madden (Stockport County)
Stockport County take on Wallsall on Sunday and will be captained by Dubliner Paddy Madden who won a solitary cap for Ireland against Wales back in 2013. Prolific in the lower leagues, the former Bohemians and Shelbourne player helped Stockport exit the National League wilderness last season after stints with Carlisle United, Yeovil Town, Scunthorpe United and Fleetwood Town. Fellow Irishmen, Blackburn loanee James Brown and new signing from Tranmere Rovers Neil Byrne will also feature for the Cheshire side.
Liam Kinsella (Wallsall)
Taking on the Stockport Irish trio will be Mark Kinsella’s young man Liam. The 26 year-old is a seasoned pro at this stage and won 6 Ireland under-21 caps during the 2017/18 season. A tenacious midfielder like his old man, Kinsella junior will have ex-Ireland underage internationals Conor Wilkinson and Oisin McEntee alongside him with young wonder kid and current under-19 international Ronan Maher, hoping to catch the eye.
Did we leave anyone out or is there simply an Irish player you are looking forward to seeing in FA Cup action this weekend? Be sure to comment down below!
Nick Menezes, The Green Machine Podcast