St Patrick’s Day: Greatest Irish Premier League XI
To get involved with the St Patrick’s Day celebrations, Coral writers have come up with an all-Irish international starting line-up, featuring past and present Premier League footballing stars to have represented the boys in green!
Do you agree with our selections?
Goalkeeper: Shay Given
An easy choice between the sticks and definitely the best Irish goalkeeper to have graced the Premier League.
Given is now among the Aston Villa ranks, having previously featured in the top-flight for Newcastle United and Manchester City, and recently came out of international retirement for Martin O’Neill’s current Republic of Ireland set-up.
Ireland are 11/8 with Coral to qualify for Euro 2016, after climbing to fourth spot in their qualifying Group D.
Watch Given make a heroic save for his country to deny Zinedine Zidane in 2006
Right back: Seamus Coleman
Currently terrorising the wings for Everton, Coleman has been sensational on the blue half of Merseyside, and is linked with a move to one of the big top-flight teams such as Manchester United.
Centre back: John O’Shea
One of the most versatile players ever in the top-flight, making close to 400 appearances for the Red Devils in a variety of different positions, including between the Old Trafford sticks!
O’Shea secured four Premier League medals in his United career, with a definite highlight being a last-gasp winner against Liverpool at Anfield in 2010.
Centre back: Richard Dunne
The former Aston Villa and Man City centre back was popular among fans for his last-ditch defending and aggressive nature.
In 2010 he was voted as part of the PFA team of the year, and won Club Player of the Year award twice during his City career.
Left back: Dennis Irwin
Irwin was comfortable at either full back position, but really nailed down a left back spot under Sir Alex Ferguson at United.
The Cork-born defender was also a dead-ball specialist, only ever missing one penalty in his career, but scoring from the rebound.
Right midfield: Kevin Kilbane
Kilbane was a talented left-footed utility player, who was primarily deployed on the wing, and featured for four top-flight sides including Wigan Athletic and Hull City.
Centre midfield: Roy Keane
Despite his infamous bust-up with former Ireland boss Mick McCarthy, Keane is still regarded as one of the country’s best ever players.
The midfielder from Cork helped United to seven league titles during his Old Trafford career and is now part of the coaching staff with the Ireland first-team.
Centre midfield: Jason McAteer
The former Liverpool midfielder made over 50 appearances for Ireland, and impressively played in two World Cups, including the 1994 competition under Jack Charlton.
Left midfield: Damien Duff
The wonderful wideman was a revelation at Blackburn Rovers in his early days, and sealed a big-money move to Stamford Bridge in 2003, after a brilliant World Cup showing the previous year.
Duff became a hit with Chelsea under Jose Mourinho, sparking a sublime wing partnership with Dutchman Arjen Robben, before eventually appearing for both Newcastle and Fulham.
The Dublin-born attacker made over 100 appearances for his country, and was voted the team’s player of the tournament at the 2002 World Cup, after playing in every game and netting against Saudi Arabia.
Watch Duff strike Ireland’s opener against Saudi Arabia in the 2002 World Cup
Striker: Niall Quinn
This towering targetman was his country’s all-time topscorer until a certain Robbie Keane came along. Quinn’s best years in front of goal were during his Sunderland career, striking up a prolific partnership with Kevin Philips and earning the nickname “Quinninho” from the Irish faithful.
Striker: Robbie Keane
Ireland’s record all-time scorer is now continuing to incredibly find the net every week as an LA Galaxy striker in the MLS, having famously featured for Tottenham during two spells, which included over 200 appearances.
The former Leeds United, Liverpool and Aston Villa poacher, who is a second cousin of former Smiths frontman Morrissey, has become a sensation in the MLS, winning over the American fans with his charming performances. What a difference he makes to his club and country!
Ireland will hope Keane can continue his prolific form as they aim to qualify for Euro 2016, and they are 16/1 to win Group D ahead of Germany, Poland and Scotland.
Watch Keane fire in a famous last-gasp winner against Oliver Kahn at the 2002 World Cup