Snow caused a lot of matches to be postponed this weekend, but there were some Irish players who had the chance to impress for their clubs cross-channel despite the weather
By Ronan Murphy
Stephen Kelly made his Reading debut on Saturday afternoon, playing alongside Alex Pearce and Ian Harte in defence and helping the Royals to a 2-1 away victory over Newcastle United. The result sees Reading climb to eighteenth and increases the pressure on Magpies boss Alan Pardew.
Wigan Athletic were on the receiving end of a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Sunderland. Republic of Ireland midfielder James McCarthy unfortunately gave away a 17th minute penalty by handling in the box, while Sunderland winger James McClean had little more than a cameo appearance as the Black Cats held on to win.
For the second weekend in a row, Giovanni Trapattoni was watching Derby County. The Ireland boss had his eye on Rams trio Richard Keogh, Jeff Hendrick, and Conor Sammon as well as Nottingham Forest striker Simon Cox. The first real chance fell to Cox who saw his shot hit the bar, while Sammon showed cunning to steal the ball from Simon Gillett to set up Derby's equaliser in a 1-1 draw.
Sean O'Driscoll started his Bristol City managerial career with a disappointing 1-0 defeat against Leeds United. City remain rooted to the bottom of the Championship, with Paddy Kenny having an easy afternoon in the Leeds goal.
The harsh weather conditions led to the postponement of many lower league games. However, Coventry City's tie with Oldham Athletic went ahead, and saw Stephen Elliott open the scoring for the Sky Blues. The former Ireland international also had a claim for a goal late on, but the assistant referee decided that the ball had not crossed the line.
Notts County came back from a goal behind to draw 1-1 with Sheffield United as Alan Judge headed in an 80th minute equaliser to see the Magpies share the spoils.
Pat Fenlon's Hibernian were frustrated by bottom-placed Dundee in the SPL, drawing 1-1. Eoin Doyle spurned a number of chances for Hibs, while Tim Clancy also had a decent opportunity to give the hosts all three points.
Jonny Hayes looked sharp against former club Inverness Caledonian Thistle, but was on the wrong end of a 3-0 scoreline for Aberdeen. Aaron Doran and Richie Foran started for ICT, and both were in fine form, impressing when the hosts were on the attack.
PAOK slipped up once again in the Greek Super League, losing 1-0 to third place Asteras Tripolis, as Olympiakos moved 13 points clear at the top. Former Ireland international midfielder Liam Lawrence will be disappointed not to have put in a better shift, being hauled off at half-time with the visitors chasing the game.
|IRISH XI OF THE WEEKEND
Goalkeeper: Ian McLoughlin (Walsall)
Defenders: Joey O'Brien (West Ham), Alex Pearce (Reading), Paul McShane (Hull), Stephen Kelly (Reading)
Midfielders: Alan Judge (Notts County), Chris McCann(Burnley), Paul Keegan (Doncaster), Richie Foran (Inverness)
Forwards: Stephen Elliott (Coventry), Aaron Doran (Inverness)