Wednesday, August 20th, 2008 is a date that will be etched in the memories of all Waterford football lovers for ever more. The Republic of Ireland drew 1-1 with Norway in a friendly game as Giovanni Trapattoni continued his build up to the opening World Cup game against Georgia, and for the first time ever three Waterford players played on the Republic of Ireland team at the same time.
The venue was the Ulievaal Stadium, the famous place where Norway defeated England 2-1 in the World Cup qualifying game in 1981 (remember the Maggie Thatcher eat your heart out comment by a zany TV commentator?). John O’Shea started the game in Norway and then in the second half Daryl Murphy replaced Kevin Doyle after 64 minutes before Stephen Hunt came on for Aidan McGeady on 68 minutes.
Thankfully O’Shea remained on and thus history was made. On a number of occasions two played or one was taken off for another, but on Wednesday last all rowed in together for the first time.
Present to watch this great Waterford sporting moment was the secretary of the Waterford Schoolboy League, Pat Kelly. He has just completed his three-year stint as Chairman of the SFAI and last week he was in Oslo in his role as an FAI Council member, along with John Delaney.
The rain lashed down all through the game so the lads must have thought they were playing back in their native county. That fact was underlined by Stephen Hunt after the game. “My God it was wet out there and it was almost impossible to get the ball to move at times. Nevertheless it was another positive display and we remain unbeaten with the new manager. We are looking forward to the World Cup game now, where ever it is played,” said a soaked Stephen.
Needless to say Pat Kelly was thrilled to be there on a famous night. “I was proud to watch three players who have played in the Waterford Schoolboy League line out for the full International team. I will always remember the night and hopefully more Waterford players will feature in the future.”
Hunts’ crazy day
Saturday last proved to be an extraordinary day for the Reading pair of Stephen and Noel Hunt. They travelled to The Valley to play Charlton Athletic but they ended up on the losing side as the home side won 4-2 but that is only half the story.
Stephen took a penalty after Kevin Doyle had earlier missed one during the course of the second half. He had his kick saved by the home goalkeeper but it had to retaken. He made no mistake with his second attempt. Brave stuff indeed by the Irish international player who was still drying out from his wet night in Oslo.
Noel came on as a substitute and the first thing he did was smack the ball off the upright. A few minutes later he ended up in the referee’s book for a harsh tackle. The Hunt brothers will remember their London visit for some time to come.
London to Daryl’s liking
Sunderland won their first game since 1969 at White Hart Lane on Saturday last and Daryl Murphy played a big part in the famous victory. He was deeply involved in the winning goal which was scored by the debut boy, Djibrl Cisse. With David Healy also joining the club from Leeds United the competition is fierce under the guidance of Roy Keane but Daryl is flourishing right now, something that will please the Corkman no end.