We've reached the end of the road for 2020 and a 30 episode journey from the studio to the sitting room. Ireland chief scout Ruaidhri Higgins and good friend of the show Johnny Dunleavy join us to reflect on Dundalk's cup final joy, their Europa League ending and to ask if they can push Shamrock Rovers in 2021. Even Johnny Ward agrees that might be possible, although his Dundalk friends may not believe him. Paul Corry, Mark Rossiter, Conan Byrne and Shane Supple also send in their brief reflections on the year as we wonder aloud if 2021 will be any different--
We’re back after Dan went MIA to present our annual PFA Ireland awards special and we have Roberto Lopes, Danny Grant and Mark Doyle with us to discuss their nominations for the various awards. ‘Pico’ looks ahead to the cup final, and tells us some Zlatan and Cape Verde tales while Danny discusses his future career plans and Mark explains his late development. PFAI chief Stephen McGuinness also calls for clarity on the 2021 season and a say for players in what happens.
After a league season like no other, Finn Harps avoid the drop, Shelbourne face into an anxious playoff against Longford and Sligo somehow finish fourth, despite losing half of their games, and are very likely to be playing European football next season. Dan has the week off but sends in his appraisal of each of the Premier Division teams' campaign, with Pat Fenlon in the house to talk about what was a truly bonkers 2020 season. Pat is joined by Ollie Horgan to discuss perhaps Harps' greatest escape, Daire Doyle talks about Longford's chance of beating Shels and a somewhat tired and emotional Garry Buckley dials in from Sligo just before heading out for training.
Management is a big theme of this week's show. Drogheda manager Tim Clancy joins us after leading his side to promotion and explains the 24/7 commitment of dealing with the role and trying to fit real life around it. Alan Reynolds talks about his own transition and reflects on his dramatic year that started at Waterford, veered to Dundalk and has brought him to the Ireland U21 backroom team working with an exciting generation of players. We hear from John Caulfield after their massive win against Bray last weekend and look ahead to their Premier Division finale with Longford, while asking where all the goalscorers have gone.
Shamrock Rovers are champions and we are joined by their manager Stephen Bradley for a wide ranging chat about Rovers plans for the future, the lessons of the recent past, Jack Byrne, the overall direction of Irish football and much more. We also look ahead to Dundalk's big date with Arsenal with the help of Lilywhites midfielder Greg Sloggett and hear from the Drogheda camp after they prevailed in the dramatic First Division finale. The lads also discuss the Finn Harps revival, trusting Galwegians and the other burning issues of the week
We talk to Joe on this week's show, with Cork City legend and former assistant boss Joe Gamble following up on his request for a right to reply to last week's pod (35:00). He explains the struggles faced by himself and Neale Fenn, the budgetary complications, recruitment lessons and the logic behind Daire O'Connor's abrupt exit. Prior to that, we look ahead to Dundalk's big European date with Molde with the help of Norwegian football expert Ben Wells (10:48).
There's a Wicklow theme to this week's show with Arklow's Daire O'Connor giving us the lowdown on his abrupt exit from Cork City, his relationship with Neale Fenn and his plans for the future. We then hear from Bray Wanderers boss Gary Cronin on their promotion charge, his early season fears, and the process of rebuilding the club after a turbulent era. The lads also discuss Rovers' imminent title party, more batshit goings on at Dundalk and a look back to the summer of 1995
We're bringing people back together on this week's show as former team-mates Robbie Benson and Stephen Folan reflect on days gone by at Dundalk and their current missions with St Patrick's Athletic and Finn Harps respectively. Stephen travelled around the world in 2020 whereas Robbie was stuck at home during lockdown but they were both grateful for the return of the League of Ireland for their own reasons. There's also a bit of Stephen Kenny chat, Johnny and Dan's take on Filippo Giovagnoli's week, breaking news at Cork and Galway and a farewell to Kris Twardek
‘We didn’t start this year with plans of interviewing a Faroese football expert come September but this is 2020 and we look ahead to Dundalk’s big date with Ki Klaksvik with the help of Kasper Neesgaard who tells us what we can expect from the underdogs. Daniel Kelly gives us a flavour of the mood in the Dundalk camp. We then go back in time and also look to the future with the help of LOI legend Colin Hawkins who discusses assisting players with the next step in their career, the lessons from his experience and his hopes for Stephen Kenny and Irish football’s future.
It’s a Graham themed show this week with two for the price of one. Graham Gartland and Graham Cummins crossed paths in Scotland and they are reunited on the show to discuss their careers in football, European experiences, the Scottish culture, adjusting to becoming an older player and all of the challenges that come with it. We also discuss Cork’s struggles, Rovers ambitions, Dundalk’s European opportunity and there’s the mandatory Galway reborn interview with Shane Duggan.