Friday, 17 March 2017

Randolph Takes His Place in St Patrick's Hammers XI

Happy St Paddy's Day all you Hammers folk! On the day we get to drink green Guinness and celebrate all things Irish let's consider how a the greatest Irish Hammers XI might look.



Goalkeeper: One of the big stories of this season has been the meteoric rise of Darren Randolph as the Hammers first choice keeper ahead of the also impressive Adrian! He has been excellent all season and as a result  'Randy' has fully usurped the likes of Gerry Peyton, Roy Carroll, Stephen Henderson and, dare I mention him....... Allen McNightmare!

On the defensive front the situation is less impressive, even worrying! Unbalanced and not endowed with aerial presence. There would undoubtedly be much sweating at set pieces.

As full backs Joey 'the Lips' O'Brien and Georgie 'Linda' McCartney are solid if a little uninspiring in attack, but Centre back is a real patch up and forced us to bring Georgie more centrally alongside Gary Breen, with Noel Cantwell taking the left back spot.

Just to remind you that Stuttgart wasn't the first!

Midfield is by far our strongest zone. Steve Lomas as enforcer and water carrier and a nice partner for Chippy Brady. Although Brady is primarily a Gooner, we got two very decent seasons out of him that included some cracking moments, and a delightful strike against the Gooners!.

Wee Michael Hughes was a great seizure from Wimbledon - gamey, if lacking in physicality, and with a useful habit of scoring at key moments. Both Frank O’Farrell and Tommy Moroney were key contributors in the early fifties but Tommy Moroney gets the final nod, mostly based upon his presence on the glorious Ireland team that was the first foreign team to beat the old enemy on their own turf at Goodison Park in 1949.

The rise and rise of Josh Cullen gives cause for hope that the 2018 March 17th update will see him seize a midfield spot but with Noble, Kouyate, Lanzini, Obiang, Fernandes et al on the books first team opportunities are rare for the talented youngster.

Up front, David Kelly underachieved – too light for top-level English football. David Connolly was too, well, David Connolly (i.e. perfectly average). Jimmy Quinn was a decent contributor in the late 80s while Robbie Keane came and went in the blink of an eye, with most of that time spent on the injury room table, but on the basis of what might have been he gets the nod, just!

And finally, Iain Dowie – a true Hammer who was not prolific by any means but always gave 100% and created opportunity for those around him. A real servant who had two determined spells at the club and is one of the more refreshing TV pundits about. Loyalty – a rare thing amongst our footballing folk these times.

So, a team that would by no means be worldbeaters, but we might expect plenty of effort and any team with Liam Brady could always find a moment of magic, while Michael Hughes would be sure to spoil a few Man United celebrations and Robbie could always find cause for a party!

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