Thursday 17 March 2022

Starting XI for St Patrick's Day Clash Revealed

Happy St Paddy's Day all you Happy Hammers folk! 

On the day we get to drink green Guinness and celebrate all things Irish let's consider how the greatest Irish Hammers XI might look.

Goalkeeper: Darren Randolph gets the call and although he has fallen down the ranks of late, he has been a great servant to the club during his two spells at West ham. He gets the nod ahead of the likes of Gerry Peyton, Roy Carroll, Stephen Henderson and, dare we mention ....... Allen McNightmare!

On the defensive front the situation is less impressive. Unbalanced and not endowed with aerial presence. There would undoubtedly be much sweating at set pieces. For some reason West ham does not attract decent Irish defenders!

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.

A little reminder that Ireland beating England goes way back! 

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.

We won't talk about Mr Rice as it'll only open still sore wound!

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.

Can Conor Coventry and/or Mipo Odubeko force their way into the reckoning? Let's hope so but it's a big jump from U23 status to a top six side. Fingers crossed. 

So, a team that would by no means be worldbeaters, but we might expect plenty of effort and any side with Liam Brady could always find a moment of magic.  

Enjoy your day and let's hope tonight brings double Paddys day and Europa League celebrations!

P.S. the club are doing a 20% off offer on Irish-Hammers merch until midnight.

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