Irish Review: 26th-29th December
Stephen Ward – Wolves
What a night for Ward. Generally deployed as a left back, Ward showed great composure in front of goal to poke home the ball inside the post. Excellent in the air throughout the night and was a great foil for Ebanks-Blake. Take note Mr Trapattoni. Great captains performance also from Kevin Foley while Stephen Hunts performance will be giving Liverpool’s Glen Johnson a few nightmares over the coming nights. A great night for Wolves and Mick McCarthy.
Seamus Coleman – Everton
Arguably the only Irish player to take the Premier League by storm this season, Coleman again showed his qualities with a neatly taken goal against West Ham. Deployed on the right wing yet again, Coleman caused Ilunga, and later Jonathon Spector serious problems. Did well to make space in the box for his goal and kept his composure when he needed to. Showed good trickery on the ball for the full game, and rarely wastes possession.
Stephen Carr – Birmingham City
Playing some of the best football of his career at the moment, Carrs decision to retire 2 seasons ago is looking more laughable by the week. Did an excellent job marshalling Rooney to such an extent that the frustration was evident on Rooneys face. Certainly one of Birmingham Cities best players this season.
Darron Gibson – Manchester United
Given a rare opportunity, and did decent. Better in the second half when he was allowed to attack a little more. Good work in the lead up to Berbatov’s goal and can be happy with his assist. Still struggles to impose himself on the game, but there are certainly lots of positives there.
Wes Hoolahan & Andy Reid – Norwich and Sheff Utd
Despite only being introduced as a half-time substitute, Norwich midfielder Wes Hoolahan scored the first hat-trick of his career against Sheffield United in a tense match.
Fellow Irish midfielder Andy Reid, on loan with United had opened the scoring with his second goal of the season through a lovely free kick.With Norwich losing 2-1 at half-time, Canaries manager Paul Lambert chose to send on Hoolahan to try to shake things up in midfield. That’s exactly what he did, scoring the equaliser from the penalty spot, before winning and scoring a second spot kick.
Stephen Quinn crossed paths with Hoolahan late in the game, and picked up a straight red for a bad challenge.In the seventh minute of stoppage time, Hoolahan struck again, this time from open play, to score his eight goal of the season, helping Norwich to their fourth win in five games.
Keiren Westwood & Paddy Kenny – Coventry and QPR
Tuesday saw another battle of Irish keepers as five-time international Keiren Westwood faced seven-cap Paddy Kenny.Once again, Kenny emerged victorious, as he kept his 12th clean sheet of the season. It was a day to forget for Westwood as he conceded twice, including a disappointing deflection which led to the Manchester-born keeper being credited with an own goal.
Kenny made a total of eight saves, including a wonderful stop to keep out Clive Platt.
Andrew O’Brien – Leeds
With half an hour left at Elland Road against Portsmouth, Leeds United looked very comfortable at 3-1, and were set to regain second place in the table.
However, two own goals from on-loan Irish defender Andy O’Brien meant the match ended 3-3. Firstly, a Richard Hughes shot deflected off the veteran defender, and then in stoppage time, O’Brien diverted Nadir Ciftci’s cross beyond Kasper Schmeichel to compound a disappointing afternoon for the former Ireland international.