Ireland Team vs England In 1995 – Where Are They Now?
In advance of Wednesday’s massive game against England at Wembley, which is being shown live on Setanta Ireland, we are starting the build up, bringing you back to that infamous night and plotting the key storylines that makes May 29th, one of the biggest nights of the sporting calendar.
The last game between Ireland and England is widely documented for non-footballing reasons that are well-known to all. While the papers were filled the next day with questions over England’s hosting of Euro ’96, the Garda handling of the crowd violence and the scourge of hooliganism in football, the story of the actual match was largely forgotten. Ahead of Ireland’s clash with England at Wembley, it is worth taking a look back over the starting line-up from that night and seeing where they are now, eighteen years on. Ireland’s squad was somewhat experimental with seven first teamers in Roy Keane, John Aldridge, Ray Houghton, Tommy Coyne, Phil Babb, Jason McAteer and Gary Kelly missing and just three of the starters – Steve Staunton, Niall Quinn and Denis Irwin – actually being born in Ireland.
GK Alan Kelly (Sheffield United)
After Packie Bonner’s shaky performance in USA ’94, Alan Kelly had established himself firmly as Ireland’s No.1 for the Euro ’96 qualifying campaign in which Bonner only played one game – a home win over Liechtenstein – before retiring in 1996. That was also to be the year Shay Given was to make his debut though and Kelly’s hold on the jersey was short-lived, going on to warm the bench in South Korea and Japan as he had done in the USA. He retired with one trophy, the 2002 League Cup which he won as backup keeper for Blackburn. He currently works as a goalkeeping coach for the Ireland team and Preston North End’s academy.
RB Denis Irwin (Manchester United)
Irwin would finish his career as the most decorated of any of the players who lined out that night and was an ever present in both Ireland and Manchester United sides in the 1990s.After winding up his international career in 1999 when Ireland failed to qualify for Euro 2000, he played on for four more seasons with United and Wolves, retiring in 2004. Since then he has worked in the media for RTÉ, MUTV and The Sunday World. He is now a key member of RTÉ’s B panel, forming a formidable partnership with former international colleague Kenny Cunningham.
CB Alan Kernaghan (Manchester City)
Born in Yorkshire, Kernaghan was one of the many English-born Ireland internationals in the 1990s, acquiring 22 caps and 11 clubs in a long career in England and Scotland. He was an unused squad member in USA ’94 and appeared for Ireland for the last time in 1996. He retired in 2006 and went on to have brief spells as manager of Clyde and Dundee. He then went on to be the only Ireland international to hold a coaching position at Rangers, but now is assistant manager to Uwe Rösler at Brentford.
CB Paul McGrath (Aston Villa)
A year on from his career defining performance in New Jersey, McGrath was helping Aston Villa avoid relegation in 1995 and he would retire from international duty two years later. McGrath’s struggle with alcoholism in his playing career and retirement are well documented, but he has also taken on a singing career, a media role and written an autobiography since he hung up his boots in 1998. He currently lives in Wexford.
RB Terry Phelan (Manchester City)
What more can be said about a man who has an entire Hall Of Fame named after him? Phelan would go on to win 42 Ireland caps and play for 11 clubs, including the fantastically named Charleston Battery in South Carolina. He retired from football in 2009 when he had been playing for New Zealand’s Otago United. He currently works as a Football Development Manager for the SESA Football Academy in India. Any excuse to play this.
LM Eddie McGoldrick (Arsenal)
McGoldrick had been in the Ireland set up since 1992 and had been in the squad for the 1994 World Cup, but he only made 15 appearances for Ireland in three years and this was to be his last. He retired from football a few years later and entered management, with brief spells at Corby Town and Bashley F.C. He is currently working as the manager of Northampton Town’s youth team.
CM Andy Townsend (Aston Villa)
Townsend captained Ireland on the night against the country of his birth and was one of the more experienced players in what was an experimental side. He had played all five games in Italia ’90 and had been captain during USA ’94. He last played for Ireland in 1997 picking up 70 caps and 7 goals and no hint of an accent whatsoever. He can currently be seen on ITV referring to the England team as ‘we’, forging one of the more succesful media careers of the players on the field that night.
CM John Sheridan (Sheffield Wednesday)
Born in Stretford, Sheridan came up through the Irish youth ranks playing for the U-19, U-21 and U-23 sides. In the 1995 season he was helping Sheffield Wednesday secure a safe mid-table position. He scored the winning goal in the 1991 League Cup final for Wednesday, the last time a lower league side has won a major trophy in England. He was in the Euro ’88, Italia ’90 and USA ’94 squads playing all four games in the latter. He retired from Ireland duty at the end of the EURO ’96 qualifying campaign and from football in 2004. Since then, he has managed Oldham and Chesterfield and is currently the recently appointed manager of Plymouth Argyle.
RM Steve Staunton (Aston Villa)
The only man on the field that night who would go on to manage a national side, a fresh faced Steve Staunton was in the midst of his first spell of Aston Villa at the time. He was a firmly established international even then and was working his way towards his eventual haul of 102 caps. He famously became Ireland manager after retiring, forming part of a ‘world class’ management team that oversaw a number of heroic victories over Scandinavian sides in friendlies and not much else. His next job in management was with Darlington, where he won 4 out of 23 games as his side was relegated from the football league. He now works in media.
ST Niall Quinn (Manchester City)
At the time, the young Quinn was battling his international teammates at Aston Villa to avoid relegation. He had missed out on the World Cup in 1994 because of a cruciate ligament injury and was working his way back into the squad at the time as Ireland’s first choice striker. He retired as Ireland’s record goalscorer with 92 caps after the 2002 World Cup. After he retired as a player at Sunderland, he continued to be heavily involved as manager and chairman. He left the club in 2012 and can be currently found either flogging broadband on tv or providing fair and balanced coverage of Sunderland games for Sky.
ST David Kelly (Wolves)
The goalscorer on the night, and one of the eight England born players in the starting line-up, David Kelly was statistically one of Ireland’s most prolific strikers, with a nearly one in three games to goals ratio and a debut hat trick against Israel. Kelly was a journeyman striker who played for eleven clubs in his career. In the 1995 season, he helped Wolves reach the playoffs but failed to win promotion. While at Motherwell he formed a close relationship with Billy Davies and has followed him as an assistant manager to Derby and Nottingham Forest, where he still works today.
Picture Credits: David Maher,Brendan Moran, Roy McManus, Damien Eagers /SPORTSFILE