All in the Game: Lily Agg’s mother the latest to fall foul of Dublin hotel prices

Irish goalscorer’s mother misses out on Tallaght celebration . . . Magpies jets fly home empty-handed . . . Word of Mouth

Nothing in the world could have put a dampener on Lily Agg’s night in Tallaght last Thursday after her winner against Finland sealed Ireland’s place in the World Cup qualifying playoffs.

What would have added to the occasion for the 28-year-old, though, was if her mother Ruth could have been there, but the eye-watering cost of hotel rooms in Dublin prevented her from making it over from England.

Disappointing, because Ruth played no small part in kick-starting Lily’s career, right from when she found her a club to play with in their native Eastbourne when she was just six, her daughter besotted with the game from when she could walk.

Ten years later, by which time Agg had captained the England under-15 side, Ruth appealed through the Eastbourne Herald for help in raising the £6,000 annual residential fee that was needed for her daughter to take up the offer of a place in Arsenal’s prestigious academy.


As a Macmillan nurse, working in cancer care, Ruth was told she would have to give up her job if Lily was to be eligible for funding, but as the mother of three other children that wasn’t an option. But she found a way, Lily went to Arsenal, her journey taking her to the London City Lionesses a decade later where she told her coach Lisa Fallon that her granny was from Cobh. The rest … you know yourself.

If this team makes it to the 2023 World Cup, someone needs to book Ruth hotel rooms in Australia/New Zealand.

The least used private jets on Transfer Deadline Day

We’ll go with the ones Leeds United stationed at airports in Nice and Eindhoven to whisk Marseille’s Bamba Dieng and PSV Eindhoven’s Cody Gakpo to Yorkshire, only for both men to decide not to board their respective flights, the planes returning home empty-handed.

Gakpo, by the sounds of it, never had a notion of joining Leeds, but Dieng had seemed all set to sign a four-year deal after Marseille accepted a €10 million offer. He was even waiting in the airport for his flight when Nice came in with a last-minute bid. Which the Senegalese international accepted, leaving the terminal to head for the club for a medical.

Leeds? Fuming. “We have been screwed,” said their majority owner Andrea Radrizzani. But, last laugh? Leeds. Dieng failed his medical at Nice, a knee problem showing up in the tests, so the Senegalese international is now back with Marseille where coach Igor Tudor doesn’t want him.

However, bad your week might have been, its awfulness paled next to the one poor Bamba Dieng experienced.

Number: 2.25

That’s how many billion euros Premier League clubs spent in the summer transfer window, more than La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1 clubs combined.

Word of Mouth

“It’s like going in to a shop and walking around without any money. You can’t buy anything.”

Brendan Rodgers reflecting, a touch dolefully, on Leicester City’s experience in the summer transfer window.

“Is there a reason Liverpool and Klopp want Arthur and get him? What does that imply? That in this nation of incapable and mediocre folks, you have to start looking in the mirror and spit in your eye.”

Let’s just say, Italy old-boy Antonio Cassano isn’t best pleased about Juventus letting Arthur Melo leave for Liverpool.

“Sonny is really sensible and a top man, a really good guy. If I have to find a husband for my daughter, I’d like him to be a person like him.”

Antonio Conte hell-bent on becoming Heung-min Son’s father-in-law.

“Jamie Vardy, your wife is a grass … Rooooooooney, Rooooooooney.”

Manchester United supporters last Thursday night when their lads played Leicester. It’s going to be a long season for poor Jamie.

“He needs to do better at being involved in the game – when to come, when to drop, when to go to the space. It’s normal, we have just been together for one month.”

Manchester City’s Rodri suggesting that Erling Haaland has room to improve, even after scoring 10 goals in six Premier League games. Be afraid.

“I’m not one of these fellas who says, ‘my record is there to be broken’ – b*****ks. I didn’t want it to be. I’m proud of those records.”

Mickey Quinn spittin’ about Erling Haaland scoring his ninth goal in his first five Premier League games, breaking Quinn’s 30-year-old record (eight in Coventry’s first five games in 1992).

“The Lakers doctor supervised all the tests, he looked at everything. They examined my ankle, even parts of my body that I can’t talk about, to see how I had come back from injury. It lasted more than 10 hours.”

Wesley Fofana on his medical in New York ahead of joining Chelsea from Leicester. The season will be a cinch after that ordeal.

“I called Frank and said, ‘take the chance on Dele Alli. He’s got fantastic ability and you can get him going’. He was a disaster.”

‘Arry Redknapp on the likelihood that his nephew Frankie Lampard will never take his purchasing advice again.

Mary Hannigan

Mary Hannigan

Mary Hannigan is a sports writer with The Irish Times