All in the Game: A tale of two Tolands as Cate looks North

Tyler’s sister avoids the Republic; Ireland’s penalty drought; Di Maria can’t let it go

Robbie Brady scores Ireland’s last penalty - against France in 2016. Photograph:  James Crombie/Inpho

Robbie Brady scores Ireland’s last penalty - against France in 2016. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

 

A tale of two Tolands

An Irish transfer that caught the eye during the week was that of Cate Toland, the teenage centre-back from St Johnston in Donegal who has signed for Glasgow Celtic’s under-19 set-up. That makes it two Tolands at the club following the arrival of Cate’s older sister Tyler in July, the 20-year-old joining from Manchester City after spending last season on loan at Celtic’s rivals Glasgow City.

Tyler, of course, became the Republic of Ireland’s youngest ever senior international back in 2017 when she made her debut against Northern Ireland just a month after her 16th birthday. In an unusual enough twist, though, Cate made her international debut back in March of this year - but for Northern Ireland.

It was a friendly for their under-19 team against Sion Swifts, the Tyrone club where both sisters played. Cate, so far at least, is choosing a different international route following the long-rumbling dispute between her sister and Republic of Ireland manager Vera Pauw who hasn’t included the midfielder in her squad since 2019.

Considering how Pauw and the FAI have handled the matter, you’d be guessing Tyler wished she’d declared for NI too.

Quote of the week

“I didn’t give a **** about the Manchester United number seven shirt - it was just a shirt! My problem at Manchester was the coach. Van Gaal was the worst of my career. I would score, assist, and the next day he would show me my misplaced passes. He didn’t like players being more than him.” - Angel Di Maria, still reflecting fondly, after all these years, on his time at United.

Number of the week

60 - That’s how many games it’s been since Ireland were last awarded a penalty, when Robbie Brady scored from the spot against France back in Euro 2016. Jeez, we could have done with one against Azerbaijan.

The Blues are going green

Ahead of five World Cup qualifying games before the end of the year, starting with a trip to Georgia on Friday week, Republic of Ireland manager Vera Pauw will be keeping a close eye on Birmingham City in the Super League after they brought to six the number of Irish players in their squad last week.

Eleanor Ryan-Doyle and Emily Whelan, who signed from Peamount and Shelbourne, respectively, added to the greening of a squad that already included Harriet Scott, with Louise Quinn, Jamie Finn and Marie Hourihan all arriving earlier in the summer. Quinn, Finn, Whelan and Ryan-Doyle all made their debuts in Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Spurs in their opening game of the season.

That brings to a healthy enough 10 the number of Irish players in the Super League this season, Katie McCabe (Arsenal), Megan Connolly (Brighton), Courtney Brosnan (Everton) and Ruesha Littlejohn (Aston Villa) the others. Irish eyes on Birmingham, though.

Lazio into the junk folder

If you really, really don’t want to sell a want-away player, what do you do? Simple - you give the club he wants to join the wrong email address so their bid never arrives.

That was the allegation in the highly wacky saga involving Serbian international Filip Kostic who wanted to move from Eintracht Frankfurt to Lazio. Lazio claimed that Frankfurt deliberately gave them an incorrect email address so their late bid of €10million disappeared into the ether. The German club, though, insist that the mistake was Lazio’s, they had left the ‘K’ out of Frankfurt in the address.

Whatever the truth, Kostic was so peeved about the affair, he went on strike for Frankfurt’s next Bundesliga game. There’s a lot to be said for fax machines.

Footballing royalty. . . and the Queen

The most disappointing fact-check of the week came from the Snopes people who looked in to the fabulous claim doing the rounds that the Queen had asked Cristiano Ronaldo for the first shirt he’ll wear on his Manchester United return, and to autograph it. She was also said to have placed an order for 80 Ronaldo shirts for her staff.

“This is not a genuine news story,” said the party poopers, “the Queen is not even a Manchester United fan. She is rumoured to be a West Ham fan… but it’s also thought she may have a soft spot for Arsenal.” As if she hadn’t enough troubles.

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