Liam Mackey - Columnist - IRISH EXAMINER

LIAM MACKEY: New self-belief means it's not just the Ireland fans drawing praise at Euro 2016

They invited the media along to the Stade Pierre Mauroy in Lille on Thursday to see the new pitch being laid. They should probably have invited Robbie Brady along and given him the old one to take away and hang on his wall.

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LIAM MACKEY: The dark cloud of violence and silver linings at Euro 2016

As Roy Keane pointed out the other day, the violence which has cast such a dark cloud over these European Championships is actually confined, as ever, to the proverbial tiny minority of the hundreds of thousands of fans who have come from all over the continent, and beyond, to enjoy the football, the fun, and all the good things that France has to offer.

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LIAM MACKEY: We’ve more than fighting spirit, says proud Martin O’Neill

Martin O’Neill was too deflated to use such a flippant phrase but the one all his thoughts seemed to be tending towards after last night’s 1-1 draw in the Stade de France was “nice performance, shame about the result”.

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LIAM MACKEY: Better to get the Euro 2016 snafu out of the way first

“Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.” That’s the pro’s motto.

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LIAM MACKEY: How an Albanian taxi driver evoked an age of innocence

In Uefa-speak, today is MD-1, that is to say, eve of match but also, in this case, eve of tournament.

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LIAM MACKEY: Journalists' Turner's Cross complaints all over nothing

Despite the fears of some journalists, the match went off with the minimum of problems with facilities, writes Liam Mackey.

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LIAM MACKEY: Robbie Keane: The hurler aiming to be on the pitch at Euros

From Daryl Murphy a while back, then more recently Robbie Keane and now Jon Walters, we seem to have devoted so much space to reporting on one specific part of the legs of Irish footballers bound for France that perhaps it’s time we began referring to them collectively as ‘a herd’ of calf injuries.

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LIAM MACKEY: It won’t be long now until the Euros kick-off...

For the newest generation of Irish football fans, Euro ‘88 belongs to the remote past. France 2016 will be their first time, and just maybe, let’s hope, the best of times too.

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LIAM MACKEY: Cork-born commercial director Ian Flanagan loving Leicester’s champagne season

Ian Flanagan, the Cork-born commercial director of Leicester City, allows himself a chuckle when I put him on the spot. 

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LIAM MACKEY: Martin O’Neill's contract should be bottom of Ireland's agenda

Whether Martin O’Neill is departing for Goodison or Roy for Parkhead should be the bottom of the agenda right now. Our focus should be on the Euros before us and not the World Cup ahead...

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LIAM MACKEY: Leicester Effect will outfox us all

With Claudio Ranieri’s brilliant band of merry men claiming the most unlikely of Premier League title wins, prepare to hear from all and sundry about the new cliche du jour, the Leicester Effect...

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LIAM MACKEY: Tony Cascarino: The Ice Cream Man cometh again

All set for the big one tomorrow? The Super Sunday to beat them all?

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LIAM MACKEY: Referees deserve the appliance of science - and so does football

“I got to the age of 29 and got sent off, because a player kicked me and I kicked him back. I tried to get the referee to rescind the decision. The referee stopped me before I could go any further and said ‘if you think you can do any better, have a go yourself’.”

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LIAM MACKEY: Ireland’s own maestro John Giles still getting right to the point

Things were hot and heavy in the Vincente Calderon on Wednesday night and, for a time, threatened to get even hotter and even heavier in the Montrose cauldron, as Eamon Dunphy and Liam Brady clashed on the merits, or otherwise, of Atletico Madrid’s 2-0 victory over Barcelona in the Champions League.

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LIAM MACKEY: It's squeaky bum time

photo in the papers on Thursday morning, from the previous night’s PSG-Man City game, pretty much sums up where we’re at as football negotiates the fabled run-in.

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LIAM MACKEY: Shane Duffy the good news story amid Ireland health warnings

Injury time – that’s where Irish football finds itself right now.

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