Liam Mackey - Columnist - IRISH EXAMINER

LIAM MACKEY: As Dundalk pay the penalty, it's time to give refs a second look

There were no, what you might call, GLT-edged chances at the Aviva Stadium AKA the Dublin Arena AKA Lansdowne Road on Wednesday night.

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LIAM MACKEY: Bullish John Hartson reiterates belief in Welsh superiority

Almost exactly a year ago to the day, John Hartson was in Dublin and gleefully blaring Welsh supremacy over the Irish.

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LIAM MACKEY: Dundalk are a side fit for European purpose

THE quote of the week had to be Stephen Kenny describing the luminous moment in Tallaght Stadium on Tuesday night when Robbie Benson’s clinical finish found the back of the net, sealing Dundalk’s stunning 3-0 victory over BATE Borisov and taking the club to the giddy heights of a play-off for a place in the group stages of the Champions League.

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LIAM MACKEY: Ireland beware as Welsh Dragons breathe fire after Euros

Wales’ march to the semi-finals was the continuation of the momentum which had been generated through an impressive qualifying campaign, writes Liam Mackey.

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LIAM MACKEY: An alternative history of Ireland at the Euros

Mark Twain once beautifully defined an expert as “some guy from outta town”. That being so, the guys and gals whose heads are entirely off the planet must be the greatest experts of them all.

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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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