Liam Mackey - Columnist - IRISH EXAMINER

LIAM MACKEY: League of Ireland season dawn brings fear and fanfare

Liam Mackey looks ahead to a new season of domestic football in Ireland.

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LIAM MACKEY: Sadly, the time to abolish replays has arrived

I don’t recall, as an 11-year-old, being aware I was watching an exhibition of sport as a thinly disguised substitute for war, writes Liam Mackey.

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LIAM MACKEY: The rise and fall of Leicester City

Unless Arsenal can recover from the shock of losing at home to Watford and produce a surprise win at Stamford Bridge tomorrow, there’s every prospect of Chelsea’s pursuit of the title turning into a procession.

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LIAM MACKEY: It's win or bust for First Division clubs

Possibly nothing more cogently expresses the mixture of dismay and desperation felt across the League of Ireland First Division at the scrapping of the promotion-relegation play-offs than the proposal, aired at a meeting of club representatives in Wexford last week, that the top three teams in the second tier would take part in an internal play-off at the end of this season, with the front-runners facing the winners of second v third in a one-off game to decide promotion to the 10-team Premier Division in 2018.

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LIAM MACKEY: Plot thickens as Spurs visit Pep Guardiola’s La La Land

As my long-suffering comrades in the press box know only too well, your aging correspondent doesn’t need much encouragement to regale all and, yes, even sundry with what I like to imagine are fascinating stories from my life in — yikes! — going on 40 years in the inky trade.

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LIAM MACKEY: Mourinho rediscovers Midas touch as Klopp suffers a blip

The Marouane Fellaini header which gave Manchester United a 2-0 victory over Hull in the first leg of their League Cup semi-final on Tuesday is unlikely to feature in any end of season highlights reel, even if the looping effort was well executed and has helped his club move closer to a Wembley appearance and the prospect of Jose Mourinho bringing his first meaningful piece of silverware to Old Trafford.

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LIAM MACKEY: Three main talking points for Irish football in 2017

Ireland’s clashes with Wales, involving two evenly matched teams, will be decisive next year, writes Liam Mackey.

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LIAM MACKEY: 2016’s last question: Does Dylan trump two Robbies?

From terrorism to Trump, the year just ending gave us many reasons to be fearful.

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LIAM MACKEY: Leicester’s stunning title win is the 2016 football fairytale

Ding Dong Merrily On High?

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LIAM MACKEY: What will football's first video-replay penalty award mean for the game?

For referees, and for football as a whole, the world might not quite have tilted on its axis but the tectonic plates surely shifted a little as a result of the first penalty to be awarded on the basis of video replay technology.

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LIAM MACKEY: Jose Mourinho has never really known failure before, says Jamie Carragher

There’s been some fanciful talk that, with Manchester United’s 0-2 win away to Zorya — and its confirmation of Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s belated arrival as a significant influence — Jose Mourinho might well have negotiated one of those famous ‘turning points’ so beloved of teams in, to put it at its most charitable, transition.

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LIAM MACKEY: With Stephen Kenny on board, Dundalk can dream of glory again

One defeat doesn’t define Dundalk’s remarkable season even if, with so much at stake, last night’s 2-1 loss to Maccabi Tel Aviv is bound to leave Stephen Kenny and his players with an acute sense of deflation at the end of their European dream.

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LIAM MACKEY: English football managers' gate theatre

I have to say that, all those centuries past, it was very far-seeing and considerate of his ancestors to arrange for the new England manager to come among us in 2016 with a ‘gate’ already appended to his surname, thus sparing journalists the effort of having to add the same four letters if – when? - his reign goes, as it were, south.

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LIAM MACKEY: Stephen Kenny not remotely interested in settling for pats on the head

While I wouldn’t imagine that having to engage with the dreaded meeja features high on any football manager’s list of ‘favourite things to do’, victory must make the task a lot more tolerable.

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