Will Sliney hopes to avoid row over top 11 footballers mural

Award-winning Irish graphic artist Will Sliney is hoping to avoid a red card after producing a mural featuring his top 11 Republic of Ireland soccer legends.

Will Sliney hopes to avoid row over top 11 footballers mural

East Cork-based Will said he is prepared for people calling foul over the omissions from his squad.

“It’s just a bit of fun and I hope it generates some talk,” he said.

Will, who is best-known for his work on Marvel Comics’ Spider-Man series, and for his match-day programme illustrations for Premier League side Everton, was asked by sports gear giant Umbro to create the artwork.

The mural, created in his unique graphic cartoon style, was installed this week on the wall of the Sugarcube coffee shop on the South Mall in Cork city centre.

It has replaced his mural of Cork icons, featuring people like Graham Norton, Jack Lynch, Sonia O’Sullivan and Michael Collins, which was on display there since last July.

He spent weeks agonising over this selection, and his final 11 includes goalkeeper Packie Bonner, Steve ‘the gaffer’ Staunton, and defensive stalwarts Paul McGrath and Richard Dunne.

Dunne is standing next to former national team manager Mick McCarthy, who casts an uneasy glance to his left, over John Giles’s head, to where his Saipan nemesis, Roy Keane, is standing.

Jason McAteer, Ray Houghton, Niall Quinn and Robbie Keane complete the line-up.

“This isn’t necessarily the best 11 players who’ve ever played for Ireland,” Will said.

“If it was, then Liam Brady would have been one of my first choices. And you could argue that Denis Irwin should be in there too.

“But this is a team of players who have a great story attached to them, who created those special, unforgettable moments over the years.”

Will said he hopes to continue producing murals which generate debate for public display on the Sugarcube.

“It’s a great spot and the work is seen by hundreds of people every day,” he said.

“I got great feedback and banter on the last mural, with people giving out about who wasn’t included. I hope the same happens with this piece.”

Meanwhile, Will, who is organising a comic book convention in Cork City later this year, has been commissioned to design the cover of Everton legend Neville Southall’s autobiography, due for release this year.

Southall, Footballer of the Year in 1985, was widely regarded as one of the greatest of his generation.

He asked for Will to recreate one of his most memorable saves — a reflex save from a point-blank Mark Falco header in the dying minutes of a game against Spurs in their 1985 season.

Southall’s save ensured Everton held on to win the game 2-1. They went on to win the league title and, for many, Southall’s save was the moment they secured the title.

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