LIAM MACKEY: Gould standard in training bust-ups

And so, after the fire and the friendly, the waiting game. Waiting for Deco. Waiting for Roy and Harry. Waiting for Seamus and Robbie and Seani and Shane and James and James.

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LIAM MACKEY: Nations League could prove more meaningful than expected

Even on the back of a painful hiding, one game into a new campaign might seem a bit too early to be talking about crisis.

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LIAM MACKEY: Declan Rice's silence means controversy rumbles on

I think it’s pretty safe to say that Martin O’Neill’s plea for people not to rush to judgment on Declan Rice has fallen on deaf ears, writes Liam Mackey

But then the manager probably had a pretty good idea that he was whistling in the wind with regard to that one.

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LIAM MACKEY: Kicking the league when it’s down a mug’s game

Boom! Boom! And out went the lights in Europe for Irish football this season, writes Liam Mackey

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LIAM MACKEY: What’s luck got to do with it?

They’re coming home, they’re coming home, the footballers are coming home… Well, to their home from home at any rate, the heroes and villains, the few triumphant and the many also-rans, all back from a sensational month in Russia and returning to what nobody ever calls the ‘bread and butter’ of the Premier League (#notthegreatestleagueintheworldbutwedontcallitthateither).

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LIAM MACKEY: Nice to mix with gods but football still wins hands down with me

At the height of the debate about opening up Croke Park to ‘foreign’ games, a hurling aficionado of my acquaintance offered up a soundbite for the ages.

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LIAM MACKEY: When it comes to the World Cup, you can’t polish a third

And then there was one. Well, two actually, but the World Cup third-place play-off is definitely one of those nominally competitive fixtures which presents a fairly robust challenge to my old friend Declan Lynch’s wise maxim that there’s never a good reason not to watch a football match.

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LIAM MACKEY: Hoping for no rain on World Cup parade

Drought? What drought?

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LIAM MACKEY: Time to be less ABE and more Lincoln in World Cup

The Anyone-But-England brigade will be up bright and early tomorrow, whistling a merry tune and flexing the brims of their Panama hats.

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