Flashback: It's 30 years since Ireland hammered an English team with Tony Adams and Matt Le Tissier at the Cross

Flashback: It's 30 years since Ireland hammered an English team with Tony Adams and Matt Le Tissier at the Cross
Ireland B forward David Kelly smashes his penalty past England keeper David Beasant at Turner's Cross in the 1990 international.

FORGET Italia ’90.

The footballing highlight of 1990 took place in Turner’s Cross in March of that year when an Ireland B selection hammered England B on a scoreline of 4-1.

And I’m only half kidding!

Today marks the 30th anniversary of the encounter when 10,000 partisan home fans packed into the Cross to see two very decent 11s in action when everyone on show would have been extremely keen to put themselves in the shop window for Jack Charlton and Bobby Robson’s World Cup squads for that summer’s sojourn to the Mediterranean.

England brought a very strong XI to Cork that day, when at one stage they managed to field the same back five that would play for Arsenal in the 1993 FA Cup Final, with Tony Adams (above), Lee Dixon and Nigel Winterburn featuring, even if the other, two David Seaman and Andy Linighan, were not yet Gunners at the time of this match.

They had future England regulars David Batty and Carlton Palmer in midfield, alongside the incredibly talented Man City star Paul Lake, who would have his career cut short due to devastating injuries, while they had attacking talent like Matt Le Tissier (below), Nigel Clough, Andy Sinton and Dalian Atkinson on show.

These were all huge names in the old first division championship.

To provide some context for younger readers, it was akin to a modern-day England B arriving over to Cork with players like Dean Henderson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez, Luke Shaw, James Maddison, Mason Mount, Harry Winks, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Tammy Abraham in the line-up. Imagine the excitement.

Of course, it must be remembered that Ireland’s squad depth chart was much wider than it is now.

These days if you are Irish and a Premier League footballer then you are almost guaranteed a game, whereas back then you had Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal players ahead of you.

The English League was a very different place then.

Many of this Irish team made big money transfers on the back of this performance.

Some of them did not quite work out though. Mike Milligan’s move from Oldham to Everton was not a success, and neither was Alan McLoughlin’s switch from Swindon to Southampton, although he would have his moment in Windsor Park three years later.

Liverpool’s Jim Beglin (above) was still trying to make his way back to the top from a horrific 1987 leg break, but alas the Waterford man was never the same again while promising Man United and Arsenal centre-halves Derek Brazil and Pat Scully never really cracked the big time.

Oldham Athletic’s other representative on show was about to hit the big time though. Togher’s own Denis Irwin (below) was on the verge of making a move to Manchester United.

Indeed, he would be home again, across the road in Musgrave Park, making one of his first appearances for his new club when they played Cork City in a pre-season friendly that was arranged as part of the transfer of central defender Brian Carey to United the year before.

While it would be a great day for Irish football supporters it was actually England who took the lead through a sublime goal from striker Dalian Atkinson, who managed to control a scuffed Carlton Palmer long-range shot before volleying the ball past a despairing Gary Kelly, brother of Alan, into the top right-hand corner.

Kelly was soon making a brilliant stop to deny Atkinson a second, although at the other end his namesake David Kelly could well have had two goals of his own, but couldn’t hit the target.

David Kelly heads the ball away from Andy Linighan.
David Kelly heads the ball away from Andy Linighan.

Midfielder McLoughlin would slot a nice equaliser, after being fed a lovely through ball by Dubliner Brian Mooney, and when Andy Linighan hauled Kelly down in the box, the then West Ham United striker slotted the resultant penalty to give Ireland a 2-1 lead after only 24 minutes.

Kelly would, of course, become famous for scoring the goal in the abandoned ‘friendly’ at the old Lansdowne Road on the 15th of February 1995 that sparked the riots that led to the game being abandoned. It is some claim to fame.

The Shed had a great time in the second half as Ireland B piled on the misery.

Kelly cut in from the left and he played in his strike partner Niall Quinn for a sliding finish — one not too dissimilar to the effort that he would execute a few months later against the Netherlands in Palermo. The watching Ireland manager Jack Charlton would certainly have taken note.

Later another Kelly, this time the left-winger Mark, combined with Alan McLoughlin, whose in- swinging cross from the left was expertly nodded over the stranded David Seaman into the far corner by that man Quinn again.

For anyone interested enough the highlights are available on your Google machine.

It is definitely worth digging out.

Members of the Ireland B team who faced England B at Turner's Cross 30 years ago.
Members of the Ireland B team who faced England B at Turner's Cross 30 years ago.

For the record the teams that day were:

IRELAND B: Gary Kelly, Denis Irwin (Terry Phelan), Jim Beglin, Derek Brazil, Pat Scully, Alan McLoughlin (Kenneth de Mange), Brian Mooney, Mike Milligan (Gary Waddock), Niall Quinn, David Kelly (Owen Coyle), Mark Kelly.

Andy Sinton battling David Beckham.
Andy Sinton battling David Beckham.

ENGLAND B: Dave Beasant (David Seaman), Lee Dixon (Ian Snodin), Nigel Winterburn, Carlton Palmer, Andy Linighan, Tony Adams, Matthew Le Tissier (Tony Daley), David Batty, Paul Williams (Nigel Clough), Dalian Atkinson, Andy Sinton, Paul Lake.

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