What's With The Irish Football Team's Obsession With Piggy Backs?

What's With The Irish Football Team's Obsession With Piggy Backs?

Ploughing through the goldmine that is the Sportsfile archives can be a tiresome task, you go searching for a simple photo of Roy Keane smiling(of which there are surprisingly many) and you come away with a much deeper understanding of Irish training down the years. One such takeaway is the cult of the piggy back, and how it has swept through the ranks of Irish football

It appears to have started in 1996 with Alan McLoughlin giving Happy Roy Keane a rest in training.

McLoughlin Keane 96

Two years later, Roy has trimmed his mop but was as happy as ever as he formed an alternative goalkeeping team with future broadband salesman Discopants Quinn

Quinn Keane - 5 Oct 98

The trend had started to spread to the younger lads as the U-20 squad had noticed Clive Clark refusing to go to and from the pitch without using the Graham Barrett mode of transport
Barrett Clarke July 99

Gary Doherty had the form in this area, working as a human rickshaw on his J1 in San Diego, Stephen McPhail was always first in the queue as they team left the dressing room.


Doherty McPhail 25 March 1999

Despite his small frame Steven Carr was never as happy as he was when ferrying David Connolly back and forth to the team hotel.

Connolly Carr 27 Aril 99

It was during this friendly piggy back that Tony's passport found its way into Kelly's pocket..

Cascarino - Kelly 30th Aug 99

Jonathan Douglas knew the best way to get over being dropped was to get as close to Joe Murphy as he could


Douglas Joe Murphy 17 April 2000

Mick was delighted his revolutionary training method had spread so successfully, he let Stan in on the secret should he ever have to control a team of internationals

Stan - Mick 5 June 2001

Stan brought the spectacle as far as he could by attempting the never before seen three-person piggy back

McAteer Kilbane - Stan 4 Oct 2001

Niall and David spent hours practicing a new corner routine which they never managed to pull off in a real game.


Niall Quinn David Connolly 4 Oct 2001

Roy Keane was happy to be involved in a piggy back, even if it was Gary Breen taking the lift

Roy Keane Gary Breen 4 Oct 2001

The cult of the piggyback didn't go unnoticed at League of Ireland level with Dave Hill and Billy Woods introducing it to the Cork City troops

Dave Hill Billy Woods Sept 2005 Cork

Even Rugby wasn't safe with Ben Gissing being persuaded to try out the zany idea by Big Malcolm.

Gissing Okelly oct 2005

For anyone with the tiniest bit of insight it was clear that if a piggy back wasn't going to persuade Keano that Saipan wasn't all that bad, nothing would.

roy keane andy o'brien saipan

Also Read: Identify These 25 Sports Films From Just Their Tagline

Hal LaRoux
Article written by
Former child and failed 110m hurdler.

You may also like