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Biggest Moments From Irish Players In The Manchester Derby

Biggest Moments From Irish Players In The Manchester Derby
By Darren Holland

It might just be the EFL (Carling, Worthington, Rumbelows) Cup tonight, but there's still something about any Manchester Derby that gets us going. Unfortunately, the days of Irish players deciding these games are long gone, at least for now. But we did have an amazing record in this fixture down through the years.

Ferocious tackles, own goals and late winners; Balls looks at the biggest moments from Irish players in the Manchester derby.

Mick McCarthy vs Manchester United - 1986/87

The first ever Manchester derby to be aired live on television didn't disappoint as a resilient City earned a point. That may not be something to write home about for City supporters nowadays but there was something quite romantic about a poor Man City team battling against their superior neighbours.

Another Irishman, Frank Stapleton, gave United the lead before a powerful - and we mean powerful - header from Mick McCarthy levelled the scoring to send Maine Road into hysteria.

Unfortunately for McCarthy and company, City were relegated from the top flight by the end of the season.




Niall Quinn, Dennis Irwin and Roy Keane - 1993/94

For most United fans of a certain age, this 3-2 win at Maine Road is the defining Manchester Derby of their lives. It just had everything.

Niall Quinn loved scoring against United in a blue shirt.  In front of 35,000 supporters, Quinn put a header past Peter Schmeichel. He then doubled the lead just eleven minutes later. It looked as if Manchester City were 45 minutes away from a famous victory against the Premier League champions.

Manchester United reemerged from the tunnel looking as team which were on the receiving end of Alex Ferguson's hairdryer treatment.


By the 77th minute an Eric Cantona brace drew United level before a Dennis Irwin cross found the boot of Roy Keane on the far post to seal a dramatic comeback.

The goals can be viewed at 0:53, 1:10 and 2:35 respectively but honestly the entire clip is worth watching.  A classic Manchester derby clash.



Roy Keane vs Manchester City - 2000/01

Roy Keane has proved the most influential of all the Irish players in the Manchester derby over the years.  Yet, his tackle on Alf Inge Haaland continues to be a blemish on Keane's career - to which he seemingly shows little regret;

"[Haaland] pissed me off, shooting his mouth off. He was an absolute prick to play against. Niggling, sneaky. I did want to nail him and let him know what was happening. I wanted to hurt him and stand over him and go: ‘Take that, you cunt.’ I don’t regret that. But I had no wish to injure him."

It's a gruesome challenge whether Keane had intention to injure Haaland or not.  Naturally, he received a red card for the tackle as the game finished all-square at Old Trafford.



Jon Macken vs Manchester United - 2003/04

English born, Jon Macken, represented Ireland at senior level...on one occasion - replacing Clinton Morrison in a match against Bulgaria.  A great time for Irish football. Needless to say he makes the list following his derby day heroics in 2004.

Following a successful spell at Preston North End, Macken returned to Manchester to sport the blue of City in 2002. His finest moment would arrive two years later.


Macken began the move as he lay the ball to Steve McManaman on the wing before receiving it again moments later from a deflected Claudio Reyna cross.  Macken then finishes the ball on the half-volley to double their lead (skip to 1:49).

Man City were 4-1 winners on the day and a new era in English football was on the horizon.


Richard Dunne vs Manchester United - 2004/05

A few things are synonymous with Richard Dunne's career - brave performances, red cards and own goals.  United's infamous 4-1 defeat against City from the previous season was truly forgotten as Wayne Rooney gave The Red Devils the lead.  Seven minutes later, Dunne unfortunately scored his second own goal of the season (skip to 0:58).



It may be some time before we witness Irish players in the Manchester derby again but we'll always have these memories to hold on to.

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