On a brief sojourn to Cork this week, Tony Cascarino discussed everything from Celebrity Bainisteoir to rubbing England’s players noses in it for their domination by their opponents from across the Irish Sea during a golden generation for Irish football.
On a first reunion with fellow Euro ’88 and Italia ’90 star Packie Bonner for some years; ‘Cas’ said that the former players see each other from time to time and are friendly but “not on the other end of a phone” all the time. Tony detailed how close knit a group the Ireland set-up of the late 1980’s and 1990’s was, with Andy Townsend being his closest cohort.
‘Cas’ also spoke of his greatest moment in football being scoring against England (during a Euro ’92 qualifier at Lansdowne Road which finished 1-1):
“To score against England was extra special. Playing for Ireland, the English players would give plenty stick to us Irish lads. I remember Denis Wise saying: ‘One England cap is worth 50 Ireland caps.’ All I’d say was: ‘It’s more than 20 years since you’ve beaten us! Being in an English dressing room as an Irish player was great during the 1988-’89 season and similarly for 1994 (because England failed to qualify for that World Cup while Ireland made it to the USA).
“My favorite football moment was therefore scoring against England. What made it extra special though was that there was a number of Villa players in the England line-up (Cascarino played for Villa at the time).
“I remember (England manager) Graham Taylor wagging his finger at me when I came on, ‘warning’ me against scoring. He had signed me shortly before that so to score against England – and to go in to the Villa dressing room a few days later wearing my Ireland jersey – was fantastic. The England players would always wear their jerseys coming to (club) training after they got a big result, so to do the same to them – having scored against them – was very special!”
When asked whether he would have chosen Ireland or England if they had both asked him at the same time, the man who scored 19 times for the Republic stated: “That’s a hard one. I mean, it wasn’t really an option. I grew up in a very Irish family in south London, going to Mass with my granddad every Sunday and drinking black and tans. So, it was never really an option for me and I had some of the most memorable moments of my career in an Ireland shirt. I never had one regret about getting involved with the Irish set-up.”
When asked what he thought Ireland’s prospects were for the summer; the man capped 88 times said: “Well it’s a really tough group. Ireland have never ceased to amaze me with what we have achieved at major tournaments, but this is the toughest group we’ve ever had.
“If we get off to a decent start then I think we’ve a decent chance of getting out of the group. If I had to, I’d predict Spain to not just win the group, but also to go on and win the tournament. They look the best team in the world but I wouldn’t bet money on anyone in this group, it’s a very hard group to predict because it looks so tight,” – said the man whose well known for a bet.
Time will tell whether these predictions are accurate but one thing that seems certain is that Ireland’s Euro 2012 Group C is going to be a very tight call. Ireland’s campaign kicks off against Croatia in Poznan on 10th June before facing World and European Champions Spain four days later and finishing their group campaign on 18th June against manager Giovanni Trapatonni’s homeland.
Goal keeping legend Packie Bonner reunited with former teammate and striker Tony Cascarino to kick-off SuperValu’s Trip of a Lifetime to Euro 2012. The boys in green hit the pitch for a penalty shootout as Miss Cork Susan Brosnan put them under pressure as referee for the day.
SuperValu is offering one lucky family the Trip of a Lifetime to attend Euro 2012. The lucky winners will travel across Europe in a luxury camper van from Paris to Poznan. Over the two week adventure the winning family will visit some of Europe’s top holiday attractions, from Disneyland Paris to Europe’s largest water park, Tropical Island and with tickets courtesy of Kia Motors, cheer alongside the green army at to two of Ireland’s UEFA Euro 2012 matches.
To be in with a chance to win this Trip of a Lifetime with SuperValu, families can log on to www.facebook.com/SuperValuIreland or see leaflets in store from April 15th and explain why they deserve to win the ultimate holiday. Entries close on May 11th and the lucky winning family will be announced on May 18th.
Check out www.facebook.com/SuperValuIreland | www.twitter.com/SuperValuIRL or see in store for more details.