Oct 102014

Roy Keane has praised the strong Irish presence in the Everton squad – and even tipped the Blues to make the Champions League.

From Jimmy Sheridan – the Blues’ first Irish international in 1903 – through to Peter Farrell and Kevin Sheedy, there has always been a proud Celtic tradition at Goodison.

Seamus Coleman, James McCarthy, Darron Gibson and Aiden McGeady are continuing that tradition – but do they make it into our all-time Everton Irish XI?

Here is how our team would line up…

Jimmy O’Neill

Dublin-born O’Neill was on the Blues’ books between 1949 and 1960, tasting both relegation and promotion during that time. He made his debut as an 18-year-old in a 4-0 loss at Middlesbrough and went on to clock up more than 200 appearances for Everton, not to mention 17 for Ireland.

Seamus Coleman

The flying defender is a shoo-in selection at right-back. One of Everton’s all-time best bargain buys, the £60,000 signing from Sligo Rovers has matured at Goodison into one of Europe’s finest attacking full-backs. A full Irish international since 2011.

Mick Meagan

On the opposite side of the defence, a man who holds a unique place in Irish football history. Meagan was appointed the Republic of Ireland’s first manager in 1969. Before then, teams had been decided by a panel of selectors. In his playing days, Meagan’s long spell with Everton saw him go from the dark Division Two days to tasting championship glory in Division One in 1963. Often deployed at left-back by Harry Catterick despite being right-footed, the Dublin-born defender left the Blues in 1964 for Huddersfield as part of the deal which brought Ray Wilson to Goodison.

Richard Dunne

Now back in the Premier League with QPR, the 35-year-old centre-back signed for the Blues 20 years ago when he was just 15. An FA Youth Cup winner with Tony Hibbert and Leon Osman, Dunne made his first-team debut at the age of 17 before leaving for Manchester City in 2000.

Was a member of Ireland’s 2002 World Cup and 2012 European Championship squads.

Shane Duffy

Born in Derry, Northern Ireland, Duffy elected to represent the Republic at under 21 and senior level. The 22-year-old struggled to break into Everton’s first team and, following spells on loan with Burnley, Scunthorpe and Yeovil Town, signed for Blackburn Rovers in the summer of 2014.

Tommy Eglington

A dual international who played for both Ireland teams, the flying winger made 394 league appearances for the Blues in the 1950s, scoring 76 goals.

As well as being known for his pinpoint crossing and regular raids down the wing, Eglington also had a fine scoring record for a wide player.

Darron Gibson

Keeping the midfield ticking over is a player who is looking to reignite his Everton career after seeing his 2013-14 campaign ruined by injury. Now back to full fitness for both club and country, Derry-born former Manchester United man Gibson will partner another current Irish international in our engine room…

James McCarthy

A few eyebrows were raised when Roberto Martinez shelled out £13m in September 2013 to make McCarthy the most expensive player in Everton history (a record which has since been surpassed, of course). It turned out to be money well spent as the Glasgow-born midfield dynamo, who qualifies for Ireland through his grandparents, was one of the Blues’ standout players in his debut campaign at Goodison.

Kevin Sheedy

One of the all-time EFC greats, Sheedy brings a touch of class to the left wing. The midfielder collected two league titles, an FA Cup and a European Cup Winners Cup during his glittering Blues career and was a member of Jack Charlton’s Ireland team which reached the quarter-finals of the 1990 World Cup. Born in Wales, Sheeds qualified for the Republic as his father was from County Clare.

Peter Farrell

A right-half or inside forward during his playing days, Dalkey-born Farrell would be pushed up front in our team. He played more than 400 league games for the Blues in the post-war era, a time when there was a strong Irish contingent at the club. Farrell is best-known on the Emerald Isle for his goal in Ireland’s 2-0 win over England at Goodison Park in September 1949 – the first time England had been defeated at home by a foreign side, long before the Magical Magyars stormed Wembley.

Alex Stevenson

A natural inside-left who will be pressed into service further forward in our team, Stevenson supplied the bullets for Dixie Dean and Tommy Lawton after signing for the Blues in 1934. A Division One title winner in 1939, he returned to play for Everton after the war in a side also featuring compatriots Peter Farrell, Tommy Eglington and Peter Corr.

We know there are a few famous names who didn’t make it into our all-Irish XI. If you have any favourites we missed out, tweet us @LivEchoEFC.

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