Here is your guide to how Irish players abroad got on this weekend with just 48 days to go until Ireland face Sweden in Paris at the Stade de France.
Good weekend: Kevin Toner (Aston Villa)
The Ashbourne native made his Aston Villa debut against Southampton on Saturday, coming on as a half-time substitute.
Toner also had a role in the already-relegated club’s second goal, as his touch from a corner led to Ashley Westwood getting his second goal of the game.
The Villa Under-21 captain can operate as a centre-half or at left-back and spent time on loan at National League side Kidderminster earlier this season.
Bad weekend: Shay Given (Stoke City)
Shay Given’s injury nightmare continues as a groin injury forced the veteran Irish goalkeeper off at half-time in Stoke’s match against Manchester City.
The former Newcastle United goalkeeper has had to cope with injuries to his knee, pelvis and hamstring in recent seasons, but it’s a recurring groin injury that is causing him the most trouble.
Given turned 40 on Wednesday and became Stoke’s oldest ever league debutant when he started against Tottenham last Monday.
14 - Shay Given becomes the 14th different player to make a Premier League start aged 40 or over. Stannah.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 23, 2016
He is also the oldest player to appear in the Premier League this season, but has now conceded 12 goals in his last two-and-a-half games in the Premier League for Stoke and Aston Villa.
Five things we learned this weekend:
1 Shane Long will head into Euro 2016 on the back of his best-ever goalscoring return in the Premier League after the Tipperary native netted his ninth Premier League goal of the season.
2 Jon Walters and Marc Wilson could play some part in Stoke’s next game against Sunderland on Saturday.
Walters is hoping to return to training this week after knee surgery, while Wilson has already been back in training for Mark Hughes’ side for the past couple of weeks. The Antrim man has been out of action since the end of January.
3 Shane Duffy’s Euro 2016 hopes have taken a knock after being dropped to the bench for Blackburn’s last two games following a couple of individual mistakes in last weekend’s game against Huddersfield.
4 Graham Carey is on a fine run of form for Plymouth in League Two. The midfielder has provided five assists in his three games, including one on Saturday on top of scoring his 10th league goal of the season.
5 Kevin Doyle celebrated his return from injury by coming off the bench to score for Colorado Rapids in MLS. Replays show he was in an offside position – not that the Wexford man will mind too much.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) April 24, 2016
THE WEEKEND IN NUMBERS
The FA Cup: Three starters
Defenders: Damien Delaney(Crystal Palace)
Midfielders: Darron Gibson (Everton), James McCarthy (Everton)
Premier League: Three starters
Goalkeepers: Shay Given (Stoke City)
Midfielders: Glenn Whelan (Stoke City)
Forwards: Shane Long (Southampton)
Substitute appearances: Kevin Toner (Aston Villa)
Unused substitutes: John O’Shea (Sunderland), Eunan O’Kane (Bournemouth)
Goals: Shane Long (Southampton)
Championship: 19 starters
Goalkeepers: Keiren Westwood (Sheffield Wednesday)
Defenders: Cyrus Christie (Derby County), Stephen Kelly (Rotherham United), Richard Keogh (Derby County), Stephen Ward (Burnley), Greg Cunningham (Preston), Matt Doherty (Wolves)
Midfielders: Lee Frecklington (Rotherham United), Darren Potter (MK Dons), Alan Browne (Preston), Alan McCormack (Brentford),Stephen Gleeson (Birmingham City), Stephen Quinn (Reading), Aiden McGeady (Sheffield Wednesday)
Forwards: Leon Best (Rotherham United), Simon Cox (Reading), David McGoldrick (Ipswich Town), Anthony Pilkington (Cardiff), Joe Mason (Wolves)
Substitute appearances: Alex Pearce (Bristol City), Kevin Foley (Ipswich Town), Darragh Lenihan (Blackburn Rovers), Jonathan Douglas (Ipswich Town), Sean Scannell (Huddersfield Town)
Unused substitutes (6): Jack Bonham (Brentford), Paddy Kenny (Rotherham United), Shane Duffy (Blackburn Rovers), Kevin Long (MK Dons), Paul Green (Rotherham United), Josh Barrett (Reading)
FA Cup round-up
James McCarthy and Darron Gibson both started in midfield for Everton as the Toffees’ hopes of winning their first silverware since 1995 ended with semi-final defeat at the hands of Manchester United.
Gibson, who started his first Premier League game of the season against Southampton the previous Saturday, once again demonstrated his passing range from deep inside his own half, which could be an effective option for Martin O’Neill from the bench, should Ireland be chasing a match in the summer.
However, Saturday’s match was only his ninth appearance of the season for Everton, and he will need to appear more regularly between now and the end of the campaign to have any hope of making the final 23-man squad.
Seamus Coleman missed the game with a hamstring injury with no date set for his return to action.
Damien Delaney will be the sole Irish player in the FA Cup final after his Crystal Palace side overcame the challenge of Watford.
The 34-year-old will be aiming to prevent a repeat of the own goal he scored against Manchester United during the week when the two sides meet again in the final next month.
It was another solid defence performance from Delaney on Sunday and it was the Cork man that set Alan Pardew’s side on the way with a perfectly-weighted flicked header at the near post to set up Yannick Bolasie for the opening goal.
Premier League round-up
Shane Long scored his 12th goal of the season for Southampton in a comprehensive victory over Aston Villa, although Long’s goal was headed in from an offside position.
Southampton manager Ronald Koeman revealed after the match that Long apologised he didn’t score more in the game, after squandering a couple of openings, including two one-on-ones.
The Irish striker can take comfort that he did set up team-mate DusanTadic on two separate occasions in Southampton’s 4-2 victory to take his total of assists for the season up to four in the league.
6 - Shane Long has netted more goals (6) against Aston Villa than he has mustered against any other Premier League opponent. Villain.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 23, 2016
Ciaran Clark missed the game with a slight ankle injury but should be fit to return for next week’s game at Watford as Kevin Toner made his debut from the bench.
Shay Given was taken off with a groin injury at half-time as Stoke were trashed 4-0 at Manchester City, Given was in goal for two of the four goals, which included a Sergio Aguero penalty.
Glenn Whelan also started for the Potters. The experienced midfielder will be disappointed he didn’t attack the corner which led to City taking the lead.
John O’Shea was an unused substitute as Sunderland secured a precious point in a goalless draw against Arsenal to leapfrog Norwich and move out of the bottom three.
The former Manchester United defender hasn’t started in the league since 1 March, a run of six games. In that period, Sam Allardyce’s side have kept three clean sheets, having previously failed to prevent the opposition from scoring since November.
Harry Arter remains out for Bournemouth and is doubtful to return before the end of the Premier League season. Fellow Irish midfielder Eunan O’Kane was an unused substitute for the third game on the spin as the Cherries lost 4-1 at home to Chelsea.
O’Kane is running out of chances to impress O’Neill before the end of the season having started just six times in the league so far this season, with a further 10 appearances coming from the bench.
On Thursday, James McClean played 65 minutes for West Brom in the 1-0 defeat at Arsenal and will be hoping to start his fourth game in a row when the Baggies face title-chasing Spurs on Monday night. The former Derry City winger turned 27 on Friday.
Stephen Ward’s Burnley are now just two wins from a swift return to the top flight after a 1-0 victory over local rivals Preston.
It’s a third clean sheet in six games for Ward and the Clarets, who sit on the top of the Championship table.
Greg Cunningham and Alan Browne both started for the Lilywhites but the pair couldn’t repeat their goalscoring exploits which earned Preston a late draw at Birmingham.
Chris Hughton might be sending a thank you message to his former international team-mate Mick McCarthy, after his Ipswich side secured a goalless draw away at promotion-chasing Middlesbrough, to boost Brighton’s chances of finishing in the top two.
David McGoldrick started for the Tractor Boys as he starts to regain his match sharpness after injury, while Kevin Foley and Jonathan Douglas made second-half cameos.
McCarthy said during the week he will not rush striker Daryl Murphy back to first-team action if he is not fully fit to ensure the Irish striker is ready for Euro 2016. Murphy hasn’t played since being taken off against Switzerland on international duty last month.
Brighton themselves beat Charlton 3-1, with Richie Towell and Stephen Henderson left out of their respective squads.
Only goal difference separates the top three, with just two games left. Brighton come up against Middlesbrough on the final day of the season which could decide which team finishes in the final automatic promotion place.
Keiren Westwood put in another fine performance for Sheffield Wednesday in the 1-1 draw at fellow promotion hopefuls Derby County. Aiden McGeady made his 12th appearance since joining at the end of January but was taken off just before Wednesday took the lead.
Cyrus Christie and Richard Keogh started for the Rams, who are guaranteed to be in the play-offs the end of the season, when the injured Jeff Hendrick should be fit to return.
The Owls have not been in the top flight since 2000 and will come up against Cardiff City on Saturday, knowing a draw will secure their place in the top six.
The Bluebirds’ hopes of making the play-offs were salvaged by a last-minute penalty against relegated Bolton. Anthony Pilkington started for the Welsh side but couldn’t end his goalscoring drought on Saturday – it’s now nine league games without a goal for Pilkington.
David Meyler captained Hull City to a win over Reading in midweek but a reported injury forced him to miss the Tigers’ draw with Leeds, which ends their hopes of automatic promotion.
Rotherham United’s status as a Championship club is secure for another season after a draw at Wolves.
Stephen Kelly, Lee Frecklington and Leon Best have all played an important role in their survival bid and the Irish trio all started at Molineux, while Paul Green and Paddy Kenny were on the bench.
Matt Doherty started for Wolves as he helped the home side keep a fourth consecutive home clean sheet. Just like Pilkington, Joe Mason is struggling to find the back of the net, being in and out of the side hasn’t helped though, with the former Under-21 international without a goal in his last 12 games.
MK Dons’ relegation to League One was confirmed after a comprehensive 4-1 defeat at home to Brentford. Darren Potter started for the Dons, while Burnley loanee Kevin Long was on the bench.
Alan Judge was named in the PFA Championship Team of the Year during the week having already been named in the Football League Team of the Season, but the Bees, who had midfielder Alan McCormack making his 28th appearance of the season, didn’t miss the dynamic midfielder too much on Saturday.
Brian McDermott may be facing the sack for the second time as Reading manager, despite the Royals picking up a welcome point at QPR, after four successive defeats.
Paul McShane missed the 1-1 draw as he serves the last game of a three-match ban but Stephen Quinn and Simon Cox did start at Loftus Road. Josh Barrett was an unused substitute.
Stephen Gleeson returned to Birmingham’s starting line-up after beginning the last two matches on the match. The Blues drew 1-1 away at Huddersfield Town, with substitute Sean Scannell assisting a late equaliser for the Terriers.
Shane Duffy and Darragh Lenihan were dropped to the Blackburn Rovers bench as they drew 2-2 at home with Bristol City.
It was a second consecutive game on the Blackburn bench for the Duffy, who made a couple of individual errors against Huddersfield last week.
Lenihan came on as a late substitute for Blackburn, while Alex Pearce was a half-time substitute for the Robins. That was Pearce’s fourth substitute appearance for Bristol City having only started once since joining on-loan from Derby, and he was culpable for Blackburn’s late equaliser after being out-muscled by Danny Graham in the box.
League One round-up
Chris McCann opened the scoring for Wigan in their 4-1 win over Southend to virtually guarantee they will be back in the Championship next season due to their much superior goal difference to Walsall, the only team that can push them out of the top two.
That goal was McCann’s third goal in the league in his 36th appearance, while Gary Deegan, Stephen McLaughlin and Dave Mooney all featured for Southend.
Louis Dunne and Owen Garvan have suffered relegation from League One after their Colchester side lost 3-0 at home to Burton Albion, who themselves are on the verge of automatic promotion.
Limerick man Damien McCrory started for Burton on Saturday and the 26-year-old defender has been a regular feature in the team this season, making 35 appearances in the league, while former Irish underage internationals Anthony O’Connor and Callum Reilly were on the bench for the Brewers.
John Egan, namesake and son of the late legendary Kerry Gaelic footballer, was named in the PFA League One Team of the Year last week, but that was a distant memory on Saturday as his Gillingham side went down 3-2 at home to Shrewsbury to drop out of the play-off places.
The defender did however score a late equaliser for his side against Rochdale in midweek, his fifth of the season. Under-21 international Bradley Garmston also started for the Gills on Saturday, who are now one point behind Conor Hourihane’s Barnsley, who drew 0-0 at Sheffield United.
Chris Forrester was suspended for Peterborough as the Posh lost 2-0 at home to Scunthorpe. Shortly after the match, Peterborough’s manager Graham Westley was sacked. It’s the 10th time in ten years that Peterborough’s Dubliner owner Darragh MacAnthony has sacked a manager.
Irish duo Stephen Dawson and Paddy Madden started for the Iron, who are now just two points outside the play-offs.
Forrester missed the game after being sent off in the midweek match against Barnsley after several altercations with Hourihane, which included the Cork man deliberately standing on Forrester’s foot. Check out the incident below.
Josh Cullen started his 13th game of the season for Bradford City, with Billy Clarke coming on as a late substitute as the Bantams edged closer to securing a place in the play-offs with a facile 4-0 win over Walsall.
Liam Kinsella, son of former Ireland international, Mark, started alongside Anthony Forde for Walsall.
BREAKING | Liam Kinsella signs one-year extension to his existing deal. pic.twitter.com/GhKegyjUfZ— Walsall FC Official (@WFCOfficial) April 21, 2016
Goalkeepers Ian Lawlor and David Forde were on the bench for their respective clubs as Millwall beat Bury 3-1 to cement their place in the play-offs.
Lawlor, on-loan from Manchester City has played 15 times for Bury since joining in January, but hasn’t featured since the middle of last month.
Aiden O’Brien started in attack for the Lions while Bury’s John O’Sullivan provided an assist in first-half stoppage time. O’Sullivan is a midfielder on-loan from Blackburn and that assist was his fourth of the season.
Colin Doyle kept a clean sheet for Blackpool as the Seasiders drew 0-0 with relegation rivals Fleetwood Town. Blackpool currently sit in the relegation zone but are just two points behind Fleetwood with two games to go.
League Two round-up
Graham Carey assisted a goal and scored another as Plymouth’s hopes of automatic promotion hopes hang in the balance after losing 3-2 to relegated Dagenham and Redbridge.
It’s now five assists in three games for Carey, having provided two assists in the midweek victory over Leyton Orient and another two against Portsmouth last weekend. The 26-year-old from Blanchardstown has 10 goals and 11 assists for the season.
Dubliner Jamie Devitt produced his 16th assist of the season for Morecambe, the most in the division, as the Shrimps lost 4-1 at home to Stevenage.
Both Enda Stevens and Michael Doyle started in Portsmouth’s 2-1 victory over Wycombe, a win that all but secures Pompey a place in the play-offs. Captain Doyle assisted what ended up being the decisive goal.
Kenny McEvoy’s York City will not be a Football League club next season after a 3-0 defeat at promotion-hopefuls Accrington Stanley. Seamus Conneely scored in the midweek win over Hartlepool and the right-back made his 47th appearance of the season for Accrington on Saturday.
Rory Gaffney started his 21st league game for Bristol Rovers as they beat Exeter 3-1 to keep the heat on Accrington and Oxford in the automatic places. Veteran midfielder Liam Lawrence came off the bench in the dying moments for Rovers.
John Joe O’Toole was named in the PFA League Two Team of the Year during the week after helping Northampton Town secure promotion with 12 goals from midfield. The 27-year-old started in their 1-1 draw at Yeovil Town on Saturday.
Rest of the world round-up
Jonny Hayes started for Aberdeen but a 3-0 defeat at St Johnstone, coupled with Celtic’s draw against Ross County means that the Dons are just short of raising the white flag in the title race. Aberdeen are now nine points behind Celtic with four games to go.
Rangers lifted the Scottish Championship title after drawing 1-1 with Alloa, with Robbie Kiernan making his 44th appearance of the season, while Anthony Stokes started for Hibernian in their scoreless draw with Morton, the striker on-loan from Celtic has scored six times in 18 appearances for Hibs since joining in January. Last week’s hero Conrad Logan was on the bench for Hibernian.
Jack Byrne produced his third assist of the season as Cambuur picked up what could turn out to be a vital point at home to Willem II in the Eredivisie. The creative midfielder is on-loan from Manchester City and turned 20 on Sunday.
During the week, Cillian Sheridan helped Omonia book a place in the Cypriot Cup final by scoring in the penalty shootout against AEK Larnaca. This weekend he started as his side lost 2-0 at home to APOEL in the league.
In MLS, Kevin Doyle returned from the nasty-looking injury picked up against Switzerland to come off the bench and score in Colorado Rapids’ 3-1 win over Seattle.
Team of the weekend (4-4-2): Keiren Westwood (Sheffield Wednesday); Cyrus Christie (Derby County), Richard Keogh (Derby County), Damien Delaney (Crystal Palace), Matt Doherty (Wolves); Graham Carey (Plymouth), Jack Byrne (Cambuur), Michael Doyle (Portsmouth), Sean Scannell (Huddersfield Town); Shane Long (Southampton), Kevin Doyle (Colorado Rapids)
Outside of the Premier League and the Championship only selected players are included.