With a large chunk of the Premier League clubs having reached or surpassed the 19-game mark, it's accurate enough to say that the half-time whistle has blown on the 2022-23 campaign.

But how have the Irish contingent fared thus far?

Last season was something of a nadir, with just 14 Irish players featuring in the English top flight, cumulatively playing less than 10,000 minutes. Only Seamus Coleman appeared in more than 20 games.

The trend of Irish players garnering reduced game-time had already become undeniable way back in 2013 and as The Independent's chief football writer Miguel Delaney said on the RTÉ Soccer Podcast towards the end of last season, Premier League clubs have increasingly minimised their scouting footprint in Ireland due to factors like the Brexit ruling governing the transfer of under-18s.

Be that as it may, there are some green shoots amid the continuous downward trend and Brighton crops up regularly when it comes to the positives.


Evan Ferguson's career is still in its infancy but the 18-year-old striker has shown a cutting edge over the last month.

Having made his Premier League debut for Brighton last February with a 22-minute cameo against Burnley, he has hit the accelerator pedal recently, with two goals in his first - and most recent - four games of the league campaign, finding the net against leaders Arsenal and a beleaguered Everton.

Ferguson's first PL goal came against Arsenal on 31 December

In fact that short burst has already propelled the former Bohemians player to the top of the charts among Irish scorers in the Premier League this season.

The only other Irish scorer this season has been Matt Doherty against Crystal Palace earlier in January.

For comparison, last season saw eight Irish players score at least one goal with defenders Doherty and Nathan Collins top-scoring with two apiece. Adam Idah and Andrew Omobamidele, both relegated with Norwich, did net their first Premier League goals respectively in 2021-22.


While 14 Irishmen featured at some point last season, the number is 11 thus far. Gavin Bazunu may have endured struggles in his first season at a defensively deficient Southampton but game time has not been an issue, with the Ireland goalkeeper starting all 19 of the Saints' games.

Mark Travers has also featured prominently for Bournemouth, aided by an injury-related absence for the Cherries' Brazilian keeper Neto. Worryingly from an Irish perspective, Travers was relegated to the bench as soon as Neto returned this past weekend at Brentford. Thus far though, the Kildare native has made 11 league appearances from the possible 19.

Ferguson and Bazunu after Brighton's recent win over Southampton

That's 11 more than Caoimhin Kelleher has managed in the Premier League. Assured as he often is in his domestic cup cameos for Liverpool, with a clean sheet at Wolves in the FA Cup third round replay on Tuesday, his obvious talent has not translated into Premier League minutes given the presence of the undisputed Anfield number one Alisson Becker.

Among outfielders, Nathan Collins would likely have played in every single league game for Wolves had it not been for a three-match suspension for his red card tackle on Manchester City's Jack Grealish last September. Otherwise he has been ever present with 16 starts in the Wolves defence, playing all 90 minutes with the obvious exception of his early dismissal against the reigning champions.

The main reason Nathan Collins hasn't played every minute of this Premier League season

With competition from Emerson Royal at Tottenham, Matt Doherty has made 12 league appearances, seven of which have been starts. Encouragingly the right wing-back has been seeing more game time as the season has wore on, compared to the early stages when he was still working his way back to full fitness after his injury in the latter part of 2021-22. He's also the only Irish player to have played in this season's Champions League so far.

Everton and Ireland captain Seamus Coleman remains an important leader at a Goodison Park where dark clouds have been hovering, but he is not nailed on first choice anymore at the age of 34. The Donegal man has made 11 appearances though, eight of which have been starts, albeit some coming when Scottish youngster Nathan Patterson was out injured.

Shane Duffy moved to Fulham on loan from Brighton just as the season started but has had to content himself with four appearances of just a minute each. The 31-year-old centre-back has not played a single minute of Premier League football since making a late, late substitute appearance against Leeds on 23 October.


When it comes to minutes, the one to really watch is Wolves' Joe Hodge. The Ireland Under-21 international may have been subbed at half-time against Liverpool in the FA Cup on Tuesday but new manager Julen Lopetegui has followed caretaker boss Steve Davis' lead in giving the Manchester-born midfielder an opportunity.

Hodge has put his hand up for more Wolves minutes since his debut against Chelsea

He made an impressive Premier League debut against Chelsea which former Sheffield Wednesday, UCD and Shamrock Rovers midfielder Paul Corry witnessed first-hand back in October, and since then Hodge has made four more league cameos - aside from domestic cup games - including a start against Everton on St Stephen's Day.

This season has also seen Hodge's Wolves team-mate Connor Ronan, Brighton's Andrew Moran and West Ham's Conor Coventry all make their Premier League debuts, but thus far none have played any league games since. Aintree-born Tom Cannon, who has played for Ireland's U19s and U20s, has also played twice for Everton before moving on loan to Preston this month.

Overall, all the aforementioned players have together contributed to a total of just over 5,800 minutes of Premier League action which is on track to pip last year's low mark of under 10,000.