Current Limerick FC strength & conditioning coach, Joe Gamble was up until midweek the last League of Ireland based player to play a full international in the Green of Ireland. Called up by Steve Staunton in 2006, it wasn’t until 2007 and the infamous tour of the USA that Gamble finally earned his caps. Impressing off the bench against Ecuador, Gamble would start for Ireland three days later in the Gilette Stadium against Boliva.
With Graham Burke making his full Ireland debut in Paris this week, there has been plenty of debate among League of Ireland circles if these call ups for domestic players actually has any sort of overall impact on the twenty League of Ireland clubs. When this question was put to Gamble on last night’s Series 2-Episode 13 of Between the Stripes LOI podcast, the man who won his Ireland caps while playinf for Cork City had this to say:
“Not really, I don’t think there was a big foray, it didn’t have more league players getting into the squad. It probably raised the profile.”
Another hot topic in recent days has been John Caulfield’s comments that there should be a mandatory number of three League of Ireland players in each Ireland squad. Responding passionately to those comments from the current Cork City boss, Gamble labelled the suggestion as “nonsense”.
“That’s nonsense, what does mandatory places say? You’re only there because you play League of Ireland? Ask any player in this league they don’t want that. Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane are not charity cases, nor should they be. Mandatory places only represent token gestures, you should be there on merit and hand me downs would mean every cap gone before, including mine, were just hand me downs.”
Catch Joe Gamble’s interview in full on Series 2-Episode 13 of Between the Stripes LOI podcast, which you can listen to below using the Audioboom player or alternatively, you can listen & subscribe via Itunes.