Part 1: How Ireland's players fared in the Premier League

We look at the season from the perspective of the Boys in Green. First up it's the defenders and goalkeepers

BY Raf Diallo 18:25 Monday 22 May 2017, 18:25 22 May 2017

West Ham United goalkeeper Darren Randolph. Richard Sellers/PA Archive/PA Images

When it comes to goals scored, it wasn't a vintage year for Irish players in the Premier League.

And in an increasingly globalised Premier League, there aren't as many players either from these shores or eligible to play for Ireland featuring routinely in the English top flight in comparison to yesteryear.

But of those Ireland internationals that are, how did they fare during the 2016-17 season? In Part 1, we look at the defensive portion of the field.

Darren Randolph

In the end, the Bray native made 22 appearances in goal for West Ham during the season but while the middle portion of the campaign was positive, it was bookended by a more difficult status.

Starting the season as understudy to Adrian, he gained the No 1 spot in goal after the Spanish keeper's loss of form, but lost it again in mid-April to the man he had replaced.

Overall, Randolph kept four league clean sheets but only one in his final 12 games.

In terms of sharpness, Ireland legend Packie Bonner is unconcerned by Randolph's lack of game time in recent weeks as he told Newstalk.

Seamus Coleman

The Ireland captain was having a very good season for Everton until that horrible leg break in the Wales game. From right back, he had provided four goals for his club and his importance was underlined by the extension of his contract recently following the injury. 

The 28 year old had also provided four assists in the 28 league games up to the unfortunately premature end to his season. 

To sum up his value in attack for Everton, his four goals make him the joint-highest Irish goalscorer in the Premier League in 2016-17 despite being a defender first and foremost and despite the fact that his season ended in March.

John O'Shea

The veteran defender remains part of the Ireland squad in the battle to qualify for what would be his first World Cup.

His club unfortunately had a nightmare season as Sunderland went down rather meekly. 

The 36 year old made 28 appearances as captain for what was then David Moyes' side and like the rest of the team and staff, was unable to arrest their slide out of the Premier League. 

Out of contract, the ex-Man United defender has suggested that he would like to stay and help the club in the Championship next season.

Stephen Ward

Stephen Ward

For former Ireland right back Paddy Mulligan, the current  Boys in Green left back was the most impressive performer among the Irish contingent at Burnley (Audio). 

And the 31 year old Dubliner barely missed a game as he finished up with 37 appearances in the league out of a possible 38 for a Burnley side that were resolute en route to surviving relatively comfortably.

Only three of those 37 appearances did not finish with a full 90 minutes and he also contributed a goal and assist each to the cause. 

Marc Wilson

The versatile Antrim native started the season at Bournemouth after joining from Stoke last August but never made a single league appearances for the Cherries - he did make appearances in the cups.

As he allowed the 29 year old to leave on loan, Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe did not expand on the reasons, simply stating that, "in this situation we felt we could not stand in Marc's way after the reasons he gave, which will remain private."

However, the player himself did suggest that living far from his family had made things difficult: "I’ve got to admit that I have been in the doldrums for the last 18 months. There have been personal reasons in living so far away from a young family which have not helped me."

In January, Wilson's former Stoke boss Tony Pulis brought him to West Brom on loan in January and while game time was difficult to come by in a settled team, he did end up making four appearances at the end of the campaign. 

There is now talk of Pulis looking to bring to West Brom permanently ahead of next season.

Kevin Long

The former Cork City defender rose to prominence in recent weeks having been named in Martin O'Neill's extended squad for the upcoming qualifier against Austria and friendlies. 

It came off the back of the Burnley player earning some game time for Sean Dyche's side at the end of the league season, making 90 minute appearances against West Brom, Bournemouth and West Ham in the final three games of the season. They were his only appearances in the league this season. 

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