Irish Soccer's Most Memorable Moments, No 17: Richard Dunne's Iron Curtain, 2011
Number 17 and we look at Richard Dunne putting in a defensive performance in Moscow last year that his name will become synonymous with for generations.
Russia versus Ireland took place in Moscow last September on the same week that marked the seventieth anniversary of the biggest siege in history, the Siege of Leningrad in Russia.
It would be facetious in the extreme to compare Richard Dunne’s performance, repelling the Russian attack nearly by himself, to that of the forces and citizens of the USSR defending themselves against the might of Nazi-Germany, nevertheless there is a strange symmetry with the event. Regardless of the relative importance (or lack thereof) of both events in the grand scheme of life, they will both live in collective memories for a long time.
Dunne was at his imperious best in this match and ensured we got the vital point we needed to help ensure we made a play-off spot for Euro 2012. He helped guide an inexperienced at international level Darren O’Dea through the match while performing heroics himself.
Sure he has done that before - in 2001 he took on a Dutch attack that featured at one stage Van Nistelrooy, Hasselbaink, Van Hooijdonk and Kliuvert. His performance that day was overshadowed by Roy Keane’s heroics so perhaps the Russia game was the first time we truly appreciated the man nicknamed “The Honey Monster.”
The defining moment of this match is when Richard Dunne in the 32nd minute blocked an Igor Semshov shot that was destined for the back of the net. Dunne out of nowhere stormed back and blocked the shot with his heel (which can be seen in the video above).
Ireland has a rich tradition of great centre-halves Paul McGrath, Kevin Moran, Mark Lawrenson, Kenny Cunningham etc… Richard Dunne’s name belongs there with them regardless of what happens this summer.
In the meantime enjoy the Newstalk Off the Ball lads' great tribute to the big centre half below.