18 seconds that sum up the warrior that is Glenn Whelan in an Ireland jersey 1 year ago

18 seconds that sum up the warrior that is Glenn Whelan in an Ireland jersey

35 years young.

89 minutes said the clock when Glenn Whelan was on the end of a nasty one. Another 60:40 ball, another improbable interception from Ireland's battle-worn warrior.

Granit Xhaka is almost ten years his junior. But he doesn't have the anywhere near the same hunger the Clondalkin man has. Whelan gets the leg in and swings it forward for Ireland but he's studded on the ankle. It's a late one. It would have five out of ten players on the sideline within a minute. It would have the other five feeling sorry for themselves for at least a minute.

He feels it alright. And when Glenn Whelan's down, you know it's real. But he's been down before. Heck, he was down half an hour earlier but he still legged it around for the next thirty on just the one leg.

The camera goes the other way and Switzerland do too. Ireland have been pegged back for the majority of this game and the only thing keeping it respectable really is the reckless interceptions and fearless blocks from men like Shane Duffy, Darren Randolph and of course, Glenn Whelan.

These blocks are often taken for granted though. Right place right time is the common theme. In truth, that's a criminal verdict. A blatant disservice.

It requires guts and it requires indomitable levels of desire.

Glenn Whelan has the desire.


So he's back in position. Screening his back four and scanning for any hint of danger within just 15 seconds. He only lasted for three seconds on the ground.

So, Switzerland are away in a hack. And they're tearing after goal number two.

They waste a little bit of time, pulling and dragging Ireland all over the field like yoyos in a really dispiriting minute of football for Irish fans. The Swiss had us on a string and they were just catching and releasing.

And then they go, and they go at will.

Fernandes down the right and there's hands over heads all over Ireland. Comes through to Seferovic only after a nick from Whelan on the way through but it looks a doomed one.

This is a cast-iron goal. Ball sitting up perfectly. Rolling out to him. He's about to bury it.

Only for Whelan to throw his body recklessly, absolutely recklessly out in front of it again.


"That's an amazing block from Whelan," says his namesake Ronnie in the RTÉ commentary booth.

Afterwards, Whelan was given his dues. First by Liam Brady.

"Glenn Whelan was our best player. At 35," said Liam Brady.

Second by Mick McCarthy.

"For a guy who's 35, he was magnificent, he's an example to all young pros"

We'll leave the last word to the man himself.

"I try and look after myself as best I can. Obviously I want to play as much as I can, but I don't want to come and hold the guys back," he said on RTÉ.

It's far from holding the guys back Glenn Whelan is. Holding them together more like.