| 12.2°C Dublin

'Tallaght three' lit up Cyprus

Close

THREE AMIGOS: Robbie Keane (centre), celebrates his second goal against Cyprus with team-mates Richard Dunne (left) and Jason Gavin during the European 1998 U-18 Championships in Cyprus.

THREE AMIGOS: Robbie Keane (centre), celebrates his second goal against Cyprus with team-mates Richard Dunne (left) and Jason Gavin during the European 1998 U-18 Championships in Cyprus.

THREE AMIGOS: Robbie Keane (centre), celebrates his second goal against Cyprus with team-mates Richard Dunne (left) and Jason Gavin during the European 1998 U-18 Championships in Cyprus.

It was a standout success on the list of honours for Irish football, the day Brian Kerr's U-18 side beat Germany on penalties to win the European Championship title.

That win, in Cyprus in 1998, was a national success but it had a heartbeat from one part of the city, it even had a name: The Tallaght Three, as locals Robbie Keane, Richard Dunne and Jason Gavin celebrated with a dance move all of their own, one made on the streets where they grew up.

"Robbie was five minutes away from me, in Glenshane, and Jay Gavin was close by," says Dunne, who grew up in a strong football household in Killinarden, links through into past and future generations (his dad, Dick, was a handy player and uncle Theo a highly-successful player and coach, as well as cousins Andy and Tony Cousins and Tommy Dunne).

"We'd grown up together and to go on and play for the Irish teams, all the way up as we did, was great."

Tallaght has only produced a handful of senior internationals to date but two of them are among the legends of the modern era, Keane and Dunne, while Graham Barrett scored on his Ireland debut (2002) and Keith Fahey would have gained more than his 16 caps, and would also gone to the Euro 2012 finals, only for injury.

Players like Mark Yeates, Stephen Bradley and Jason Gavin amassed an impressive number of caps at underage level, Middlesbrough's Gavin making the senior squad on one occasion but there are high hopes for current Tallaght talents like Jonathan Afolabi (Celtic).

The League of Ireland also drew talent from the area, names like Gary McCabe, Simon Madden and Brandon Miele all coming 'home' to play for Shamrock Rovers in Tallaght, while Katie McCabe is one of the best-known faces in the women's international side.

And there was also a strong tradition of brothers: Tony and Andy Cousins, Dessie and Richie Baker, and Vinny and Paul Perth all impressing at league of Ireland level.

Tallaght's internationals

Robbie Keane (146 caps, 1998-2016)

Richard Dunne (80 caps, 2000-13)

Keith Fahey (16 caps, 2010-12)

Graham Barrett (6 caps, 2002-04)

Jason Byrne (2 caps, 2004-06)