Football: PURE IRISH HART-BEAT AT FOREST; POINTS TO PONDER
Byline: FRANK JOHNSTONE
WHEN old Big 'Ead was top of the tree at Forest you had to scout through the undergrowth to unearth a branch of Irish football.
There was, famously, Brian Clough's signing of Roy Keane from Cobh Ramblers in 1990 and the less-heralded purchase of Limerick-born Tommy Gaynor from Doncaster.
But otherwise Irish talent was virtually ignored during Clough's 19-year reign as soccer's sheriff of Nottingham.
These days, however, it's impossible to visit Forest's training ground without tripping over an Irish footballer.
In fact boss David Platt has a complete team of 11 Republic players on his staff at the City Ground.
All of them are teenagers aged between 17 and 19 and there's another Dubliner, striker David Freeman, currently out on loan at Port Vale.
Freeman made a few first team appearances last season but three budding 18-year-old Republic stars are really making a splash in Forest's promotion push this term.
Keith Foy can play orthodox left back or wing back and scored an amazing goal against Tranmere.
Striker Andy Reid was credited with a beauty on his debut against Sheffield United.
And keeper Barry Roche saved a penalty in a Worthington Cup tie with his first touch after coming on as substitute. …