Analysis: Tosi penalty bails out over-cautious McDonald

Alan O’Brien 

Not fixing what ain’t broke is normally a pretty good rule-of-thumb. But Limerick FC manager Neil McDonald almost paid the price for adhering to it on Saturday evening. Continue reading

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Analysis: Coleman’s narrow midfield fails to cut the mustard

Alan O’Brien 

Even a general as lucky as Martin O’Neill could not have anticipated the phoney war that the Welsh waged in Cardiff. Chris Coleman best-laid plans made life terribly easy for his opposite number, who still had to rely on Ashley Williams’ latest error to secure victory.

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Analysis: Duggan steals point from superior Saints

Alan O’Brien 

This was daylight robbery from Limerick, and Conan Byrne’s stats are evidence enough to convict. Byrne, a principal actor in Pat’s opening goal, scorer of their second, was central to seven other chances, as Limerick’s ravaged left-side led a charmed life. Continue reading

Analysis: O’Neill inertia feeds second-half farce

Alan O’Brien 

Martin O’Neill’s inaction in the face of Moldovan resurgence was, unfortunately, anything but telling. The Derryman’s tenure as the Republic of Ireland manager is fast approaching its fifth year. We know all there is to know about O’Neill; taking 33 minutes to enact a blindingly obvious adjustment is very much par-for-the-course.

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Analysis: Conte change unclutters the centre for City

Alan O’Brien 

Surely even Pep Guardiola did not imagine the success Fabian Delph’s unusual instructions would engender. Designed, presumably, to copper-fasten Manchester City’s customary possession-dominance, Delph’s turn as an inside-left-back also tempted Antonio Conte into the tactical call that cost Chelsea this game. Continue reading

Analysis: Back-post Buckley breaks Limerick hearts

Alan O’Brien 

Less a cup semi-final, more an exercise in underlining the scale of squad surgery facing Neil McDonald this winter. Only 15 minutes of Cork City effort, laser-focused on Limerick’s left-flank, was required to seal the Leesiders’ third-straight FAI Cup final appearance. Continue reading

Analysis: Dundalk fail to beat Cork at their own game

Alan O’Brien 

Much like the celebratory title bubbly, still frustratingly iced tonight, Dundalk were Corked here. Stephen Kenny’s side tried, and failed, to beat the Leesiders at their own game. In the end, a scantly-deserved point proved a fortunate, but probably meaningless, outcome. Continue reading

Analysis: Foxes misfortune, fist-pumps, and familiar Liverpool fragility

Alan O’Brien 

Celebratory quintuple fist-pumps — for the cameras, natch — are all well and good. Requesting more reserve from one’s five midfielders, to defend a seemingly unassailable lead, is probably wiser. No prizes for guessing which box Jurgen Klopp ticked. Continue reading

Analysis: McDonald’s man-management vindicated by sweet Munster derby success

Alan O’Brien 

On a night of sweet vindication for Neil McDonald, Limerick FC defeated champions-elect Cork City to pull five points clear of the relegation zone. Continue reading