ANALYSIS: Winning the passing is no guarantor of success

Alan O’Brien 

We won the passing: a phrase that entered the meme lexicon in 2012 courtesy of Brendan Rodgers, whose bizarre Brentish utterances upon ascending the Anfield throne amused and baffled football fans in equal measure. “I’ve always worked with the statistic that if you can dominate the game with the ball you have a 79% chance of winning the game,” Rodgers confidently asserted, quoting a “statistic” that doesn’t actually exist. How we all laughed. And yet, a little over eight years later, many sensitive Irish football fans, keen to defend their anointed saviour Stephen Kenny, have been throwing around meaningless numbers with gay abandon, executing their best Rodgers impressions without an ounce of irony or a tongue-in-cheek in sight. What is going on?

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ANALYSIS: Kenny flexibility augurs well for the future

Alan O’Brien 

No one does confirmation bias quite like football fans. In the aftermath of Ireland’s unfortunate Euro 2020 exit on Thursday night, two highly hyperbolic camps re-emerged to insist on what they had just seen: one camp loudly hailing a swashbuckling display of attacking, free-flowing, possession-based football, the clear beginning of a new Stephen Kenny-led dawn for Irish football; the other damning an ineffectual outcome from a no-name manager they never rated anyway. Predictably, however, neither polarised group got it quite right — even if the plethora of journalists and broadcasters ensconced in the former might convince you otherwise.

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