Analysis: Unapologetic O’Neill finally brought to reckoning

Alan O’Brien 

Exactly three years ago to the day, the Republic of Ireland fell to a Scottish short-corner. An uphill struggle to qualify for Euro 2016 ensued, throughout which Martin O’Neill was blessed with an extraordinary glut of good fortune. This was his reckoning. Continue reading

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Opinion: Martin’s Mou-lite approach is neither winning nor entertaining

Alan O’Brien 

“Whoever renounces possession reduces the possibility of making a mistake.” So states point five of José Mourinho’s big-game plan, as outlined in Diego Torres’s controversial 2014 biography of the Portuguese manager. Continue reading

Analysis: Away goal evades anti-football Ireland

Alan O’Brien 

“We have a plan, naturally,” offered Martin O’Neill, during his customary pre-match chinwag with RTÉ’s Tony O’Donoghue. Designed, perhaps, as an offhand response to the ever-expanding list of former associates stating the opposite, it was a revealing remark.  Continue reading

Limerick FC: 2017 Season in Review

Alan O’Brien 

Remaking Limerick FC’s patchwork squad is a challenge few would relish. And yet, just days after securing Premier Division football for 2018, Neil McDonald has already begun to tackle that herculean task. There will be no holiday for him. Both his future, and his reputation, rest on the outcome. He is, after all, only here because his predecessor failed to scale the same mountain. Continue reading

Analysis: Troubled Tribesmen pay for Keegan’s back-three obsession

Alan O’Brien 

This game had it all: goals, nerves, some incredible tactical intransigence, and the inimitable A. Buttimer. Ultimately, a combination of the latter three cost Galway United’s Shane Keegan the victory he so desperately needed. Continue reading

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

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: 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