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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ANALYSIS: Improving Ireland clear low O’Neill bar

Alan O’Brien 

Twitter wasn’t around when last Mick McCarthy masterminded a 1-0 victory at Lansdowne Road. Yet, in a measure of how low Martin O’Neill has set the bar for his successor, we now have a good idea what the ensuing social media scenes might have looked like. Georgia are no Netherlands; Vladimir Weiss’ improving side are ranked a lowly 91st in the world. But, after watching the boys from the Black Sea comprehensively outplay our lads twice in the last three years, splitting the possession pie equally feels like major progress. Continue reading

ANALYSIS: Hendrick rocks Gibraltar to spare McCarthy’s blushes

Alan O’Brien 

Mick McCarthy’s second stint under FAI employ is already pre-destined to be a temporary little arrangement. But his honeymoon period, riven asunder by a grim afternoon in Gibraltar, takes the brevity biscuit. Continue reading