OPINION: Shiels obsession with winning the right way will lose him his job

Alan O’Brien 

For Derry City, grabbing three points from Bohemians is almost customary at this stage. With ten defeats out of ten since Kenny Shiels assumed the Brandywell helm, the Gypsies are the Generals to Derry’s Globetrotters. One could be forgiven, then, for seeing the Candystripes’ victory at Dalymount Park, last Friday evening, as somewhat routine. Continue reading


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

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

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: No-nous O’Neill brutally exposed

Alan O’Brien 

With Wesley Hoolahan at its tip, the midfield diamond has been integral to most of the Republic of Ireland’s best football under Martin O’Neill. But a make-or-break qualifier, against a Serbian 3-4-2-1, was, unequivocally, not the time to revive it. Continue reading

Lagerback’s incredible success shows why O’Neill plaudits are misplaced

“It is extremely important that every single player follows our plan. The more organised the team is, the bigger the chances to win. That is why football is the only team sport where a third division team can beat a first division team.”

The words of Lars Lagerback, manager of the Icelandic national team, extolling the virtues of meticulous planning earlier this year. On June 27, in Nice on the south coast of France, the Swede’s hard work paid a rich dividend in the form of victory over an old mentor in Roy Hodgson and a place in the Euro 2016 quarter-finals. Continue reading