ANALYSIS: Kenny’s vision of McCarthy is a mirage

Alan O’Brien 

Not being all-in on Stephen Kenny can be seen as a kind of heresy around these parts. The new Republic of Ireland manager’s unashamed idealism and refreshing candour have won over almost the entire Irish football community, with the possible exception of a smattering of skeptical ex-pros, whose company I’m not particularly thrilled to keep. But this writer has long met many of Kenny’s public pronouncements with an uneasy mixture of bemusement and concern. And none had me scratching my head more vigourously than Kenny’s eye-opening comments about James McCarthy earlier in the week. Continue reading

ANALYSIS: O’Neill’s fishes out of water flop again

Alan O’Brien 

Speaking on Monday afternoon, Martin O’Neill rubbished suggestions that several players played out of position throughout Saturday’s deadlock with Denmark. “The only player we had playing in a position where he doesn’t normally play is Cyrus Christie, and he was man of the match,” he said. Perspective, of course, is all relative; Christie, in the eyes of most, looked all at sea in an unfamiliar central midfield role.

Awarded man of the match for, presumably, exacting Ireland’s only shot on target, the Fulham full-back was one of four square pegs crammed into round holes against the Danes; Callum O’Dowda, Harry Arter and James McClean the others. Their number dwindled to three against Wales on Tuesday, but they still let their side down — thrown to the wolves by an incompetent manager long past his sell-by date. Continue reading

ANALYSIS: Wasteful Wolves let unthreatening United off the hook

Alan O’Brien 

José Mourinho has never lost back-to-back home league games as a professional football manager. But only some familiar Wolves profligacy kept that enviable record intact on Saturday afternoon. Continue reading