Like every other eager, excited Irish man I watched the last two crucial qualifiers against Sweden and Austria with hope. These games were the pinnacle of Ireland’s qualifications chances, 6 points were needed, 4 was the minimum… but what followed will leave long in my mind.
After a 0-0 draw with the Swedes (a game where Sweden played poorly and Ireland should have done more to capitalize on) it came down to the Aviva this Tuesday night, pitting Ireland vs Austria, nothing but goal difference separated the two and it was sure to be a tough encounter.
Nobody, and I mean nobody could believe Connor Sammon starts for Ireland against Austria in a must win game, a Wigan reject who has nor the skills nor likeability to get the juices flowing for any fan. Seeing players like Hoolahan, Doyle and Brady on the bench in a home game was paint staking, especially knowing the lack of qualities Sammon brought to the side.
I’m not going to discuss the match, the last minute equalizer by the Austrians or how terrible Connor Sammon is. Instead, I’m going to discuss the manager, “Trap”.
This old man has done it all in the game, that is not in doubt. What is in doubt is his current frame of mind. Against Austria he got it tactically wrong, completely. He played a slow, muscular striker against a defence that struggled with Shane Long- Ireland’s quick, zippy striker.
In the second half, and whilst holding a two goal precious lead he takes off the dangerous Long for Paul Green, and let’s face it, who cares about Paul green? He is not going to retain the ball, and feed the channels, especially as a right winger!
The mind boggles at such thinking from a once great manager. Ireland were not out of options, Wes Hoolahan – a Premier League standard midfielder who possesses enough technical football skills to maintain the ball in a pressured situation – sat there, and watched his country squander their chances at another World Cup qualifying campaign.
So there is one question that needs to be asked, should “Trap” go? I think yes, my compatriots think yes, what do you think?
Written by Kieron Ryan
Follow him on Twitter @AnIrishTrueBlue
Please like O-Posts on Facebook
You can follow O-Posts on Twitter @OPosts