A bit too Keane?

Published Wednesday, 06 November 2013
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Stale, predictable, not enough quality or excitement. Just some of the statements that have been used to describe the Republic of Ireland's footballing fortunes over the last few years.

I've a feeling over the next two years, the use of those words will be highly unlikely.

Gone is Giovanni Trapattoni, the Italian with the glittering CV and a corresponding financial deal from the FAI to back it up.

Now it's over to Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane.

The two will begin with what looks like an inviting friendly to get the feel-good factor for their reign up and running gainst Latvia on the 15th of next month - that's followed four days later by a meeting with Poland.

However, if some are hailing the start of a brave new dawn for the Republic, their opinion is being drowned out by many in the Republic who have a foreboding sense of doom.

Keane's temperament is notoriously volatile.

This is the same man who, don't forget, walked out on the Republic's 2002 World Cup Finals squad as captain after falling out with then manager Mick McCarthy.

Talk to some of the players who featured under the Corkman at Ipswich Town and Sunderland, and the testimonies do not make for pleasant reading.

Keane was sacked as Ipswich boss in January of 2011.

This is the same man who, only two weeks ago, hit out at Sir Alex Ferguson with criticism which went straight to the target following the release of his former Manchester United manager's second autobiography.

Some in the corridors of power at the FAI will undoubtedly be hoping O'Neill's is a calming role on his understudy.

I spoke to the Kilrea native earlier in the summer at a celebrity golf event, and he told me that he was definitely getting itchy feet over returning to football after his sacking in March as Sunderland manager.

However, O'Neill's had undoubted success as a manager - winning two League Cups with unfashionable Leicester City, a domestic treble in his first season as Celtic manager, and of course, guiding the Hoops to the 2003 UEFA Cup Final (which they lost to Jose Mourinho's Porto).

What will be classed as success for the duo in Dublin?

Well undoubtedly qualification for a major finals - the Republic have failed to qualify for the World Cup Finals since 2002.

Giovanni Trapattoni did lead them to Euro 2012's top table but they lost all their games in an admittedly very difficult group containing Spain, Italy and Croatia.

I have to confess to being in a minority of those who would see Trapattoni's time as a success of sorts.

There are those who'll criticize, he didn't organize the team properly, he stuck to the same players, game in, game out - if a player was out of the squad, it almost seemed like it was a case for the Italian of 'out of sight, out of mind.'

However getting them to Euro 2012 was no mean feat whatsoever - that I believe has been brought into starker detail given their abject failure from their latest qualifying series.

And when the draw takes place in Nice next February for the 2016 European Championship Finals, Keane and O'Neill will be hoping for a kinder draw than something along those lines.

If things go to plan, you can see the FAI's thinking - O'Neill the man-motivator with an infectious zeal and enthusiasm; if the players need to up their commitment and performance, then no one will tell them in straighter terms than the Corkman Keane.

However, there are many undoubtedly who see nothing but doom ahead.

One way or another, watching the Republic for the next two years, matches, press conferences and more, will be anything but boring.

© UTV News
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4 Comments
s magowan in belfast wrote (383 days ago):
Agree with Anthonia,Roy Keane was a great player and i'am sure he will make a great assistant manager.If i were living in the ROI i would be over the moon at Martin o neill and Roy Keane running things.Two great footballing brains.
anthonia stephen in Dundalk wrote (384 days ago):
I still don't know why Irish people would not put the past behind them and look forward to a bright future. Why focus on Roy Keane's exit from Saipan '02, why not focus on the reasons for the exit, what he said at the time was true, maybe the manner in which he said it was wrong. It is the hypocritical attitude of people towards players that have produced half baked players that we all call world class players over the years. I think many Irish people don't like Roy because he calls a spade a spade and does not join in celebrating mediocrity. Brilliant, committed, down to earth guy. Ireland need him to impart his knowledge of football to the young ones, a country with too much hatred don't grow.
s magowan in belfast wrote (384 days ago):
How many from the PUL community play or even support your inclusive ireland?.This article is more in keeping for those citizens of the ROI who follow their team.I wish both the manager and assistant manager good luck as they were both great players,but my allegiance lies with Michael O Neill and his fully inclusive NI team
John in Belfast wrote (386 days ago):
C'mon Ireland! Another sign of an ever growing fully inclusive Ireland team.
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Chris Brennan
Chris Brennan

Chris Brennan is a cross-platform sports journalist with UTV.

As well as featuring on UTV Live and contributing to u.tv, Chris can be heard regularly on U105, fronting the station's sports coverage.

Chris started his career part-time, whilst still at school, with the Down Recorder newspaper in Downpatrick and then began freelancing when at college and university.

It was at this stage that he moved into broadcasting and began freelancing for UTV in 2004.

Chris is a graduate of Queen's University Belfast, where he graduated in Modern History and Politics.

Apart from his huge appetite for all sport - but especially football - his other interests include history and travel.

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