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Football

08th Sep 2023

RTE panel ask the right question after Ireland lose to France

Lee Costello

“Where is this team going?”

RTE panel that includes Richie Sadlier, Didi Hamann and Shay Given, as the difficult, but right question, after Ireland lose to France.

Ireland were beaten 2-0 by last year’s World Cup finalists, and although nobody expected the Irish to pull off a victory here, Stephen Kenny is under serious pressure.

After a disappointing defeat to Greece it’s been widely reported that Kenny will need three points from the next to games, and with Holland waiting for them at the weekend, that doesn’t look likely.

Reviewing the match afterwards, Sadlier wasn’t afraid to ask the hard questions.

“Ogbene’s comments ‘we gave everything, we came up short, lets focus on the next one’, that’s a summary of the Stephen Kenny era.

“We seem to consistently come up short, but we say we will pick the positives and move on. Unfortunately it is happening too many times.

“Stephen will do what Stephen does. He will pick the positives from the performance in a game we didn’t get the result we were looking for. Tonight was a result we needed.

“He will talk about the effort, mention Ogbene’s chance, do the usual if onlys and ‘maybe we could have done a bit more’. He will praise the character and attitude of the players, and say there will be a full house on Sunday, and say three points against the Netherlands will change it all.

“It’s what he has said after every game. We have won one in four now, Stephen’s record in competitive games is that he wins one in five. It’s five wins in 25.

“We’re here to qualify for a tournament. We’re not here to praise players for working hard, we’re not here to praise the fact that we created a chance in a second half performance where the opposition created probably seven chances and completely dominated.

“France are a better team and we were always going to lose. The bigger picture that we need to start focusing on here is where is this team going? Where are we headed?

“Don’t fall into the trap of concentrating on the top two when we were outplayed and beaten by Greece. That doesn’t stack up.

Former German international Hamann, had a similar outlook on proceedings, and gave a very stark judgement on Ireland’s campaign.

“In all likelihood, on Sunday the qualifying campaign is over again. Of course we should leave judgement until Sunday, but this could be the third time running now that there are three games to go, and the campaign is over.

“If you look at other nations – is Ireland so much worse than those of a similar size, and similar pool of players?”

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