Martin O'Neill lands calculated Stephen Kenny blow in post-match discussion 2 months ago

Martin O'Neill lands calculated Stephen Kenny blow in post-match discussion

A glancing blow, this.

Martin O'Neill often railed against what he perceived as negative coverage from the media when he was Ireland boss, so he tries hard to give reasoned takes when he is on punditry duty for games involving his old team.

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Still, the odd smart observation is never too far from O'Neill's lips.

There was the famous moment, at the 2014 World Cup, when he gave Patrick Vieira and Fabio Cannavaro a reminder of his footballing chops.

"Despite the fact there's two World Cup winners here," he remarked, "actually, when it comes to the Champions League - it used to be the European Cup - I've won two, I'd just like to know how many you two have won?"

The former Nottingham Forest and Northern Ireland midfielder was on the Premier Sports punditry panel, on Saturday, for Ireland's Nations League date with Scotland, at Hampden Park.

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Ahead of the game, O'Neill spoke of how Ireland played "exceptionally well" in their summer win against the Scots, in Dublin, but added, "One might say it was about time, but they humiliated Scotland."

Ireland looked on course to double down on that feat when they led their hosts 1-0 at half-time, but goals from Jack Hendry and Ryan Christie saw Steve Clarke's men win 2-1.

Following the game, Stephen Kenny tried to focus on the positives and, when Ireland's good form in 'the last few games' was mentioned, he bristled. Kenny spoke of how he had blooded 16 new players in the last 18 months, while only losing 'three of our last 16 games' [not including the defeat top Scotland].

Martin O'Neill was listening to the Kenny interview, and had some choice words for the Dubliner. He said:

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"In the last couple of games, Ireland have played very well. Stephen sometimes has a bit of selective memory.

"He does lose a couple of games and then goes back to some matches that he got a [good] result in."

Martin O'Neill added that he felt Ireland had made a big, recent improvement under Stephen Kenny and pointed out how his old team were paying with some confidence in possession and with fast players up front, testing defences.

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As for Kenny, he again fell back on 'fine margins' between victory and defeat, in his post-game analysis, and he contested the "harsh" awarding of the late penalty that Ryan Christie tucked home for the Scottish winner.

Ireland are next up against Armenia on Tuesday and will need a draw or win to avoid Nations League relegation.


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