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Predictable lack of pride - Ireland v Slovakia at the Aviva stadium

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Ireland line out against Slovakia
A psychic medium by the name of Fiona Fairy was on the well known and well-loved LMFM radio station down our way on Friday when she was asked to predict the outcome in Ireland’s match with Slovakia that night.

Fiona, to be fair to her, insisted that she doesn’t like predicting the results in sports events but, being a good sport herself, she went ahead and did it anyway.

“The indications are very strong that it will be a draw,” Fiona told the LMFM family on a day when Ireland expected and needed a massive performance and a huge win from our football heroes.

Alas, Fiona was right. Ireland didn’t score and two efforts from Robbie Keane and Richard Dunne aside, they never looked like scoring at the Aviva on Friday evening.

Slovakia didn’t score either but should have done and would have been well worth the victory if they had taken all three points home from Dublin.

As I write, on Tuesday morning Irish time, we are awaiting news from the Russian front and Ireland’s now utterly vital Euro 2012 game with the home team in Moscow.

I’m no psychic medium like Fiona -- some could suggest I’m more of a psycho extra-large -- but I will make one prediction here, loosely based on the result of a game yet to be played between Ireland and Russia.

If Ireland don’t make the playoffs, about all we can hope for now in this Euro 2012 adventure, then Giovanni Trapattoni will be looking for a new job by Christmas.

There has been much talk in the papers again this weekend that Trap will be offered a new contract by the FAI, with a reduction in his near $2.5 million a year contract, but I don’t buy into the “sign him up now” theory.

Ireland were abysmal against Slovakia last Friday. They were devoid of imagination, devoid of inspiration and, for some parts of the game, devoid of perspiration.

We needed a Ciaran Fitzgerald “where’s your offing pride” performance and we got a Michael Flatley -- all steps and no penetration.

I don’t care about his reputation. I don’t care that I like him as a man. Unless Trap gives us some hope of Euro qualification in the next five weeks, he should be out the door.

And you call that a prediction if you want to!

Sideline Views

GOLF: There’s a gang of us who golf regularly who now refer to a Padraig round in honor of the great Padraig Harrington. When he missed the cut at the recent Irish Open in Killarney, Padraig said he was “playing well but not scoring.” That’s a feeling so well known to your everyday golfer that we are now using it ourselves and referring to it as a Padraig round. The great man had another couple of those rounds at the latest FedEx event this week but, unlike the rest of us, he will play well and score again in the future. You can bet on that.

HURLING:
When Tommy Walsh swung his hurl in the general direction of a first half melee on Sunday, little did the Kilkenny defender think he would hit referee Brian Gavin clean on the nose. Walsh would have been sent off if he had connected with a Tipp player, but Gavin is made of stern stuff and played on as they say, despite the really nasty gash. “Bar I broke a leg, I was going to finish it,” said Gavin afterwards. Well done that man.

SOCCER:
Good luck to Roy Keane if he takes up the job as manager of Iceland -- he’s going to need it. Keane will quickly discover that an international manager can only work with the players available to him. There’s no transfer market and the boss has to look after the best interests of all his players, not just the best one. If he needs any advice on the subject, Roy can always ring Mick McCarthy.

GAA: Diarmuid Connolly is free to play for Dublin in Sunday’s All-Ireland football final after all thanks to a decision to overturn his red card in the semifinal win over Donegal. It’s probably the right decision as it happens, and the decider against Kerry on Sunday the 17th will be the better for Connolly’s presence on the field. Natural justice I think they call it in sport these days.

SOCCER: Celtic are back in the Europa League group stages, but don’t let that fool anyone. They are only there because Sion broke a transfer embargo and not because of anything they did on the field against the Swiss clubs.  Neil Lennon has a big job on his hands at Parkhead as talk gathers of a return for Martin O’Neill to the club.

HERO OF THE WEEK


JJ Delaney got the official RTE Man of the Match award and Tommy Walsh should have got, it but the real hero of Kilkenny’s sweet, sweet All-Ireland hurling final win on Sunday wasn’t even on the pitch. When the Cats lost the “drive for five” final to Tipp last year, coach Brian Cody had a major job on his hands. Not alone did he convince his Kilkenny players they could win the All-Ireland again, he proved it on Sunday. Real leaders win things.  Brian Cody is a real leader.
 
IDIOTS OF THE WEEK


THERE were almost 1,000 empty seats at the All-Ireland hurling final last Sunday, and over 10,000 empty seats at Ireland’s vital Euro 2012 qualifier against Slovakia last Friday. Mainline seats for both games cost well over $100 each. The GAA and the FAI are bonkers if they think the ordinary man in the street in recession hit Ireland can afford those prices.

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