THEY don’t deserve another chance but it’s the play-offs, after the Republic of Ireland’s hopes of automatic qualification for 2020 European Championships were ended following their 1-1 draw with Denmark.
Ireland only lost one game in Group D but at the same time, only won three matches – twice against Gibraltar and once against Georgia. Irish supporters seemed happy with the team’s performance against the Danes but I for one cannot wait for Stephen Kenny to take charge and hopefully finally start to enjoy watching Irish international matches again.
I do hope the Boys in Green qualify for the European Championships but if they don’t, it won’t bother me too much because it means I don’t have to endure sitting down and watching a team play anti-football. Ireland did actually try and pass the ball against Denmark but it was too little too late.
Mick McCarthy’s side looked uncomfortable trying to keep the ball and eventually after four or five passes ended up hoofing it up the pitch. Ireland may still qualify for the European Championships but I believe now is the time to start focusing on the future and getting younger players into the squad.
Irish fans may not like it but the best thing for Irish football in the long-term would be to sacrifice qualification for upcoming major tournaments and give Kenny the time to re-invent the Irish national team and make them a side that plays attractive football.
What’s the point in continuously, playing unattractive football and hoping that you nick a goal in some fashion and inevitably failing?
The Football Association of Ireland need to make it clear to supporters that no matter what the results for at least the 2022 World Cup qualification campaign, that Ireland will take a new approach under Kenny and it may mean scarifying qualification to a major tournament.
I would love to see players like Troy Parrot and Sean Maguire start the play-off game but that’s not going to happen because McCarthy will be more concerned about looking good himself than what might benefit Ireland in the future.
The Ireland manager will be on the lookout for a new job after the qualification campaign ends – because I don’t envision Ireland qualifying – and playing players like James McClean is the safer option rather than taking a risk.
The FAI took a gamble by appointing McCarthy on a two-year contract and announcing Kenny would succeed the former Ipswich Town manager and it has not paid off.
Ireland are no better off now than they were when McCarthy took over from Martin O’Neill. I’m looking forward to when Kenny does eventually take charge and I can sit down and enjoy watching an Irish game.