Taking Meyler off was a major mistake as it weakened Ireland's midfield

Taking Meyler off was a major mistake as it weakened Ireland's midfield

Substituting defensive midfielder David Meyler in the play-off against Denmark left a yawning gap in midfield. Picture: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

THE postmortems will continue over the weekend but the sad fact is that we face a long winter of discontent having failed to make the World Cup finals in Russia.

And to compound the disappointment and heartbreak of that 5-1 trashing by Denmark, it was a self-inflicted defeat in so many ways.

For veterans like John O’Shea, Glenn Whelan, Daryl Murphy, Jonathan Walters and Wes Hoolahan Tuesday’s play-off reverse will probably bring about their retirement from international football, and as a consequence of that, it means a rebuilding project for the management team of Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane.

We will have no competitive action for ten months or so and that’s a huge loss of revenue, estimated at £10m, for the FAI with the draw for the 2020 European Championships not due to happen until December, 2018 – over a year away.

The draw for the World Cup finals goes ahead in the Kremlin in Moscow on Friday, December 1 but sadly we won’t be there along with Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Norway, Austria, Holland, Italy and Ukraine and all those nations now become potential opposition for a few friendly fixtures to come in the New Year.

Denmark’s 5-1 victory in Dublin was our biggest loss in O’Neill’s reign and ranks up there with a 6-1 humiliation against Germany under Giovanni Trapattoni.

Tuesday’s result was met with shock and disappointment because in the words of Kevin Moran we were “destroyed” by Denmark and our tactics were all wrong.

Why on earth would we give the one world class player on the pitch, Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen the freedom of the Aviva and he had so much space and room that he helped himself to a hat-trick!

Basic errors cost us goals at crucial stages and it all ended in disaster for the ‘Boys in Green’.

The dazzling Danes certainly took advantage of all the space afforded them and despite taking an early lead with Shane Duffy’s goal, we caved in under Danish pressure.

Eriksen ruled the roost, the Danes ran amok in the second half after we hooked out our two defensive midfielders and it was a damaging result for us.

Okay if Seamus Coleman, James McCarthy and Jon Walters had been fit, they would all have started, but on reflection our hone form was poor and proved to be our downfall.

Our biggest problem these days is the lack of genuine quality players. This week we had players with clubs like Middlesbrough, Hull City, Brighton, Newcastle United, Nottingham Forest and Norwich City up against Danish players who play with Seville, Werder Bremen, FC Copenhagen, Celta Vigo, Feynoord, Leicester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea ... enough said!

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