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Interesting insight as always Rock, however you didn’t seem to take into account the possibility of playing both carr and finnan on the right. finnan has played right wing for liverpool on many ocassions and hasn’t equipped himself too badly and this pairing will also nullify the big threat from lahm and a.n. other on the left. just a suggestion, although mcgeady has been in good form apparently. it’d be a negative move by stan to go for finnan and carr, as you said our midfield isn’t the most creative so we’d need a mcgeady to create something for us, however i can see stan going for carr and finnan. it’s our first game in the comp, against a very good side so consolidation and a point away from home should be the goal, no ?

Yeah I see the point. To be honest I’m just praying he is brave enough to go for it. I’m not sure Carr deserves to be in the team ahead of McGeady on any grounds. Finnan would be my first choice right back but with no Harte I assume he has to play left back. Don’t see Kilbane or O’Shea starting there.

I don’t think he’ll play McGeady which is a shame because he’s the form Irish player this season. I feel he’ll believe we’d be too ‘open’ away from home with 2 wingers and he’s not going to drop Duff. That’s assuming we play 2 up front of course. McGeady might have a chance if we go 4-5-1 or 4-4-1-1 but at the moment I expect either Finnan to play ahead of Carr or if Finnan plays left back then someone like Kilbane will probably come in with Duff moving to the right.

I don’t think we’re good enough to nullify and stifle the Germans tbh. They’re very good going forward and if we invite pressure they will eventually (or sooner) score. Accordingly, imo, attack is the best form of defence. As has been cited already our midfield ain’t too hectic creativity wise and so for me McGeady has to play. Apparently he’s been excellent for Celtic and I though he acquitted himself well against the Dutch. Don’t think Carr should automatically be back in the team but chances are he will be. Perhaps we need all the experience we can get back there so not a terrible idea to play him - I just don’t really like him or the way he left. I’d give the 2nd midfield spot to Kavanagh ahead of O’Shea. Think he’ll give us that extra bit of bite. O’Shea doesn’t exactly relish a tackle. Don’t think there’s any room for sentimentality in football either so Clint stand down. Doyler is clearly the form player, although I have yet to be impressed with him at this level. Given our lack of creativity I think it’s mad that Andy Reid’s not in the squad. Very poor decision by Stan.

Carr Dunne O’Brien Finnan
McGeady Kavanagh S.Reid Duff

Overall preview of our group now up on the main site.

Christ Bandage you figured it out!

Life in general or how to put up an article?

I’ve a few things I want to get off my chest. And anyone who disagrees with me can fook right off. Fair enough Staunton was on rocky ground coming into tonight after the shambles against the Dutch, I may be absolutely hammered (have gone back thru this post and checked all the spelling) but what’s this criticism tonight all about?

A fooking great performance from start to finish. Would have liked to see McGeady start but as I said to rock his best chance of a start was in a 451. It would have been suicide to play really open with two out and out wingers against them away from home. Once it was decided we were playing 2 up, we had to have a bit of dig in midfield and Duff was hardly gonna get dropped so that meant the young genius on the bench, fair enough.

Then we saw Dunphy try to justify the pathetic article he wrote after the Dutch game when he called for Stan’s head. Even before the game he slaughtered the team and the manager, especially Stevie Carr, our best fooking player tonight.

And at the end he had the absolute cheek to criticise the manager’s knowledge of the game. Fook off you stupid coooont. Go back and write for the Sunday Independent and play for Millwall you absolute fooking failure. Don’t look at the evidence, don’t admit you were wrong, but twist the evidence and convince all the fooking no marks who texted me after the game that you’re right. You are in your hole, you prick.

Beaten by a wicked deflection away to Germany, yes away to Germany, the team who could have won the World Cup. Sure they had a few chances, of course they had a few fookin chances but how dare you be so biased, bitter and such a downright cooooont to slaughter Staunton. What’s all this about taking off Duff, our best player? It’s fooking fashionable to say he’s our best player, when has he ever influenced a competitive Ireland game? I’m fooking waiting for an answer…he scored a deflection against Russia at home 2 years ago, other than that he’s done nothing, nothing at all in an Ireland shirt. Duff the saviour my bollix.

And as for kicking the bottle, well fook it I’m glad to see our manager show some fooking passion, it makes a change from the coooont we had before. And that prick Dunphy saying he let the team down, well take a look and you’ll see him telling Pat Devlin and the McDonald guy the subs he wanted to bring on before he was fooked off to the tunnel.

That was a smashing performance. Organised, committed, competitive and disciplined. Everything you want away from home. All we lacked was a little bit of luck. Dunphy, Giles and co can fook off and so can the cooonts who jumped on their bandwagon. Pricks. Self serving pricks.

You spelt coooooooonts and bollix wrong.

On a more serious note, I don’t really agree with you Bandage. That was not a great performance. It was spirited and committed but we created jackshit against a makeshift defence. Is that the best we can hope for? We were lucky not to lose by more.

I too was disappointed that McGeady didn’t play and find it difficult to understand why Kilbane gets the nod. All the heart in the world doesn’t make up for an extreme lack of talent. We need players to come through and the only way that’s going to happen is by blooding them. Now’s the time to do it too as realistically we won’t qualify for the Euros. We should be looking towards WC’10. That was a Brian Kerr style performance and indeed team, which makes it all the more surprising that you’re so delighted with it.

Alcohol is a great leveller Bandage, and I reckon the Germans must’ve had as much as you before the game coz how they didn’t get 4 or 5 goals I’ll never now. Granted Given is one the best keepers in the world but still, some of the Irish play was shocking.

They couldn’t be faulted for effort though, which at the very least is admirable. Bar Robbie Keane that is, I find that lad unbearable. Waving his fookin arms around like a fooker that hasn’t a fookin clue what he’s at. His initials may be R Keane and he may be captain but thats where the similarities end.

This Irish team just doesn’t have the wealth of talent we’ve been used to since the Charlton era. They can’t be blamed for that and neither can Stan, but the young lads we have need to be persisted with. Doyle has a future, as does McGeady. Euro 08 may be too soon but WC10 as CC says should be the long term plan.

Agree re Duff alright, he’s a bit of a Steve McManaman(Spelling wrong??) threatens way more than he ever delivers. Seems to need the whole fookin game built around him to make him be of use but that aint gonna happen against Germany and the like.

Agree re Dunphy too. An attention seeking, media hungry wank stain. A real low life, making outrageous comments to maintain his notoriety and sell papers. Bull shit merchant, must say I respect Giles though. I sometimes disagree with his analysis but by and large he has a reasoned and logical outlook on the game. Not attention seeking and seems the consumate professional.

The days of hailing a one nil defeat as a great performance should be a thing of the past, so even allowing for the the beer goggles this was a poor if commited and gutsy display by Ireland.

I wouldn’t classify that as a Brian Kerr performance as we went out and attacked them from the start. They wore us down and got on top after about 25 minutes because they have better players than us. Simple as. Dunphy,as he was slaughtering Staunton, said ‘it’s not Brazil we were playing.’ For once he was right - Germany are a good bit better than them. We’re playing them on their own patch, on the back of a superb World Cup and people seem to expect that we’ll go over there and boss them around???

Of course we were going to be on the back foot for large chunks of the game. I agreed with the decision to play Kilbane. The only bone of contention in Staunton’s selection imo was the decision of whether to start McGeady or not. I was firmly of the opinion that to play an open, attacking, 442 with 2 wingers in Germany was asking for a pummelling. The likes of Ballack, Schweinsteiger and the front would have murdered us given that space - again imo.

Instead they had that five minute spell where Given made the world class save from Klose’s header and the second one (which I would have expected him to save). In the second half they didn’t create much. Klose flashed a header off the bar that came from nothing and had an early shot from a tight angle smothered by Given (again a save you’d expect a keeper as competent as Given to make). All this talk that it could have been 4 or 5 is totally wide of the mark imo. The keeper is there to make saves and that’s what he did. And he did it well. And the goal was pure poxy, jammy scheidt and it was never a free kick either but that’s another story.

I don’t think we should be using the Euro 2008 qualifiers as a blooding ground for WC 2010 either. We should aim to qualify for every tournament and pick the best team for each game accordingly. I agreed with the team selection last night and again, I’d question Dunphy’s motives when he laid into the selection before the game. Self serving and almost hoping we’d get beaten so he could play the ‘I told you so card.’

Re Kilbane I will not criticise that guy. Fook, he’s a trier. Not blessed with natural ability I give you but he’s maximising his career and winning a lot of caps. Rather than the McGeady situation Ireland’s main problem imo is not having a midfield player like a Xavi, Pirlo, or a Kevin Thomson in the centre who can control the game with short crisp passes, retain possession, set the tempo and take the sting out of the game. Neither Kilbane or O’Shea or Reid for that matter have than ability and that’s not a reflection on the manager - it’s just the hand we’ve been dealt. Liam Miller is probably the nearest we have to a playmaker and when you consider that then it is a worry. That’s why we turned over the ball too easily at times.

Far more positives than negatives though imo. Again, remember the quality of the opposition we were facing. We were committed, organised (as opposed to ‘shambolic’ as Dunphy stated) and tried our absolute utmost. We didn’t get the result but there’s definitely a lot to build on.

Apparently Schweinsteiger translates as “Pig Climber”. Poor bastard.

This talk of looking towards 2010 and using 2008 as a foundation really grates me. Whilst I wasn’t overly impressed with our display on Saturday I firmly believe we are capable of coming out if this group, there is f**k all between ourselves, the Czechs, the Slovaks and the Welsh. I think most people are overestimating the Czechs, looked at their starting line-up for one of the WC games and they had 4 players over 33, I think they are in a situation like ourselves 10 years ago. Study constraints meant I didn’t get a chance to have a look at them for more than a few minutes against the Welsh but they only came through that thanks to two dodgy goals, their clash with the Slovaks will be interesting on Wednesday as it should give us an indication of the Slovaks strength. Czech game on October 11th is a massive game for us, second last game in Lansdowne, last big game in Lansdowne, if we win that we’re in the driving seat. A big ask considering our last meaningful win was 5 years ago but I think we are capable.

I agree with that. As I said in that group preview our next six games taking us up to March are Cyprus (a), Czechs (h), San Marino (twice), Wales (h) and Slovakia (h). Capable of beating all of these teams.

Obviously a bit delayed in my response here but I’ve been internetless for a week - your county is pretty backward WoW!

Anyway don’t really agree with most of what Bandage has written. We had passion and commitment. That is the minimum I would expect of any team playing their biggest match of the group in front of a huge crowd against the group favourites under a new boss early in the season. It had all the ingredients for a passionate and hungry performance and by and large we delivered on that.

I think there were far too many negatives though. Again we relied on Given an awful lot. We started playing deep which is where their goal came from - not sure what O’Brien was doing with the actual foul but we had no need to be on the edge of our box at that stage. Klose’s chance which Given saved with his feet was from us defending the penatly spot as well. It was obvious they would struggle to get Podolski or Klose in behind so it was criminal to invite them onto us.

Whatever about defensively - and it was inevitable they would create chances I suppose - we were inept going forward. Not sure what the instructions to Reid were but he played far too narrow in attack and defence. I’m having serious reservations about this guy. There was one point in the second half when he picked the ball up on the right hand side and Duff was in acres on the left. Reid saw him and thought about playing the pass - a simple cross field ball with nobody in the way, but chickened out of it. Instead he decided to try and dribble the ball over to Duff and promptly lost if half way there and gave away a free. Shocking lack of composure and ambition.

Front two had a bit of a thankless task because we couldn’t hold onto the ball in the middle. O’Shea’s passing was dreadful, as highlighted in the sequence at the end of the game where he got a short throw-in and panicked and hoooked it forward to nobody. Kilbane is a decent lad but he can’t play in the middle because he loses the ball too often. Especially not alongside O’Shea because neither of them can keep possession.

What was obvious from the start was that we were going to create chances from crosses because they were weak in the air. That was why it was imperative that Reid stayed wide to get quality balls in, or at least to stretch their back 4 out a bit. Either he disobeyed all instructions, or Staunton didn’t see it. Either way I found it extremely worrying and disappointing.

Finally special mention to Ewan McKenna (I think that’s his name) in the Sunday Tribune who jumped on the Ray Houghton bandwagon and blamed Robbie Keane for the goal. Say what you like about the lad (and he wasn’t great last weekend) but he could do nothing about that. Houghton said he turned his back which wasn’t true at all. Pricks. Oh and just to hammer home the point the Tribuner lad gave Man of the Match to Duff. Gobshite.

Passion and commitment was missing from the Brian Kerr era. What we had for the last couple of years was apathy so in that sense I was satisfied with the attitude of the players.

The problem for us is obvious; we don’t have a central midfielder to control the game. It’s too easy to blame Robbie Keane who, for some astonishing reason, it has become fashionable to slate.

The best article on our situation I’ve read was by Malachy Clerkin in the Tribune today. I’ve gone to the trouble to copy and paste:

Given the lack of quality at Steve Staunton’s disposal, the prospects for the future are bleak

'DIDN’T take long now, did it? At one stage in the build-up to last Saturday, Steve Staunton was asked if he thought that public expectation had been lowered by the 4-0 defeat at home to Holland a fortnight previously. "Well, I have no control over what you lot write, " came the answer.

And with it, a thousand little parts of a roomful of football writers died.

It’s not that we media types didn’t expect to be blamed for the low ebb at which the national side finds itself at some stage, it’s just that we thought maybe we’d be given a little more time. Where’s the love, Stan? Does the term ‘honeymoon period’ mean nothing anymore? Is there no leeway, no wiggle room? It’s only been four games, after all, and this is a team in transition.

Oh, go on then. It’s okay.

This is the dance we dance. In the life of any Ireland manager, it will occasionally balm a sore to take a swipe at the press and if it makes him feel better in himself to do so, then hey, whatever. But just so we’re clear, no 4-0 defeat was ever made worse by what the newspapers, television or radio had to say about it and the idea that public expectation hinges more on a banner headline than the team’s inability to execute the offside trap is as silly as it is disingenuous.

In fact, there’s probably even an irony to be found in the fact that the most savage attack after the Holland game . . . The Star’s ‘Staunton Must Go’ headline . . . served to, if anything, strengthen the manager’s position. He was never going to depart after just three games and certainly not at a newspaper’s urging.

All the same, the expectation question Staunton swerved is worth exploring.

If the rumblings of discontent which followed what was an undeniably improved performance in Stuttgart are an indication, there is . . . and not for the first time . . . a real danger of folk getting carried away with notions of Ireland’s place in the general scheme of things.

By pretty much any standard, last Saturday was a creditable result for Staunton.

Consider a putative tale of the tape. Germany came third in a high-class World Cup; Ireland didn’t make the play-offs in qualification. Germany’s 20 defeat to Italy in that glorious semi-final extra-time was their first at home since England beat them 5-1 in 2001; Ireland have only beaten Cyprus, Georgia and the Faroe Islands on their respective own patches in that time.

Eight of the 13 players Germany fielded last Saturday will be playing in Champions League in the coming week; Ireland will see three out of their 14 in action.

In that context, to expect anything better than a narrow defeat was surely to cross the line between optimistic and unrealistic. To then excoriate them for coming home beaten seems needless and unfair.

A wholesale resetting of the dials is required when we talk about this Irish team. It’s a team, after all, in which its best player is its goalkeeper . . .

an indictment in itself. A team in which its two most celebrated attacking threats are frequently marginalised because a well-drilled opposition can simply keep the ball away from them for long periods, causing them to more often than not move into less threatening areas of the pitch just to gain possession. A team with no definite idea who either of its central midfielders will be from game to game. A team, indeed, which started last Saturday’s game with two mismatched players in that sector, neither of whom was in his natural position. And a team, above all, with a manager not just new to the post but to the career.

The debate over whether or not Staunton is the right man for the job is wholly irrelevant just now. While it’s true that he’s neither the most eloquent defender of his actions nor the most whizz-bang retainer of facts, it’s also true that there’s no prospect of him either jumping or being pushed before the end of this campaign, however clouded the picture becomes. Calling for his head at this point is like agitating for a taoiseach’s removal shortly after his first cabinet is announced.

And anyway, his stock must rise at least a little after last Saturday. The listlessness that so weighed down the performances against Chile and Holland was replaced by purpose and energy across the pitch in Stuttgart. Germany built their World Cup campaign on early goals but Staunton’s side took the play to them from the off last week and led the corner count 4-1 after 20 minutes.

You had to go back almost two full years to alight upon the last time an Irish side played with the sort of resolution and doggedness they showed in that first half, back to the scoreless draw in Paris in October 2004.

These may sound like laughably small mercies for which to be offering up thanks but to anyone who remembers the apathy of the performances against Cyprus and France at the end of the last campaign, they represent a start at least.

And just as being in the job means Staunton must take the heat for the Holland game, it also means deserving the credit for an improved display like last Saturday’s.

So, for one match at least, we can take heart in the size of the fight in the dog again.

Staunton’s next task will be less straightforward, involving as it does the introduction of gameplans and tactics and all those things they teach you on coaching courses. For all the renewed vigour last week, there was precious little sign of anything that would scare the horses of a retreating opposition defence.

For all Kevin Doyle’s willingness to run and chase, he and Robbie Keane looked at times like the result of a malfunctioning dating agency computer programme, a problem laid bare by the fact that Ireland’s best chance was Richard Dunne’s last-minute header from a corner. But the blank scoresheet was just the most obvious symptom of the illness at the heart of the midfield. Kevin Kilbane and John O’Shea offer minimal attacking threat in there beyond the odd gallop forward by the former and in truth, their major contribution can only be containment. Until and unless a central midfielder with a vision and a pass is found and inserted, Ireland won’t get Keane or Doyle or Damien Duff into the game enough.

Staunton must have every finger and toe crossed that Stephen Ireland raises his hand sometime soon.

But, again, this is what we’re left with. Hoping against hope that a 20-year-old kid who’s never played a competitive international turns out to be a contender because we know that those more experienced than him in the squad never will be. It should be enough to keep a lid on expectations, regardless of what anyone writes.’

Good interview with Lee Carsley in the Times too, wants to come back and had some good quotes in it. Not registered with them to post it though.

Was there myself too for the week.

Internet is banned to stop foreign influences from Cork and the like pervading idyllic Kerrylife

Clerkin is wrong to assume that the articles and head lines written by his kind have no effect on public opinion. Many people form their opinoin by what the read in the news papers and hear on tv, maybe the freekickers excepted as clearly they are well capable of forming their own opinions. But the masses are often led so Staunton wasn’t too far off the mark to point the finger.

Robbie is getting hardship right now because rightly or wrongly, he is perceived as lazy and a bit of a showman. But no substance. I agree with that for now, himself and Duff have flattered to deceive for Ireland lately so naturally the grief will follow. Duffer looks busier so he excapes alot of the time. Houghton was wrong to nail him for the goal though, he didn’t turn his back and had the ball hit in probaly an inch either way or missed him completely it’d have been wide or saved.