Thursday, October 13, 2005


Thursday Thoughts: Kerr-less Ireland

I supported the decision by the FAI to give Brian Kerr the Ireland job. I felt he was the best candidate available. I also feel he has done a great job with the youth players in the Irish set-up. I think he has done the job of Ireland manager to the best of his ability and I think he is passionate in his dedication to the Irish team. I also think he should go.

Ireland's match last night against Switzerland proved to be a damp squib. A match that Ireland needed to win to guarantee at least a play-off and yet the performance was so...bland. So ordinary. So uninspiring. And ultimately, I think responsibility for that rests with the manager.

Permit me to look at three key areas in which I feel Kerr has been unsatisfactory:

Player selection - John Giles hit the nail on the head prior to the match when he said that a manager must know his best team and stick with it. Major changes were made to the Ireland team ahead of the game and that should not happen. I did support the idea of O'Shea in midfield but not just against the Swiss. The fact is, players in midfield for Ireland have been ordinary. Holland and Kavanagh for example and Kilbane in particular. How Kilbane gets in the team is a mystery to me. Bottom line is, some of these players just aren't good enough to make the first eleven. Kilbane must go. Stephen Carr can no longer be picked ahead of Steve Finnan. Stephen Reid must be given more of a chance and some young players must be blooded. Also on current form, Morrisson can no longer be a first-choice. Connolly deserves another chance as well along with Elliot and young Doyle.

Tactics - I think Kerr's tactics are too conservative and predictable. I was disgusted that in the dying minutes of the Swiss match, who comes on? Gary Doherty. A guy who is lucky to make the bench at Norwich and who plays as centre-half, coming on in a crucial World Cup qualifier and being looked on as a saviour. I mean, route one football was employed all evening and it failed. Why not instead, on the sixty-minute mark perhaps, bring on Elliot and take off someone like Carr thus making it 4-3-3? At least have another system to fall back on rather than just simply hoof it forward. Gary Doherty is a donkey and all he did when he came on was give away free kicks. It was ridiculous.

Style - Ireland under Kerr have been horrible to watch. As I said, Kerr is conservative which usually means Ireland play a very dour, negative game. We Irish fans want attacking football. We've seen too many Irish teams play defensive games, particularly under Charlton. We don't like it. We want entertainment. Can anyone think of a match under Kerr where we really went above and beyond ourselves and played the opposition off the park? I can't. Probably our best game was away to France. A 0-0 result. Says it all really.

Brian Kerr tried his best and no one can say otherwise but his best was simply not good enough. Yes we had our two best players missing but that doesn't justify the baffling player selection, the inept tactics or the dull lifeless displays.

I think we need a new manager. One who can get the most out of a group of players who are, let's face it, not top-notch by any means. We need to build for the future. We need a manager who can instil an attacking mentality into the side.

My ideal choice as manager would be David O'Leary but I can't see that happening. Martin O'Neill would be marvellous but I question if he would want to put himself through the inevitable hassle he would get from certain extremist unionist elements. Besides, he may be Malcolm Glazer's newest employee.

What are your own thoughts though? Should Kerr be given the boot? And if so, who would you want in to replace him?


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