Well what a week that was in Irish international football.With the new management team of Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane in place the team took on Latvia and Poland.I have had a look at everything surrounding the two games and hope to lay out my views over the next couple of paragraphs.
First up was the opener against Latvia last Friday in Dublin.I was one of over 30,000 to travel to the Aviva, to what everyone was hoping to be a new era in Irish soccer.Prior to the game O’Neill talked up a great game and his plans for the future.A lot of us were of the opinion that although O’Neill talked a great game,how were we going to fair with the same players that Trap had left behind.To our absolute surprise,Ireland on the night were extremely good and different.Different in what way I here you ask.Well although the squad were only together a few days prior to the match,Martin had imposed a new style of football on the Irish fans.His team were set out to play a passing game,something that had not been seen at the Aviva for quite a few years.It was easy on the eye and a joy to watch and all the fans who were sitting in my vicinity in the ground were very happy.So by changing a style of play O’Neill had got the fans onside and we all know you needs the fans behind you to go forward.Goals from Robbie Keane ,Aidan McGeady and Shane Long sealed a well-earned victory for the Irish and a new era had begun well.I must also say that Aidan McGeady was superb on the night and under O’Neill maybe can find the superb form he once had.
Next up on the agenda was the Poles in Poznan on Tuesday night.In between games O’Neill was very positive about the future and liked the atmosphere he was building within in the squad.It was going to be interesting to see what way Martin would set up his team in Poland.Well not a lot changed from the previous game and yes he was doing that passing game thing again.It is like a breath of fresh air to see the team get the ball down and play it around,trying to control a game by keeping the ball moving to an Irish shirt.As you all know by now the game ended scoreless,and I for one would have been happy with that result before kick off.
Now just so we do not lose the run of ourselves, let me bring things back down to earth.Over many a year I have been to see International soccer matches and I have to say Latvia were possibly the worst side I have ever seen.They offered nothing at all,and just came to men behind the ball and hope to keep the score down.So a victory although good,we must remember the standard of the opposition.Poland I thought would have been a much tougher test.How wrong I was to be.The Poles are going through a tough time at present and in fairness if the Irish had have gone for it a bit more they could have won.But look hey,two games no defeats,this chappy is happy.
There is one other issue I would like to touch on before I finish.Over the two games McGeady was superb,really played very well.A lot of the media were reporting how O’Neills magic had got him playing again.I myself have another view on this totally.Rumors abound that Aidan wants out of Russia,and the transfer window opens soon,so the cynic in me is wondering if he was using these games has his shop window.All will be answered in the next match I presume.