The Honeymoon is over for O’Neill

Republic of ireland team


Well the bedding in process for Martin O’Neill came to earth with a big bang last Wednesday night.I took myself over to the Aviva stadium to see how things were settling down and hopefully to cheer on an Irish win.What I was to witness was both a surprise and disappointment at the same time if you get my meaning.Let me below guide you through the events of the night and give my verdict on what needs to be done to help us progress to France 2016.

Ireland started off at a great pace and should have been one up from a Wes  Hoolahan strike after five minutes but it was ruled out by a poor offside decision by the assistant referee.Wes was clearly onside when he touched home a shot from Glenn Whelan,but these decisions sometimes happen in football so enough about that.Ireland did however take the lead not long afterwards when Shane Long took advantage of some poor defending to nip in and lob the Serbian keeper to put the boys in green one up.Long should have added to his goal just before half time when he was put through by a superb Hoolahan ball only to fluff his shot.He tried again to lob the keeper but would have been well advised to try and take the keeper on and maybe go around him and slot home.Poor miss but at least the Irish were creating chances.So as half time approached I was well impressed and was sitting relaxed in my seat with surely more chances to come in the second half.

As the players took the field for the second half I was feeling pretty confident of an Irish win as were the fans sitting around me.What we were about to witness was like a different game about to develop in front our eyes.I can only imagine that Serbian manager Ljubinko Drulovic must have roasted his players at half time.The Serbs came out for the second half a different team and started to knock the ball around comfortably.One player who started to pull the strings was Benfica’s Lazar Markovic.This guy was to impress throughout the second half and if I am honest he is the best player I have seen play in Dublin in many a long day.Quite a privilege to watch a master pulling the strings in midfield.Within ten minutes of the second half starting,the Serbs equalised through ¬†a James McCarthy own goal.No real blame on the Irishman he was just not able to clear off the line from a Kolarov shot.Ireland had another chance to score on 64 minutes,when Shane Long found himself clean through again and he tried to chip the keeper,but is effort was so poor it trickled wide.Another chance gone and by this stage Serbia were playing us off the park.The boys in green were we been ran ragged and surely a second Serbian goal was not far away.Bang on 68 minutes Dordevic grabbed the away,s side second goal and you could hear a pin drop as the Martin O’Neill balloon was starting to deflate.Neither side created much in the remaining twenty minutes but this was now Martin O’Neill,s first defeat as Irish manager.

You can’t win every game as a manager but I do feel that Martin will be very worried about how we played second half.The Serbians passed around us,through us,over us,and when they finished doing that they did it again.Ireland had no answers and if this Serbian team had wanted to turn the screw more I am sure they could have found another gear.O’Neill in is press conference afterwards was pretty upbeat and looking forward to moving on.I myself do feel that unless they can get a real ball winner in midfield,the road to France 2016 could be a long painful one.We need if I am to be totally honest a Roy Keane figure and those type of players don’t grow on trees.

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