Lilywhites manager Kenny shows Trap how it is done

Cian Carroll


Cian Carroll

Lilywhites manager Kenny shows Trap how it is done
Leaving the Aviva Stadium Friday night, dejected and disillusioned, I couldn’t shake that feeling of ‘I told you so’.

Leaving the Aviva Stadium Friday night, dejected and disillusioned, I couldn’t shake that feeling of ‘I told you so’.

Having expressed my worries in last week’s column about Trapattoni and his overwhelming need to revert to a 4-4-2 formation that just does not suit our best players, my worst fears were confirmed 24 hours before kick off as the Italian announced his starting 11; leaving out the gifted Wes Hoolahan to accommodate a two man strike force of Robbie Keane and Shane Long.

In doing so, we negated any advantage we may have had in playing those two forwards by providing them with little or no supply line.

James McClean is not an international standard winger. Calling him a one trick pony is an insult to four legged asses with a step-over, frankly. A player clearly still living off the hype of an adrenalin-fuelled first six months at Sunderland, I would suggest he’ll even struggle at Championship level with Wigan.

It’s endemic of football in this country that, at times, we’re so desperate for these young players to succeed that we hoodwink ourselves into believing they’re better than they actually are.

It becomes even more frustrating when you have a genuinely talented, Premier League standard player in Wes Hoolahan left kicking his heels on the bench as Trapattoni continues trying to jab square pegs into round holes.

The legendary Bill Shankly once said that football is a simple game complicated by idiots and, while harsh, couldn’t more aptly describe the situation at hand right now.

Any hope of qualifying for Brazil 2014 has all but gone now barring some kind of miracle on the scale of the loaves and fishes.

While it’s still mathematically possible, having to go and beat a decent Austrian side in Vienna and a killing machine of a German side in Cologne is as unlikely as it gets.

I feel it’s only right the FAI finally look at putting the Italian out of his misery and find a progressive, modern thinking coach who can drive this young side forward.

If Giovanni Trapattoni was the ailment, Stephen Kenny is the cure. Dundalk versus Drogheda United on Sunday evening was the biggest game in Oriel Park for many a year.

Nearly 3,500 people crammed into the old ground with expectation at fever pitch and yet, the home side started poorly. Ironically, Kenny - just like Trap - had gone 4-4-2 against Drogheda’s more stubborn 4-5-1 and were struggling to break the visitors down.

Unlike the dawdling Italian - who waited until the 68th minute to make any sort of tactical change - Kenny ruthlessly hooked local boy, Tiarnan Mulvenna after just 37 minutes and replaced him with an extra midfielder in John Dillon, going like for like with their Louth rivals in a switch that gave Dundalk a much needed foothold in the game.

In a tight, tentative, intense derby, Kenny’s men grabbed a late, late winner that sent Oriel Park into raptures and gave football fans in Dundalk something that one of the most historically successful managers in the world, couldn’t: Hope. Hope of a title challenge that, at the start of the season, seemed as distant as the Copacabana beaches do now to Ireland fans.

Dundalk may not have the resources that other major League of Ireland sides such as Shamrock Rovers, Sligo or St Patrick’s Athletic do, but what they do possess is a manager that understands football as a simple game. Round pegs for round holes. Whilst Il Trap is nearing the end of his career as a football manager, Stephen Kenny, at 41, is still at the beginning of his and if he can continue to show the abilities he’s displaying on the Carrick Road, who knows, there may just be a future Ireland manager in there yet.