Saturday, March 24, 2007

Bad 1 Worse 0

Much of this afternoon's game was spent devising a potential Indie-rock group comprised of various members of the current Irish squad - we finally settled on Steven Hunt on drums; Kevin Kilbane on bass; on lead guitar Jonathan Douglas and ... ladies and gentlemen, on vocals Kevin Doyle. The game itself wasn't too hot. It was an utter disgrace, to be honest, played out between two bad, clueless sides, and it was a measure of how bad Ireland were that a few schoolboy errors in the final twenty minutes might have resulted in them being pegged back to a draw by an embarrassingly bad Welsh formation and we would all have been put out of our misery by now.

But we did win it and when Eamon Dunphy said afterwards that he was hoping for a defeat it was treated by Bill O'Herlihy like a dirty secret. I would reckon however that old Grumpo's sentiments had a worryingly wide correspondence among Irish football fans. A win was welcome but the performance and the continuing evidence of a lack of organization in the Irish set-up is rather more troubling. The GAA ungraciously prepared a bumpy pitch of 1980s Lansdowne vintage, but that cannot be used to excuse an aimless Irish performance. It was only in the last fifteen minutes of the first half - during which Stephen Ireland scored his superb winner - that they looked in any way coherent. Robbie Keane and Damien Duff thankfully looked more sprightly than on recent occasions for Ireland though Keane will be missing against Slovakia on Wednesday. Which makes one think that Stan might select Doyle and Anthony Stokes up front. It might just work. But I expect things to be more conservative. We live until Wednesday at least.