Saturday 10 December 2016

Vincent Hogan: Just reward for prisoner of circumstance, Noel King

Published 16/10/2013 | 05:00

Andy Reid who enjoyed a recall under Noel King
Andy Reid who enjoyed a recall under Noel King

He wanted to be a winner, not a martyr and, under the pale wash of a floodlit October night, Noel King got that blessing at least. But it was an oddly straitened occasion, the stands occupied only in narrow pockets, the sounds so muffled players' voices climbed to the fifth floor press-box with disarming clarity.

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The victory may, in time, prove the gift that secures second seed status for Ireland in next year's Euro qualifying draw, but it would be naive to beat such drums too loudly. After all, when the fixtures for this World Cup qualifying campaign were announced, this looked like a smart piece of husbandry by the FAI. The assumption that Germany would top Pool C was, at least, intercepted by an expectation that Ireland could welcome the humble Kazakhs to Dublin with a play-off place still on the table.

Which was, of course, to pre-suppose a great deal we now know to have been blissfully self-regarding.

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