Friday 9 December 2016

'I did me best to keep erasing it from my memory but people keep bringing it up' - John O'Shea on Euro 2012 disaster

Tom Rooney

Published 24/03/2016 | 18:15

Ireland's John O'Shea, with players from left, Wesley Hoolahan, Stephen Quinn, Glenn Whelan and Stephen Gleeson
Ireland's John O'Shea, with players from left, Wesley Hoolahan, Stephen Quinn, Glenn Whelan and Stephen Gleeson

John O’Shea has endeavoured to remove any residual memories of Ireland’s disastrous Euro 2012 campaign from his mind, but is adamant the group dynamic now is wholly different than that of four years ago.

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The tail end of Ireland’s qualification for Euro 2016, which included famous victories over Germany and Bosnia & Herzegovina, restored a feel good factor to Irish football that had been suitably eradicated by the seemingly endless denouement of Giovanni Trapattoni’s tenure.

Three chastening losses in Poland and Ukraine at the hands of Croatia, Spain and Italy were quickly followed by a largely awful bid to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Indeed, Martin O’Neill’s time at the helm took a while to get motoring but, once it did, the fanfare returned in abundance.

However, Ireland were riding high heading to Euro 2012. Estonia were easily dispatched of in the play offs and it had been well over a year since the Trap’s charges had tasted defeat.

Asked if he saw any similarities between now and then, John O’Shea was quick to stunt that particular notion.

A dejected Damien Duff, right, and John O'Shea, Republic of Ireland, after the game. EURO2012, Group C, Republic of Ireland v Croatia, Municipal Stadium Poznan, Poznan, Poland. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
A dejected Damien Duff, right, and John O'Shea, Republic of Ireland, after the game. EURO2012, Group C, Republic of Ireland v Croatia, Municipal Stadium Poznan, Poznan, Poland. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

"I did me best to keep erasing it  (2012) from my memory but people keep bringing it up,” he said at the Aviva Stadium ahead of tomorrow’s friendly against Switzerland.

"No look, preparation is very important for it but it's a different time, a different group of players, different management. Everything's different.

"But ultimately it's about fingers crossed the manager has a fully fit group to pick a squad from and we if we can have that hopefully it will be a different set of results, that's for sure.

“I was hardly delighted with it (2012). Obviously we wanted to get out of the group and we didn't, so that's main thing we'll be looking to do this time around.”

Between the Swiss game, facing Slovakia on Tuesday and Holland in May, Martin O’Neill has ample time to survey those fringe players he’s yet to be fully convinced by. 

Once on the periphery himself, O’Shea was omitted from Mick McCarthy’s 2002 World Cup squad, and is well aware what a cadre of the 33 strong group currently assembled are going through. All they can do, according to the Sunderland veteran, is put their best foot forward and seize the moment.

"Well as the manager spoke about, hopefully taking an opportunity to shine and if they do shine then hopefully they get another chance on Tuesday.

"And to give the manager tough decisions to make, that's the whole idea of it ultimately, making sure as the manager said that if they're not picked for the tournament in the summer that they're at the front of queue to be ready to go come September time.

"So that's the key thing, as the manager said that they're opening up his mind to be ready to go when called upon and they've shown this week they're definitely doing that,” he said.

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