Friday 15 November 2019

Kim Bielenberg: Trapattoni – from ‘cat in the sack’ to cataclysm

Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni (left) and his assistant Marco Tardelli
Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni (left) and his assistant Marco Tardelli

IT is a mark of how far Ireland’s footballing fortunes have fallen that pundits are suggesting that if we beat the mighty Faroe Islands, Giovanni Trapattoni might survive.

Of course, it could happen. The ball has been known to bounce in peculiar ways. We could beat the Goliaths of global soccer.

The Irish manager may be lucky, and the islanders’ star player might go fishing, or get delayed at the bottom of a fjord. So, we could win.

But the idea that a victory against the Faroe Islands would keep him in a job is as far-fetched as the notion of Brian Cowen sinking a pint on a rostrum in Norwayafter receiving the Nobel Prize for Economics.

With our humiliation against those pesky Germans, Trap has gone from “cat in the sack” to cataclysm.

The Italian will need a neck built from brass as steadfast as that of Sean Quinn and his cake-munching acolytes if he is to remain in charge through the coming hours.

Like Quinn, he will need to be stubborn.

Trap is known to be a follower of the Catholic sect, Opus Dei.

Certainly he will not only have to have God on his side in the coming hours and days. The Almighty will have to be playing up front.

At the World Cup in 2002, when he was the Italian team manager, Trap used to spray the team bench with holy water. One wonders whether players used to run out onto the pitch with damp patches on their shorts.

One hopes for his sake that the Italian has replenished his supplies of holy water as he faces the Faroes, and more importantly, the executives of the FAI.

Don’t be surprised if we see him sprinkling the pitch like one of those overweening bishops, seen in monochrome RTE clips on All-Ireland day at Croke Park in the 1950s.

In order to survive he will not only need good fortune. He will need a miracle.

The more enthusiastic members of Opus Dei like to wear a Cilice – a painful metal garter belt with little prongs worn around the thigh.

One cannot be sure if Trap favours this type of undergarment.

But if he does it may prepare him well for the kind the lashing that he is bound to take from pundits and fans in the coming days.

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Don't Miss