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Ireland must turn to Mick

IT'S IN the coming weeks that Football Association of Ireland chief John Delaney will, if he's up to it, earn his salary and prove that he is worth it, by finding out whether Mick McCarthy is interested in coming back to manage our national team.

Putting out feelers, having a quiet chat, whatever it takes, but it has to be done by Delaney.

Ireland need a new manager; money is tight; McCarthy is not only experienced at this level but available and ready to work.

And money is not such a determining factor for the man from Barnsley that he would refuse to take the job if the FAI, upon meeting to talk about the role, patted their collective pockets and said, "We don't have much cash these days," and added they could not come up with the cash being offered to the man who is currently in the post.

McCarthy will not "do the job for nothing". But if the job is there for the taking he won't let wage demands scupper his chances of becoming that rare beast, a man who goes back for a second spell managing his national team.

Before the usual names -- such as Philippe Troussier and Billy Davies -- start lobbing in their CVs, it should be made clear that McCarthy is the ideal candidate to take over this team and revive it, the way Brian Kerr was asked to salvage things after McCarthy's own exit a decade ago.

Make no mistake about the impact of Friday's desperately poor and shapeless performance by Trapattoni's team in Kazakhstan, this Irish team is going nowhere under the current manager. Well, maybe downwards.

Chaos on the field, chaos in the background and a managerial team who are so out of touch that, when asked before last month's game with Serbia whether a change in tactics and approach would be seen in Belgrade, Marco Tardelli proud said: "Why change? We have success, we qualify."

As McCarthy found out to his own cost when boos rang out around Lansdowne Road on an October night in 2002, after Switzerland had become the second team in a row to beat his Republic of Ireland team, there comes a point when you can't fight, you can't improve things, you can't fix it; it's just time to go.

That point has not arrived just now for Trapattoni, it came on June 20 this summer after his side finished the Euro 2012 campaign with a third successive loss. That's when it was time to walk away.


If points had been dropped in Astana on Friday night, Trapattoni should have announced his resignation immediately. With the win on board, he should take time to assess things and ask himself if he is still the right man for the job. But his comments throughout the weekend and into today ahead of tomorrow's game against Oman clearly indicate that Trap has not even looked in the mirror and asked himself the question.

Revisionism will claim that Kazakhstan are a decent side and will trouble other teams in Ireland's group. Just like the win away to Armenia this time two years ago, the win in Astana could prove to be vital and a three-point haul from Kazakhstan could elude other teams.

"Meh", as Bart Simpson would say. We were fed a line, after Ireland's awful display in San Marino back in 2007, that they were not a bad side and that other teams would struggle against them.

"San Marino are going to be a handful as the group goes on," Ireland's manager at the time said.

Well here's a stat: since Ireland sneaked that most-undeserved win with Stephen Ireland's injury-time goal, San Marino have played 31 games and lost every one of them.

Kazakhstan should be able to pull off at least one result in this qualifying campaign, but it's a safe bet that good, well-organised teams -- Germany, Sweden, maybe even Austria -- will win there with ease.

This Irish side will struggle to get a point at home to Germany next month so the squad will, full of dread, head to the Faroe Islands for a crucial game, where failure to win should lead to the manager's exit.

That game will come 10 years and two days after McCarthy's time effectively ended at home to the Swiss.

As McCarthy knows, timing is everything.