Wednesday 18 September 2019

'I was compared to Hitler and Stalin' - Eddie O'Sullivan on criticism he suffered during his time as Ireland head coach

Eddie O'Sullivan. Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE
Eddie O'Sullivan. Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE Newsdesk Newsdesk

Former Ireland head coach Eddie O'Sullivan has spoken about the personal criticism he suffered towards the end of his tenure with the national team.

He stepped down from his at the end of the 2008 Six Nations after six-and-a-half years at the helm.

He led Ireland to their first Triple Crown success in 19 years in 2004 and did the same in '06 and '07.

The Cork native came in for criticism during the 2007 Rugby World Cup where his side failed to advance from their pool after defeats to Argentina and France.

Speaking on The Marian Finucane Show on RTÉ Radio 1 today, O'Sullivan revealed how he was subjected to personal criticism towards the end of his reign with Ireland.

"Personally I was okay with it, but I used to always worry about my family," he said.

"I’m a pundit at the moment. As a pundit you have to give credit and be critical, but I have always focused on what happens on the field, a bad tactical selection, an error, bad selection, that’s okay, but never morph into personal attacks.

"Analyse what happens on the field, analyse tactics, but never make it personal.

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"Some of the criticisms around players and coaches becomes personal, it becomes about them as people like they are bad people.

"I was compared to Hitler at one stage on day and Stalin on another day. It was a kind of throwaway remarks bit my kids were in their teens and they were in school. They got a bit of bullying in school because I was a fair target, so they were a fair target. I always worry about that.

"There are unintended consequences of criticising people personally."

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