Tuesday 21 November 2017

'He won't have learned a great deal from his dinner with Martin O'Neill' - Eamon Dunphy reignites war of words with Ireland boss

Martin O'Neill and Eamon Dunphy
Martin O'Neill and Eamon Dunphy

Harry Clarke

Eamon Dunphy has reignited his war of words with Ireland manager Martin O'Neill.

Speaking on RTE tonight following Wales' 3-0 demolition job on Russia, the panel turned their attention to both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland's chances of making the last 16.

And while Dunphy spoke highly of Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill, he saved a dig for Irish boss Martin O'Neill.

Both the O'Neills met for dinner recently and it was revealed that Michael O'Neill sought advice from his namesake on how to beat Germany, who Northern Ireland play tomorrow.

"I wonder if Martin O'Neill asked Michael O'Neill any questions about how to win games at major championships? It's an interesting question.

"I think they have a sporting chance of getting a draw, Germany were poor the other night, and Didi would admit that, against Poland.

"In the two games against us, although they had a lot of possession, they didn't really threaten our goal. Have they moved on a bit? This is a big challenge for Northern Ireland. Their moral will be high.

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"I give them a sporting chance of getting a draw, if they don't they can still go through, it's still an excellent achievement from Michael O'Neill.

"I really think that he won't have learned a great deal from his dinner with Martin O'Neill."

Dunphy and O'Neill have been embroiled in a series of verbal exchanges of late.

Speaking at an event in Cork before Euro 2016, O'Neill said: "It doesn't bother me in the slightest... seriously. To be criticised by a failed manager is bad enough but to be criticised by a failed player like Eamon Dunphy.

"I have to have a laugh at this, I heard Eamon once said, and I can't do the Dublin accent, 'I was a good player, not a great player...', No Eamon, you weren't even a good player.

"You can't call yourself a good player if you've never played in the big league. He couldn't make the grade at Manchester United and he's been pontificating for years."

And following the 3-0 defeat against Belgium at the weekend, Dunphy questioned O'Neill's tactics.

“This was a team without belief and, ultimately, without shape. I tried praising James McCarthy at half time, for pressing the ball, but there’s no escaping the fact that he was culpable for two goals and Clark was also culpable," said Dunphy.

“It’s not a mystery; Clark could have given away three own goals against Sweden. That’s the coach’s choice, McCarthy is the coach’s choice. Choices were made, options were ignored and we were punished severely.

“I think there was always fear of the Hazards. They made changes as well; Dembelé stopped us playing in the first half and got tight on Hendrick. Wes  Hoolahan was too far up the field.

“You can break this down and deconstruct it. Part of the reason is wrong choices by the coach. He stuck by McCarthy through thick and thin. Clark, he had other options ; Richard Keogh played well through qualifying.”

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