Friday 6 December 2019

'Baffled' Dunphy laments meaningless friendly, but says Ireland will qualify for Euros

Declan Whooley

Eamon Dunphy says Martin O'Neill missed a golden opportunity with his team selection against Oman last night, but has full confidence that he will lead Ireland to the 2016 European Championships.

Ireland eased to victory in a drab encounter played in front of a paltry 14,376 spectators at the Aviva Stadium and the RTE pundit thinks O'Neill shouldn't have used the fixture for an experimental line up with 2016 European Champions qualifying campaign set to get underway on Sunday.

"I'm baffled," when asked how many of the starting XI from last night will start in Tbilisi

"I thought it was a completely meaningless exercise," he told RTE's Morning Ireland  programme today.

"It's a mystery. The centre-half partnership of Marc Wilson and John O'Shea have never played together in central defence. It was a golden opportunity for them to play together."

"You need to get the rhythm and shape together of the team for Sunday. I don't think the reason he (O'Neill) gave, that players are unfit stands up to scrutiny."

"If last night was nothing to do with Sunday, and on the face of it it wasn't, what was the purpose of it? To get 14,000 people into the Aviva?"

Dunphy however insists he has full faith in the manager and the current squad and believes that the Boys in Green will qualify for the European Championships.

"I feel optimistic," the 69 year-old said. "I have great faith in Martin O'Neill and a lot of faith in the players at his disposal."

"It is a tough group, there is no doubting that, but the Trapattoni era was a lost era. I think Martin will pick the best players and will get the most out of them so I'm very optimistic indeed."

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