WATCH: Martin O'Neill accuses RTÉ's Tony O'Donoghue of 'real verbal attack' in post-Denmark interview during frosty exchange today
Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill was involved in a tense exchange with RTÉ soccer correspondent Tony O'Donoghue after the draw for the UEFA Nations League in Lausanne, Switzerland this morning.
Ireland will face familiar foes in the tournament after being drawn against Ryan Giggs' Wales and the the team that defeated us heavily in last November's World Cup play-off, Denmark.
O'Neill faced the media after the draw for the first time since signing a new two-year deal with FAI yesterday.
Since the defeat to the Danes, the 65-year-old Derry native was heavily linked to the vacancy at Everton before Sam Allardyce was appointed and held talks with Stoke after the axing of Mark Hughes, despite verbally agreeing to stay on as Ireland boss last October.
FAI chief executive John Delaney last week described how O'Neill had reflected on his position since the play-off loss.
O'Donoghue's attempts to quiz O'Neill on that period of reflection and the stinging criticism directed at him after the failure to qualify for the World Cup led to a frosty exchange between the pair.
They have been involved in a number of tense interviews during O'Neill's tenure but this was undoubtedly the most fractious:
Referring to the interview O'Donoghue did with him after the 5-1 defeat to Denmark, O'Neilll said: "Just before we did our interview you said to me, 'Hard luck', just before we went on air. What did you mean by that?
O'Donoghue responded: "Well it's very disappointing to go out in a playoff."
MON: "You did say hard luck. You weren't being disingenuous about it were you?
MO'N: "It was interesting that you would say hard luck beforehand. I think hard luck means tough luck in the whole group.
MO'N: "Obviously disappointed that we lost the game. Disappointed that we didn't qualify for the World Cup but overall... delighted with the effort of the team.
TO'D: "Did that lead to a period of reflection for you regarding whether you were going to stay in the job or not? Because at that stage you had committed verbally to the job"
MO'N: "I think you need a bit of reflection, don't you? A wee bit of reflection. John and I, we took a bit of time. The FAI wanted me to stay on and I was delighted to do so. Delighted to do so"
TO'D: "Were you surprised at the over all reaction to the defeat?"
MO'N: "I thought you just asked me that question before. I thought I'd answered it.
TO'D: "I meant in general you were reflecting...."
MO'N: "Everyone to their own."
TO'D: "Afterwards, and I suppose you must have found this flattering, you were subject of a lot of interest from Premier League clubs. Was that a temptation for you to get back in the game at that level?"
MON: "The perception of the job that I was doing for the Republic of Ireland like qualifying for the Euros, getting through to the playoffs, getting through where we were fourth seeds and we finished second in the group, making the playoffs, obviously the disappointment of Denmark when we were really trying to go for it. We were actually trying to get a couple of goals in the second half. There was no point in sitting back and losing 2-1 in the game but the perception elsewhere is actually very, very positive unlike yourself."
TO'D: "Well I wouldn't say it was me or just me."
MO'N: "Well you say your interview afterwards? After the game when you did say hard luck to me and it was just a real verbal attack"
TO'D: "I wouldn't think so to be honest with you Martin."
MO'N: "It's funny, your reaction is totally different, hence people asking me about jobs."
TO'D: "You have been offered job?"
MO'N: "I think you also have to check my record. I think John mentioned this. About my record at clubs. I don't actually just disappear after a week."
TO'D: "Which is something I have regularly pointed out on radio and television."
MO'N: "Particularly in that day and age when managers are coming and going in five or six weeks it's particularly difficult. My record speaks for itself."
TO'D: "Absolutely it does, no question about that."
MO'N: "You've had loads of time, you've had more time than the lads here and I thank you for your time, much appreciated."
This is the interview that O'Neill was referring to from after the Denmark loss: