Thursday 22 March 2018

Trap deserves more time to get Ireland on road to Rio

TOO many people have short memories when it comes to Giovanni Trapattoni. I'm in the yes camp. I'm a fan of the guy. There, I've said it.

Ten months ago, he was the best thing to come from Italy to Ireland since John Paul II's visit in 1979. He brought us to our first major tournament since 2002 and we were a handball away from qualifying for the last World Cup.

We're a nation of four million people but what's doing my head in is how we've become so like England in how we criticise our managers. Mick McCarthy had it, Steve Staunton, Brian Kerr too. And now it's Trap's turn.

Why do we have to be so critical? Okay, his style of football might not be too pleasing on the eye and his man-management skills are questionable at times but he's so conditioned now and you're not going to change him.

So many former players are queueing up to have a pop at Trap (above) but I'd like to see if they could do any better. Let's give him a bit of time.

If we beat Austria tomorrow night and the Faroes in June, we're going into the Sweden game next September in a hell of a position to qualify for Rio. We always accepted that Germany would win the group and, okay, they beat us 6-1, but freak results like that happen. After all, Manchester City beat Manchester United 6-1 at Old Trafford in the Premier League last season.

Support and prayers for the Furlong and McNamara families

THERE are times when sport has to take a back seat, when it pales into sheer insignificance when compared with the tragedy and suffering of others.

JT McNamara's fall at Cheltenham and the horror visited upon the Furlong family following the murder of their daughter Nicola reminded me just how precious life is.

My thoughts and prayers are with JT McNamara, his family and the Furlong family. As a father of two daughters myself, I cannot comprehend what the Furlong family went through and how brave they were in travelling to Tokyo for the murder trial and having to relive the ordeal.

I have the height of respect for them and I wish them well as they try to come to terms with their grief.

Irish Independent

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