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Eamon Dunphy & Liam Brady Disagree On Ireland's Progress Under Stephen Kenny

Eamon Dunphy & Liam Brady Disagree On Ireland's Progress Under Stephen Kenny
By Gary Connaughton Updated

As is always the case around the Republic of Ireland senior men's side, the end of the most recent international window is likely to set off yet another discussion surrounding the future of football in this country.

There is no nation that is more fond of analysing their future hopes of success based entirely on the most recent set of fixtures, something that will continue in many quarters after a mixed start to the UEFA Nations League campaign.

The June window opened in disastrous fashion, with poor losses to Armenia and Ukraine leading many to believe that any progress made under Stephen Kenny has now been lost. Ireland would then go on to hammer Scotland and put in an excellent performance in the draw against Ukraine, making the last few games all the more difficult to assess.

It is clear that Kenny may have made a couple of mistakes in this window, most notably in some of his team selections. Michael Obafemi should have been used more often, as should Jason Knight and Jayson Molumby. However, the manager did then alter the structure of the side to get the best out of that trio.

It certainly gives Ireland a platform to build on moving forward, although some remain frustrated by many of the decisions being made by the Irish coaching team.

Liam Brady & Eamon Dunphy disagree on Ireland progress

Liam Brady is certainly unsure at some of the things Stephen Kenny continues to do with this Irish side.

Speaking on The Stand, he criticised Ireland's approach to constantly playing out from the back and some of his team selections, saying the FAI are likely very confused by the team's inconsistency. However, Eamon Dunphy disagreed strongly with many of the points Brady would make.


Brady: There were a couple of occasions where Duffy tried to play the ball out of his own box and Scotland could have scored twice. You're kind of scratching your head and wondering why is he doing it? Is Stephen Kenny telling him to do it?

We've seen the Irish team do that far too much in my opinion...

I'm still scratching my head. I know we've talked about this before and I said the FAI should wait before they give him the contract, they should wait until now after he's had these four games.

If I was the FAI, I would have been scratching my head on whether to give him a contract or not. It was a very good result against Scotland, but a few days before that we got beaten by Armenia...

You have to look at the results and say that they're not good enough...

Dunphy: I don't agree with you at all. The point I would make about the first two games is that there were injuries and important players missing, Matt Doherty and Seamus Coleman for example. These are important players. Also, Stephen keeps putting players into the team.

Obafemi against Scotland scored a brilliant goal and set up a brilliant goal for Troy Parrott. He was at Southampton, has had hamstring problems, went to Swansea and had a really good season. Stephen put him in?

Brady: But he didn't put him in against Armenia? Even the selection of the teams has me a bit confused. Don't get me wrong, I'm not totally against Stephen Kenny, I promise you I'm not. He's a very hardworking guy and I admire the way he wants the game to be played, he has given young boys their debuts and is trying to bring them on.

But there are also things where I'm scratching my head. Why wasn't Obafemi playing in that game to begin with? That was a game we should have won in Armenia to get us off to a good start.

Dunphy: I agree with that, I said it at the time. I thought Jason Knight should have started in that game and he didn't.

The decision not to start Obafemi in the games against Armenia and Ukraine now look like a mistake, with the Swansea man having been the most in-form Irish forward towards the end of the season. Kenny has often been hesitant to throw players straight into the side during their first international call-up.

In saying that, he did go on to change the team's system to get the best out of both Obafemi and Troy Parrott, two players who were not exactly suited to the previously favoured 3-4-2-1 formation.


Parrott is looking like an increasingly important player for Ireland, having gotten his confidence back since the turn of the year after a difficult 18 months or so in his club career. Along with the likes of Obafemi, Nathan Collins, Jason Knight, and Gavin Bazunu, the Spurs man looks set to be make up the spine of this side for the next decade. You could argue that none of those names would have been given opportunities under previous Ireland managers.

Dunphy believes that Kenny deserves massive credit for blooding those young players, and while John Giles agrees with that, he also said that results must continue to a decent level as the team goes through a transitionary period.

Dunphy: The argument I would make for Stephen is that he is finding players all the time. Troy Parrott has emerged now and looks like a really good player. Nathan Collins scored one of the best goals I've seen from an Irish player for a long time...

I would argue that Stephen needs to have a settled side from now on, to make his mind up. He has brought players in, given them the confidence to do well, and score a goal like Nathan Collins scored...

Giles: It's all part of the game to bring young players on, but you have to get results as well. The Armenia game was a really bad result, so was the Ukraine result against the reserve team.

You have to be doing what Stephen is doing, but you have to be getting results along the way against teams that you should be beating.

I think the criticism of him in recent times has been much fiercer than I expected it to be, because he had gotten very good results leading up to these matches...

I can understand Liam's point of view. It leaves him open to criticism when you're not getting the results you should be getting in these types of matches.

Stephen Kenny will now have a number of months to prepare for Ireland's next set of fixtures, with the Nations League drawing to a close with games against Scotland and Armenia in August.

There were some signs over the last week that the team are back on track, although he will certainly want to finish this campaign in a strong fashion to once again silence the critics who have reared their head once again over the last month few weeks.

SEE ALSO: Delaney Urges Ireland To Stick With Change Made For Scotland And Ukraine

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