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Indo Journalist Ian O'Doherty Can't Understand Why Michael O'Neill Won RTE Sport Award

Conor Neville
By Conor Neville
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In a year when the Republic of Ireland qualify for a major tournament, the manager can usually expect to be rewarded with the Manager of the Year gong at most end of year awards dos.

But not so in a year when Northern Ireland also qualifies, it transpires.

Martin O'Neill was forced to share the big prize with Michael O'Neill at the Philips Manager of the Year awards (the first time the ROI manager didn't win outright in a year when qualification was secured).

At the RTE Sports Awards, he didn't even get a share of the award as Michael O'Neill won the prize.

Irish Independent journalist and determined licence fee opponent, Ian O'Doherty got worked up about the choice of Michael O'Neill while on the Sunday Show with Shane Coleman on Newstalk yesterday.

Why, he argued, would the national broadcaster choose the manager of another country as the manager of the year?

He's (Michael O'Neill) a good guy, he's worked down here. Everybody respects him.

I think it's ridiculous that our national broadcaster for which we are forced, upon pain of prison, to pay a licence fee for, chose to give Manager of the Year to a man who manages another country. It makes no sense to me whatsoever.

This is the RTE Sports Person of the Year and the Manager of the Year goes to somebody who isn't even in this country.

Thereafter, Coleman tentatively argued that Northern Ireland might be considered to be part of this country or this nation at least a broad or loose sense.


They briefly got bogged down in a constitutional debate.


The controversial former article 2 of the Irish constitution used to say 'The national territory consists of the island, its islands and territorial seas'.

After much badgering from the unionists and the British government, the Irish government used its dropping as a bargaining chip to extract some concessions during the peace process.


Since the Good Friday Agreement, ratified down here with over 90% support, the wording has been changed to a woollier and more new agey 'It is the entitlement and birthright of every person born in the island of Ireland, which includes its islands and seas, to be part of the Irish Nation'.

O'Doherty said he doubted that the Northerners would seek to honour the Republic of Ireland manager at their awards dos.

Okay, well, we'll flip this one back, do you honestly think that the BBC Northern Ireland Sports Personality of the Year is going to give Manager of the Year to Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane.

It will be interesting to see how the internet's extremely active, and sometimes belligerent, Republican community will deal with this argument.

On the one hand, they tend to dislike the Northern Ireland football team.

On the other hand, they don't like Ian O'Doherty (a feeling which is heartily reciprocated) and they may not like the notion that Northern Ireland is another country.


Let the games begin.

Read more: Who Would Conor McGregor Vote For In The 2016 General Election?


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