• Home
  • /
  • Football
  • /
  • O'Neill Says Ireland Should Have 'Thrown Caution To The Wind' Earlier

O'Neill Says Ireland Should Have 'Thrown Caution To The Wind' Earlier

O'Neill Says Ireland Should Have 'Thrown Caution To The Wind' Earlier
PJ Browne
By PJ Browne
Share this article

Martin O'Neill says that Ireland manager Stephen Kenny should have "thrown caution to the wind" 10 minutes earlier than he did in Monday's 1-0 European Championship qualifier defeat to France.

As Ireland sought an equalising goal late in the game, Kenny replaced Matt Doherty, Jason Knight, and Dara O'Shea with James McClean, Mikey Johnston, and Alan Browne in the 77th minute.

Ireland found themselves a goal down after a superb finish by Benjamin Pavard five minutes into the second half. It came after Josh Cullen uncharacteristically gave the ball away on the edge of the box.

"It's just after half-time. They've thwarted France throughout the first half so that's fine," former Ireland manager O'Neill told Viaplay about France's goal.

"So you want to just get yourself into position... It's kind of suicidal really. Please, whatever you do, you're in that position there, you've got to be looking forward, don't be looking sideways just outside your own penalty area. It's highly dangerous from any team.

"I know Bazunu made two decent saves but overall that was probably France's first shot on goal. So they have conceded. Things change now obviously after that, and while we have a grandstand finish, I think perhaps maybe throw caution to the wind a wee bit earlier than that. That would be my own thought."

27 March 2023; Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny during the UEFA EURO 2024 Championship Qualifier match between Republic of Ireland and France at Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

O'Neill compared Monday's game to how he approached the World Cup playoff defeat to Denmark in 2017. After a goalless first leg in Copenhagen, Ireland found themselves 2-1 down at half-time in the second leg. O'Neill replaced Harry Arter and David Meyler with Wes Hoolahan and Aiden McGeady. Ireland lost the game 5-1.


"For instance, in my game against Denmark - never to be forgotten - we're down 2-1 at half time," said O'Neill.


"We have to score two goals in the second half. Really, the side I had in the first half probably wouldn't have been constructive enough to score two goals

"So you take the chance, you put on Wes Hoolahan, you put on Aidan McGeady. You know that physically you're going to lose an awful lot, the next goal is going to count in the game, and we conceded and obviously fallen.

"But I don't mind, I honestly don't mind. It doesn't matter if you concede three or four, you're trying to qualify for a competition, you have to take a gamble at some stage.


"Now, the substitutions that were made there were absolutely fine. They injected a bit of energy into the side, and it's really good.

"We have had grandstand finishes before, I've witnessed them, [Richard Dunne] has witnessed them, Stephen has witnessed them but that was through set pieces, a real charge from the side towards the end of the game.

"Perhaps, just maybe, 10 minutes earlier than that... Who knows?"


See Also: Ireland Player Ratings As Kenny's Men Fall Agonisingly Short Against France

martin o'neill Ireland france


Join The Monday Club Have a tip or something brilliant you wanted to share on? We're looking for loyal Balls readers free-to-join members club where top tipsters can win prizes and Balls merchandise

Processing your request...

You are now subscribed!

Share this article

Copyright © 2024. All rights reserved. Developed by Square1 and powered by PublisherPlus.com