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After The End Of The Culture War, It Could Be Indifference That Finishes Off Stephen Kenny

After The End Of The Culture War, It Could Be Indifference That Finishes Off Stephen Kenny
By Gary Connaughton Updated
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Gary Connaughton reporting from the Aviva Stadium

Back in 1925, American poet T.S. Eliot penned the famous sentence 'this is how the world ends: not with a bang but with a whimper'. He used the iconic line to end his poem The Hollow Men, which was written in response to the fragmented nature of European society after the end of World War I.

Now almost a century on, it could be equally applicable when it comes to the possible end of a supposed revolutionary managerial move in Irish football. After over three years of fierce debate over Stephen Kenny and his Ireland reign, we are dangerously close to the whole thing petering out in a rather undramatic fashion.

The most notable thing about the reaction from Ireland fans after the team's loss to the Netherlands last night was the lack of one.

On a night that began with a raucous atmosphere at the Aviva Stadium, the fans would ultimately leave the ground in a state of resignation as opposed to any sort of anger, despite the effective ending of the team's Euro 2024 qualifying campaign.

Indeed, the most noticeable emotion among the Irish supporters after the final whistle was one of indifference. They seem broken.

The game against the Netherlands was hardly a disaster. Ireland started brilliantly, scoring in the opening few minutes via a penalty from Adam Idah. They pushed for a second too, with the atmosphere at Lansdowne Road during this period perhaps the best it has been under the current manager.


There was briefly a belief that we were finally going to see this side turn it around. In the end, it proved to be another false dawn.

The truth is that once the Dutch got back on level terms, there seemed little prospect that they were going to lose the game. While this may be far from a vintage Oranje side, it possess a level of quality that was well above their opponents in this fixture.

When Wout Weghorst put them ahead 11 minutes after halftime, many in the stadium were resigned to defeat. We weren't even treated to that trademark late rally from Ireland, something that has been a hallmark of this team in the past.


In the end, there just wasn't much to get excited about.

You can say what you want about much of what has happened under Stephen Kenny, but there was usually something to shout about. At the very least, we had something to argue over.

That now seems to be gone after this latest disappointment, after another campaign that has become meaningless with multiple games to spare.


In an era that has often been defined by deeply entrenched battle lines among factious groups of Irish supporters, the newly ingrained indifference among the most stern backers of Kenny could ultimately prove to be the death knell for the Ireland manager.

As for Kenny himself, he has continued to toe a familiar line in the aftermath of the game.

He spoke after the game about the team performing well and perhaps being a tad unfortunate in a couple of key moments. He praised the bravery and effort of his players, suggesting that the way his side approached this game was more cavalier than most other nations would. He also hopes that they can build on the showings from the last pair of fixtures ahead of games against Greece and Gibraltar next month.


In other words, different international window, same old story.

Those have who long been calling for Stephen Kenny to be replaced now have more ammunition than ever before. Results continue to be well below what Irish fans expect, and while the team has evolved in recent times, we do not yet know if it will have positive long-term effects. That is a remarkable thing to say three years into a managerial tenure.

For those who previously backed the manager, it is possible that many of them still do so. However, the apathy present in the stadium last night means even if they are still behind him, they are far less vocal in their support.


For all the talk of sweeping changes and a revolution within Irish football, people will simply get bored when waiting for those processes to bear fruit.

In the end, that could be Stephen Kenny's undoing.

SEE ALSO: Didi Hamann Damns 'Weak' Ireland After Dutch Disaster For Stephen Kenny

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