Football

'Sensitive To Criticism' - Tony O'Donoghue Opens Up On Martin O'Neill Tenure

'Sensitive To Criticism' - Tony O'Donoghue Opens Up On Martin O'Neill Tenure

Martin O'Neill's reign as Republic of Ireland manager is at an end. It was confirmed this morning that he and his assistant Roy Keane have parted company with the Republic of Ireland. It also brings an end to a tense relationship between the former Irish manager and RTE soccer correspondent Tony O'Donoghue.

O'Donoghue and O'Neill clashed on more than one occasion, with their post-match interview after Ireland's 5-1 loss against Denmark a particular low-point. O'Donoghue appeared on Sean O'Rourke's programme on RTE Radio to reflect on the news and explained why it was not just him who endured tense exchanges with O'Neill.

"The reporter should never be the story, should they? In that instance, I was only trying to ask questions in that I expected the viewers and listeners wanted asked.

He's a man who is sensitive to criticism and that's just not to me or to RTE, but I mean, recently we haven't had the live rights and I've seen him take offence to other reporters as well.

"Right back through his career, when he was a player with Nottingham Forest, people would write letters to the local newspaper and he would take note of them and at the end of a good season with Nottingham Forest he would write back to them.

"So he bears grudges and did not enjoy or take criticism, I suppose none of us take criticism lightly. Again, that's another reason he was determined, I would say, to stay on and improve or leave a better legacy in his wake as Republic of Ireland manager."

In terms of his assessment of the O'Neill era, O'Donoghue paid credit to the Germany victory and successful Euro 2016 campaign but did also cite a recent downturn: "things that will definitely go in the credit column. Although there's a lot in the debit as well."

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The pair did come face-to-face after the infamous Denmark interview when O'Neill made it clear he had not forgotten the exchange and accused the RTE sports journalist of a "verbal attack."

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Maurice Brosnan

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