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Remembering Times The RTE Panel Defended Tony O'Donoghue From Nasty International Managers

Conor Neville
By Conor Neville
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Tony O'Donoghue is an invidious position. He is carrying an RTE mic into an interview with the Ireland football manager.

Following on from the tough-minded RTE panel discussions of Ireland performances, Tony is charged with bringing their concerns to the Irish international manager.

We've seen countless testy exchanges. Indeed, Tony and the current manager don't seem to be able to manage any other kind of exchange.

How long before a Tyrone style boycott? Is that contractually allowable?

These testy exchanges have often scandalised the panel who have usually - with the exception of Liam Brady, who has held other loyalties before - rowed in behind Tony, like good colleagues.

Twenty years ago, Irish society was much more deferential.

See Jack Charlton haughtily shutting down Ger Canning (yes, Ger Canning) for asking him the obvious question after the Holland game in Anfield.


"Don't ask me what I'm doing. Don't you start asking me what I'm doing! No, no, you're not doing that," Charlton insisted. "I wouldn't dare," Ger said meekly.

But now, we give the Irish manager hell. And we don't like to see Tony getting ragged around.

Noel King

"There was nothing that Tony said there that denigrated players. He was asking legitimate questions. And that response proves that he can't handle even the small bit of pressure after a win... Darragh, give us a break. This guy (King) fancies himself. D'you see the way he turned on Tony there? He's a bully. And he tried to bully RTE on Friday night after the match by making the panel the issue.


Eamon Dunphy 

"He moved the goalposts a little bit to accuse Tony of attacking the players. Tony wasn't attacking the players. He was asking legitimate questions about the setup of the team."

John Giles 


Martin O'Neill

Georgia v Ireland

"This thing about the media and people who express reservations about a performance or a team selection - and it came through there for Martin O'Neill having a little dig at Tony there, having a cut at him - we're all thrilled, we all want the Irish soccer team to do really well. We all want to qualify. But we all are entitled to our view."


Eamon Dunphy


"It wasn't a good performance. And I think he had a go at Tony before, was it yesterday or the day before? I think Eamon is right. Tony is entitled to ask the questions... I think what Martin was doing there is he was doubting Tony's joy that Ireland had won the game."

John Giles


Moldova v Ireland

*Not technically on the panel. But on Game On on Monday.


"His behaviour with Tony O'Donoghue. I don't like that. I don't like that. And it's not the first time he's attacked Tony. And I don't like that either!

"...Martin O'Neill's on an estimated £1 million a year so a little bit of analysis from fans, people who love the game, shouldn't be causing him trouble. He should have the good grace, like every other man in football he has to face media interviews afterwards, he should do it with good grace. If you can't do that..."

Eamon Dunphy

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And one time they were divided...

Giovanni Trapattoni

"I can't believe some of the questions there" - Liam Brady

"That was his job. He was reflecting the views of people, which is his job. You can't attack him for that!" - Bill O'Herlihy

"He's level points with Sweden. He's level points with Austria. There's how many games to go? Five? And you're asking him if he's going to resign" - Liam Brady

"I think it was a reasonable question to ask in the circumstances when he said it was a must-win match" - Bill O'Herlihy

"Well, I don't think so. You might think I'm a PR representative for Trapattoni..."  - Liam Brady

"No, I think you're being unfair to a man doing his job" - Bill O'Herlihy 


Read more: "SHAME, SHAME, SHAME" - Balls Remembers A Crazy And Traumatic Week For Irish Football

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