After a disastrous week for Irish football where the national side suffered back-to-back defeats to Sweden and Austria, ending any and all hopes for World Cup qualification, the inevitable has happened. Yes, Ireland's third most successful ever manager Giovanni Trapattoni has ended his five-year tenure at the helm "by mutual consent". While most of us wanted rid of him, it's still sad to see him go, seeing as he was pretty much the nation's grandad for the last half decade.
But now is no time to dwell, and it appears the FAI agree as they move swiftly to appoint a successor as soon as possible. So who's it going to be? The early favourite is former Celtic and Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill, with dark horse Alex Ferguson coming in at a 50/1 shot. Here's the thoughts of the College Times Sport crew...
Keith Fitzpatrick, Sport Editor / Contributor
This is pretty cut and dry for me. There are a few guys who I'd like take the job (realistically), but the main man for me right now has to be Martin O'Neill. I know, I know, it's not exactly a curve ball but this is pretty straightforward. O'Neill has so many boxes ticked. He has managed Premier League players for the majority of his career, he has managed Celtic to a UEFA Cup final (where they were robbed, it has to be said), plus he's Irish and he's someone who players generally love to play for, and most of all, he's a bloody good manager which many are forgetting after a lacklustre end to his Villa and Sunderland spells. Communication wouldn't be a problem here, unlike with Trap, which was probably the biggest problem during his time.
While I would also love to see how Roy Keane would do, as well maybe someone like Owen Coyle, Martin O'Neill is the man for me. Unless of course Sir Alex decides he's bored of his wife and wants a part-time job. Then by all means Alex, make yourself at home!
Matthew Carolan, Music Editor; Soccer / NFL Contributor
Michael Cogley, Soccer Contributor
As word broke that Trap’s reign had come to an end bookies across Ireland took little to no time starting the race for the vacant position. The name that has been floating about most dominantly has been ex-Sunderland and Celtic boss Martin O’Neill. However after what had been a very difficult few seasons with the Black Cats I remain sceptical. The calibre of players he had been dealing with at Sunderland would be quite similar to that of the current Irish squad he would inherit. As a footballing nation what we see to be as our starting XI is far from the strongest we can field. With the Airtricity getting stronger and stronger a claim can be made that players applying their trade in the homeland may be more than able to compete for places with nPower Championship players.
There are a few names on the bookies’ lists that have Airtricity League experience but the man I would chose out of them is most definitely Pat Fenlon. While Fenlon may be receiving some stick for his difficult start to life in Scotland and his current mid table position, he has brought Hibs to two consecutive Scottish League Cup finals. The Hibernian boss has been successful here in Ireland too after being the first manager to guide an Irish side (Shelbourne) to the third qualifying round of the Champions League before failing to get past Spanish side Deportivo la Coruna. What we need is someone willing to give players chances, someone who can encourage attractive attacking football and make the best of our technical players. Also having managed Ireland’s u23s he has worked with the FAI in the past and shouldn’t be considered and extreme outsider.
Geoff Holmes, Soccer /Golf / Cricket Contributor
Out of the leading contenders I would like to see Martin O’ Neill take the reigns as I believe his style of management is one that will suit Ireland and the public’s eye. His passion and love for the game have been very influential in the past with many successful seasons with Celtic and Aston Villa to some degree. Despite his last post at Sunderland not working out I think he ticks all the boxes for what the FAI are looking for in a manager. His ability to get the most out of players is a quality that has been notable over the last decade. Even though he has never managed at international level before I believe he deserves the opportunity and a gamble worth taking by the FAI.
If O’ Neill isn’t the man for the job and the FAI wanted to go for a foreign manager from Europe, I recommend they look at approaching Guus Hiddink or even attempt to lure Juup Heynckes out of managerial retirement. In my opinion it is important for the FAI to act responsible when making this decision. They must think out of the box but be realistic at the same time. Choosing a manager who can speak the language and communicate with players effectively would help for starters!
Ken Haughton, GAA / Soccer Contributor
If I was ordered, "Quick Ken pick the Ireland manager now", I'd without a doubt pick Martin O'Neill because of his mannerism, his professional approach, his eye for talent and because he speaks English!
My personal choice would be Roy Keane because I'm pro-Keano but he's not going to get it. His dirty management bib means he needs a few more jobs before he could handle it. My feeling in my waters is Brian McDermott because John Delaney has a record of going against the grain but I truly hope I'm wrong. O'Neill is my choice for the good of the team and nation.
Ruaidhrí Croke, Soccer / Golf Contributor
One thing that must be remembered about the job as manager of the Republic of Ireland senior football team is that it involves a lot of pressure and comes with the expectations of a whole nation. It's certainly not an easy job and, at the current time, isn't very desirable. We've already seen Chris Hughton and Brian McDermott rule themselves out of the running as they are currently in comfortable managing positions at two big clubs in England.
Although I'd very much like to see Roy Keane given the job I can't see it happening. After the infamous debacle of Saipan in 2002 it's very difficult to see the FAI employing the Cork man. Also, it must be remembered, his management record isn't really up to a high standard.
The other man involved in the Saipan debacle, Mick McCarthy, has also been touted around as possibly making a return to international management. McCarthy is currently the manager at Ipswich Town and, although his situation might not be quite the same as McDermott's or Hughton's, he'd still have to leave a relatively secure job to go back into one that he resigned from just 11 years ago. Employing McCarthy would also stir up memories of Saipan that everyone involved with the Irish team could do without at the moment.
Personally I can't see the job going to anyone but Martin O'Neill. Out of all of the possible candidates he's definitely the best option. Highly respected in the game and with an impressive CV to boot it's hard to see by the former Celtic manager. Most of his jobs have also been with relatively average squads which, unfortunately, is what we have at the moment.
So there you have it folks, a pretty large majority of us going for the popular appointment of Martin O'Neill as the next Ireland manager, but what do you think? Are there any candidates not getting a mention? Or should we be breaking Denis O'Brien's bank to be able to afford another manager of Trap's ilk? Sound off in the comments below!
Next Ireland Manager Odds:
Martin O'Neill 4/9
Mick McCarthy 11/2
Brian McDermott 8/1
Roy Keane 16/1
David O'Leary 33/1
Liam Brady 40/1