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Ireland manager search feels like Lanigan’s Ball

As John O’Shea takes the helm of the soccer team, we get a reminder not to take Twickenham lightly

There’s a bit of a Lanigan’s Ball feel to the Football Association of Ireland’s search for a permanent successor to Stephen Kenny, with their (apparent) first choice Lee Carsley stepping out, stepping in, stepping out and stepping in again to contention every other week. After hearing Marc Canham’s comments on Monday, Gavin Cummiskey has a notion that Carsley is back in the frame, the FAI’s director of football announcing that the successful candidate will not be named until early April due to “existing contractual obligations”. Carsley’s England’s under-21s have two games in March ... and don’t play again competitively until September. That, of course, doesn’t mean he’s our gaffer-elect, but … we’ll see.

For now, John O’Shea is in the interim seat, Gavin hearing him say that he’s been “preparing for an opportunity like this since my late 20s”. And in O’Shea, writes Ken Early, the FAI “have found an Irishman who clearly wants the job and believes he is ready for it” – and candidates of that ilk have been in short supply.

If things haven’t been going all that smoothly for Irish football of late, English rugby has been having its troubles too. But, Gerry Thornley reminds us ahead of next Saturday’s Six Nations meeting, “history has taught Irish rugby sides not to be too cocky in advance of treks to Twickenham”.

Owen Doyle, meanwhile, is still scratching his head after referee Christophe Ridley’s “incomprehensible” failure to award Italy a second penalty after Paolo Garbisi’s injury-time effort hit the post in their draw with France last time out. Napoleon Bonaparte and Caesar Augustus both get a mention.


In Gaelic games, Gordon Manning reflects on last weekend’s Football League action when just eight of the 16 home teams were victorious, and he updates us on Rory Beggan’s efforts to earn a professional contract after taking part in the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. He’ll be back home in time, though, to collect his club goalkeeper of the year award at Croke Park on Friday night.

Ian O’Riordan looks back at Ireland’s showing at the World Athletics Indoor Championships while Philip Reid takes us through Shane Lowry’s disappointing final round at the Cognizant Classic, his ball finding a watery grave twice on the back nine not helping his efforts to win on the PGA Tour for the first time since his British Open triumph in 2019.

TV Watch: The Champions League is back this evening, Bayern Munich needing to overturn a first leg 1-0 defeat by Lazio if they are to make the quarter-finals (RTÉ 2 and TNT Sports 1, 8pm), while Real Sociedad are 2-0 down going in to their meeting with Paris Saint-Germain (TNT Sports 2, 8pm).

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