The Rebound: Irish rugby team to teach Irish footballers ‘basic skills’

Martin O’Neill believes his charges can learn a lot from Joe Schmidt’s side, such as how to kick a ball in the direction you want it to go…


A source close to Martin O’Neill has revealed that the Ireland manager has reached out to the IRFU to request a ‘special delegation’ be sent to FAI headquarters ‘at the earliest possible opportunity – seriously we’re desperate at this stage.’

Exactly what form this delegation will take is unclear, but it is believed that O’Neill has asked for ‘literally anybody who can teach these absolute weapons how to kick the ball, or even just to run in a straight line. Jesus we’ll even take Neil Francis to be honest.’

Rugby is riding high in Ireland, with the national team having vanquished world champions New Zealand a few days after the football team churned out a miserable nil-all draw against mediocre opposition and a few days before they churned out another miserable nil-all draw against mediocre opposition.

So exasperated has O’Neill become at having to field teams half-full of people apparently seeing a football for the first time in their lives that he is believed to be ‘genuinely open to any suggestions by now, I mean can we get a maul going against Denmark next time for example? Hello?’

Our source claims that O’Neill was apoplectic after Ireland’s latest horror-show, with loud screams heard emanating from his suite at the Copenhagen Holiday Inn on Monday night.

‘Yeah, it was mental,’ reveals the source. ‘He was banging the walls and shouting things like, “who the f*ck even are these people? Aiden O’Brien, I thought he was a f*cking horse racing trainer. Shaun Williams – is he not a Welsh scrum-half? And Ronan Curtis – come on, that’s a Football Manager regen, not a real person.”

‘At one point I thought we were going to have to send in Conor Hourihane to calm him down, but we weren’t sure Martin would recognise him. So we just let him vent, the poor man. To be frank, it’s only fair after he’s had to spend the last week watching Richie Keogh trying and failing to complete a three-yard pass.’

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and the IRFU are believed to have accepted the FAI’s plea, with Tadgh Furlong slated to pitch up at Abbotstown to work on finishing with the Irish strikers and Jack McGrath set to lead an ‘agility, mobility and ball-control session’ with the midfielders.

‘We look forward to benefiting from the rugby lads’ superior technique and ability with the ball at their feet,’ O’Neill is reported to have said upon hearing of the IRFU’s decision.

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