O’Neill v O’Donoghue: The tetchiest moments from a tetchy relationship

No love lost between these two...


If all good things must come to an end, then so too must all stagnating managerial reigns built on reactive, defensive football.

Yes, Martin O’Neill has left the Ireland job, along with his assistant Roy Keane and coaches Steve Guppy and Seamus McDonagh. O’Neill gave Ireland some glorious moments over the past few years, but by the end the team had become as unwatchable – and as coherent – as an episode of I Wanna Marry Harry dubbed into Tagalog and subtitled in Greek.

Still, O’Neill will be missed by many. Including, perhaps, in a strange sort of Stockholm Syndrome way, RTÉ Soccer’s Tony O’Donoghue. The two became sparring partners over the course of O’Neill’s time in charge of Ireland, with some pretty hostile interviews taking place on a fairly regular basis as the manager’s tenure entered its endgame.

Often, the prospect of another O’Donoghue grilling of O’Neill was the only thing to look forward to on matchdays for Irish TV viewers. We’ll have to wait and see if the new man or woman will ‘enjoy’ the same kind of relationship with TO’D. In the meantime, here are some of our favourite moments from O’Neill v O’Donoghue.

September 2nd 2017 – Post-match v Georgia

This is where things started to heat up. Prior to this, the relationship had been mostly civil.

Ireland had just earned a hard-fought draw against the mighty Georgians, who as everyone knows are one of the best teams in the universe.

O’Neill, it seems, was pleased with the result, but rather less pleased with how Tony quizzed him on his team’s performance.

October 17th 2017 – World Cup playoff draw

Well, this one’s almost polite.

Maybe O’Neill just didn’t fancy digging out O’Donoghue in front of what appears to be a crowded press-zone. Keep it for the safety of the tunnel post-match, Martin. Good strategy.

November 11th 2017 – Post-match Denmark 0-0 Ireland

Ah. Denmark 0, Ireland 0. A scoreline for the ages.

O’Neill, again, appears to have been pleased with yet another draw in which his side played football so dull that even a baseball fan would have found themselves tweeting about how boring the game was. To be fair, the result kept Ireland in the tie and therefore the race to qualify for Russia.

November 14th 2017 – Post-match Ireland 1-5 Denmark

“We can come back again,” said Martin O’Neill after this match.

Not if Tony O’Donoghue has anything to do with it:

January 24th 2018 – Post-Nations League draw

Now this is where the gloves really come off. O’Neill is swinging hard at O’Donoghue at this point.

There’s no kiss-and-make-up after this, lads.


Good times. Good times.

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