Martin O’Neill must put the wheels back on Ireland’s clanging wagon

Manager could reach end of four-year road if performances against Denmark and Wales fail to get fans back on board

Martin O’Neill is looking to kickstart a new cycle of his management of the Republic of Ireland but must know there is a risk that bad defeats in Dublin by Denmark on Saturday and Wales on Tuesday would intensify calls for his four-year era in charge to end. There is a sense that these games are about more than Nations League points.

The Football Association of Ireland has no desire to jilt its manager and one of the most conspicuous assistants in international football, Roy Keane, both of whom signed contract extensions in January to 2020. But a portion of Irish fans have lost faith in the duo and that constituency could swell to a critical mass if these matches were to bring defeats as emphatic as the last two competitive games did. Those were also against Denmark and Wales, who won by a combined score of 9-2.

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