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John O’Shea Could Only Laugh At Tony O’Donoghue Question In Portugal |

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John O’Shea’s second window as Ireland interim manager ended in chastening fashion on Tuesday, with his side putting up a limp display in a 3-0 defeat to Portugal in Aveiro.

Pre-match, O’Shea had spoken of his familiarity with former Manchester United teammate Cristiano Ronaldo – though the Portugal captain was ultimately to play a crucial role in his side’s victory.


Ronaldo swept home two second-half stunners after Joao Félix’s first half opener, to put the game beyond doubt and leave Ireland reflecting on an eye-opening defeat.

Ireland now return to the limbo they were in entering the game, with the next permanent head coach potentially weeks or even months away from being revealed.

Despite Tuesday’s result, John O’Shea is firmly in the mix to be offered the job on a permanent basis. His response was telling when RTÉ soccer correspondent Tony O’Donoghue suggested as much to him post-match in Aveiro.

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John O’Shea laughs off question on his future as Ireland boss

O’Shea will have been left licking his wounds after one of the favourites for the European Championships ripped his Ireland side open on Tuesday night.

The former Ireland international is popular among the players, with both debutant Tom Cannon and man-of-the-match Caoimhín Kelleher saying as much in their post-match interviews in Portugal.

O’Shea took just one win from (an admittedly very tough) four games in charge. Despite the fact that his reign officially ends with Tuesday’s defeat, he remains in contention to take the job long-term, and appeared to let his guard down when Tony O’Donoghue pressed him on the matter post-match.


The Ireland head coach said that he had briefly reflected on the defeat with his players and told them his immediate thoughts on where they needed to improve.

Couple that with Tom Cannon’s comments that O’Shea had had lengthy phone conversations with him about his future in green, and one begins to doubt whether O’Shea himself even believes he will not be Ireland coach come September’s international window.

When O’Donoghue said as much to him, O’Shea could not help but laugh.

Tony O’Donoghue: Can I ask you John, what is the point of you talking to the players after a game, after this cycle of games, unless you’re going to be the manager?

John O’Shea: Well look…(pause and laughter)…you’re talking about the raw emotion of being involved in an international game against Portugal, one of the favourites for the EUROs. You’re trying to reflect as quickly as possible for whatever is going to happen, Tony, for the players to understand how important it is for this country to get back qualifying for tournaments. They have to sort their own club level out, that they’re back playing as quickly as possible, to win games.

TOD: After you’ve had this experience, though, would you accept the role of assistant manager?

O’Shea: Look, Tony, we’ll dust ourselves down and see what happens. It’s a time, obviously…I spoke to the players and thanked them in terms of their application. It’s tricky for them, there was weddings, there was all sorts of different things to try and organise. To be fair to the lads…and you think of the players we’re missing, too –

TOD: But we might see you in the autumn?

O’Shea: Let’s see, let’s wait and see.

It’s certainly clear from O’Shea’s remarks that he himself has no clarity on where he stands in the race to be appointed Irish manager.

When Director of Football Marc Canham addressed the situation in April, he confirmed that a head coach would be in place before September’s Nations League game against England.

Whether or not that will be John O’Shea will be the big question over the coming weeks.

SEE ALSO: Ireland Player Ratings As Portugal Romp To Victory On Dour Night In Aveiro

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