by Leighton Cullen

It was a suitably poor ending to the worst competition in living memory for Ireland and last night, once again, they found themselves over worked in midfield and out played. Admittedly the passing by the teams in our group was a joy to watch and Italy played some wonderful stuff but though the 2-0 win was justified and they deserve to go into the next round of the competition the manner of the goals was hugely disappointing. With each coming direct from a corner it completed a collection of cheap goals conceded in Poland which highlights the woeful tactics set out by Trap.

The autopsy that always follows any tournament exit will not be pleasant. The only players to come out of the farce with any sort of credit are Sean St Ledger and Keith Andrews and though it was great to see the likes of Dunne, Duff, O’Shea, Given and Keane enjoy one last muffled hooray surely it is now time for the old guard to pass on Ireland’s future hopes and bow out gracefully.

The temptation will certainly be there for them to continue and look to the glamorous stage of Brazil in two years time but bluntly, with the current set-up, I’m pessimistic about our chances of even qualifying.

Going forward the FAI have a huge decision to make. Giving Trap a two year contract was misguided to say the least and many in the media and behind the scenes are questioning the logic now. Personally I think he will be fortunate to survive this.

The entire ethos surrounding the team – from the system to the mentality – is in urgent need of change and unless he implements it soon I expect there will be several managers making the right noises maneuvuring themselves into position to usurp the Italian veteran.

It is going to be a slow process of rebuilding the team again from scratch and I desperately hope to see Ireland using players like Ciaran Clark, Wilson, Pilkington, Hoolihan, Coleman and McCarthy in the World Cup qualifiers. Additionally if Stephen Ireland is up for a return then let’s do all that we can to make that happen because we’re in no position to be picky right now.

This tournament was the worst Ireland has ever seen. We need to sort out a new brand of football but sadly with Trap around this isn’t going to happen anytime soon. We need a fresh approach with fresh ideas. I’m sure I’m not alone when I state that I would be quite willing for Ireland to miss out on Brazil as long as there were encouraging signs of rebirth and a redirection.

The FAI have some huge decisions to make but ultimately it comes down to this – stick with Trap or commit to a brighter tomorrow.