Getting to the heart of what's wrong
I was having dinner with a friend of mine yesterday evening and there was much talk of the current in the malaise in Irish Rugby and the real reason behind the failure of the team at the World Cup. Lack of professionalism, O'Sullivan's playing favourites and stubborn refusal to drop those underperforming, Ronan O'Gara's meltdown and the lack of any credible replacement, divisions in the camp... the whole sorry mess was raked over again.
We then moved onto another team who fell to earth, FC Barcelona.
Much of what was wrong last time out and continues to be a problem this season stems from the loss of Henk Ten Cate to Ajax and his replacement, Johan Neeskens, not being up to the task. Looking at the current coaching set-up, Barça sorely lack a real disciplinarian, a motivator who isn't afraid to fall out with the players, who doesn't want to be their mate but is solely concerned in getting the best out of them for the team. There's no bad cop anymore, it's all far to easy-going and lax.
That and they should have gotten shot of Ronaldinho in the summer. And probably not signed Henry. Or Thuram.
Conversation moved on to other things after that. Any comments? Oh Eto'o is out of the Saragossa game. And Oleguer will miss the next six weeks thanks to his broken hand.