Poll highlights contrasting moods of Irish football and rugby fans

A new poll has found that almost half of Irish football fans believe FAI boss John Delaney is responsible for the current difficulties of the game here.

November has seen a stark contrast between football and rugby in Ireland, from the high of defeating New Zealand in Dublin, to the low of relegation in the UEFA Nations League.

Off the field, a hectic month has seen the IRFU and the FAI dealing with coaching issues which saw Mick McCarthy replacing Martin O'Neill as head of the country's footballers while Joe Schmidt revealed he is to leave the Irish rugby job after next year's World Cup.

With so much sport in the news, iReach has conducted a survey on Irish sport, to gauge how Ireland supporters are feeling about the current state of rugby and football here.

A resounding 73% of people are happy that Martin O’Neill is no longer in charge of the Republic of Ireland football team and a further 54% do not believe O’Neill was successful during his time in charge.

Nonetheless, the current difficulties of Irish football are seen as the responsibility of FAI boss John Delaney, with 49% stating Delaney is most to blame.

O’Neill’s successor, Mick McCarthy, at 30% is the most popular of those who were in the running for the role, followed by Roy Keane (18%) and Stephen Kenny (12%), who will take over from McCarthy following Euro 2020.

The survey results highlight the positivity currently surrounding Irish rugby, with 48% predicting Ireland will win next year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan, compared to just 30% who think New Zealand will be crowned champions for the third time in a row.

The contrast between Irish rugby and football is further underlined as only 15% of respondents believe the Republic of Ireland football team are entertaining to watch compared to a remarkable 75% who are entertained by the Ireland rugby team.

There is some room for sympathy for Irish football, however, with more than half of those surveyed noting that it is easier for Ireland to be successful at rugby than football.

- Digital Desk

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