An angry John Delaney last night called on Brian Kerr to apologise for his claim the FAI’s initial approach for Martin O’Neill had come before Ireland’s 2-1 defeat to Sweden.
That home reversal to the Swedes was followed by a 1-0 loss to Austria four days later and spelt the end for Giovanni Trapattoni.
Last week former Ireland boss Kerr claimed the FAI had met with new Ireland manager O’Neill in Shanahan’s restaurant in Dublin before the Sweden game.
“I felt that they’d made contact even before the home match with Sweden,” Kerr said.
“I understood there was a meeting in Shanahan’s restaurant the night before the Swedish game involving Martin O’Neill and some of his advisers with an FAI head on that occasion.
“So going as far back as that, I would have thought he was their main choice.”
Speaking on the Last Word, an enraged Delaney hit back.
“Brian is wrong there and Brian should apologise,’ the FAI chief executive said.
“He’s absolutely bang out of order. Going into the Sweden game, if we had won, he was still on course to qualify for the World Cup. To make a comment like that is just bang out of order.
“He really should apologise because that did not happen — absolutely not.”
Meanwhile, Ireland captain Robbie Keane welcomed the appointment of O’Neill and Roy Keane, describing the managerial duo as the “strong characters” needed to steer the international team.
Keane, who turned 33 this past summer, was a long-time team-mate of the Cork-born midfielder at international level.
“They’re two men who have the respect of the footballing world,” Keane said.
“The whole country is excited and I know I’m certainly excited. They’re two strong characters that we needed at this point in time.”
The LA Galaxy striker was speaking to media last night ahead of tomorrow night’s second leg of the MLS Western Conference semi-final in Utah.
The Galaxy won the first leg 1-0 on Sunday at home courtesy of a goal from Sean Franklin.
Holding onto that advantage would put Keane’s side through to the Western decider for the fifth straight season.
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