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Thursday 20 September 2018

FAI source rubbishes Kerr claims

Interview: Brian Kerr
Interview: Brian Kerr

An FAI source has described as "absolute rubbish" claims made during a radio interview by former Ireland manager, Brian Kerr.

According to Kerr, an FAI chief met with Martin O'Neill in a top Dublin restaurant even before Giovanni Trapattoni was sacked.

Kerr said he understood O'Neill and his advisors met with "an FAI head" in Shanahan's on the Green on the night before the home match against Sweden on September 6.

Ireland went on to lose the game, effectively ending the team's hopes of qualifying for the World Cup in Brazil next summer.

Trapattoni parted company with the FAI days later following the last game of the qualifying campaign in which Ireland lost 1-0 to Austria in Vienna.

DENIED

However, an FAI source has emphatically denied the claims. The insider described them as "absolute rubbish" and said Kerr would be contacted on the matter.

Kerr said he believes ex-Ireland manager Mick McCarthy has been shown disrespect by the FAI in the search for a new boss, adding that appointing Ray Houghton and Ruud Dokter to take part in the process was a "smokescreen" by the FAI.

The FAI have reacted angrily to this suggestion.

Northern Irishman O'Neill has re-emerged as the favourite to take over from Trap, with several bookies stopping the betting.

"They (bookies) do often put people in the running and put them up as favourites with a price that might attract the punters here in Ireland but when they stop the betting it usually means they know something serious is going on," Kerr said in an interview with Matt Cooper on Today FM's The Last Word.

"I would assume at this stage they (the FAI) have made contact (with O'Neill). I felt they'd made contact even before the home match with Sweden.

CHOICE

"I understood it was a meeting in Shanahan's restaurant the night before the Swedish game involving Martin O'Neill and some of his advisors with an FAI head on that occasion so going back as far as that I would have thought he was their main choice," Kerr added.

comurphy@herald.ie

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