I’ve had an idea. I think I know the perfect replacement for Tony McGahan, who’s expected to leave Munster at the end of the year and take up a new job as Wallabies backs coach, but we’ll come to that in a minute.
I’ve never been a huge fan of McGahan, even though some people might say this season has vindicated his choice as manager. After all, didn’t Munster make it to the quarter finals of the European Cup with a home draw for the quarter finals? Yes, they did, thanks to two highly improbable last-second drop goals. The Munster engine is not firing smoothly on all cylinders, as the senior players openly concede, so McGahan’s good fortune may also turn out to be a stroke of luck for the team. This might be the opportunity to restructure the management and tackle any fundamental problems at their root, but who’s the right man to take on that job?
Names are flying about like bats in a tumble-dryer. Conor O Shea was mentioned, but he already has a good job at Harlequins. Besides, there are those at London Irish who say he was a bit of a spoofer when he took over there. He talks the talk, but can he walk the walk? Or the plank, in the case of Munster, if it goes wrong.
Nick Mallett is currently out of work after the Italians dropped him, and he might be a good possibility although his name is being whispered in connection with the England job.
Then there’s Anthony Foley, the current forwards coach and stalwart Munster player for a dozen years, but I think he’d be an outsider. Although he has all the coaching qualifications, he might be seen as lacking depth. Maybe after a couple of years in France and maybe a stint in New Zealand, he might be the finished article but it’s probably a bit early to appoint him at this level. On the other hand, maybe not. He certainly has the playing experience and the guile.
But wait. Who’s that over there in the corner, quietly scheming while sharpening a boning knife and a stiletto? Why, isn’t that Eddie O Sullivan, currently unemployed and a PE graduate of our local university. Now, if anyone would be happy to cut out the deadwood, without emotional attachment to old pals, that man would be Eddie. Eddie would have no problem dropping senior players, or axing senior coaching staff. Just ask Warren Gatland.
Eddie doesn’t believe in making friends. He just manages. Of course, we need to remember how he managed to split the Irish team down the middle in France, leading home a bedraggled, dispirited and divided squad filled with suspicion and devoid of confidence. But apart from that, he did fine. I hear that Eddie was spotted a couple of weeks back sharing a quiet pint in Tom Collins’s bar with Brian O’Brien and Niall O’Donovan, which of course might have been a perfectly innocent meet-up of old pals, or not.
I think Eddie would polarise Munster. Half of us would say he’s the perfect choice for the job, while the other half would say Hire that bastard over my dead body. We don’t want a manager who’ll split the players and the supporters, and this is why I think my idea will work.
Who’s the one man capable of uniting the entire squad and all the supporters in complete hatred for him? He’s currently out of a job after a very senior position in world rugby.
My friends, I give you Martin Johnson.