See, I think this could be a great idea.
Rugby Union’s Six Nations is one of the biggest sporting tournaments in the British Isles and Ireland, perhaps the biggest. Footballs Home Nations tournament, the Soccer equivalent, died a fairly slow death through the 70s and 80s, but it’s never been a bad idea. The nations of England, Wales, Scotland, the North and Ireland have very strong footballing connections after all, so its natural that their would be competition between them.
But this, this “Carling Nations Cup” is a bit of a shambles. A few points:
1. The organisers will be unable to escape the feeling of it being a glorified friendly if the games are scheduled alongside friendlies.
2. The FAI has shot themselves in the foot with the high ticket prices again. It’s hard to get a worse advertisement for the competition then seeing the host stadium half empty.
3. Having the games three months apart instantly kills any attention the tournament gets.
Why not do this in the summer? Every odd-numbered year, pick a host nation, hold the games over the course of a week or two. Spread the games around the country, have all of the top players available, no clashing with domestic leagues, get some excitement going? You might even be able to get England involved. Instead we have this mess.
As for the game itself, very boring. Little imagination from both sides, Ireland just happened to make more chances. Gibson’s was a great effort, Duff’s was a little lucky and the free kick was good. Wales pretty much just gave up when Gibson scored though. Very flat, little tempo.
I don’t think this tournament is going to last very long as it stands.