So Eddie O’Sullivan steps down as Ireland coach. First a disappointing World Cup campaign. Then a series of poor performances in the Six Nations. Somewhere along the way, the Irish team had stopped performing for their leader.
Whilst O’Sullivan can look back on many successful sorties, his record will be blighted by a sense of what might have been. Talent, not matched by achievement on the world stage.
Somehow, there was the sense with Eddie O’Sullivan, that he wasn’t able to step back and see the bigger picture. That is, better understand the dynamics that were causing his team to underachieve. Whether it be personal differences between the players or his own management style, something seemed not right at the heart of the Irish team, in these last two campaigns.
Perhaps he lacked someone to confide in. To share his concerns. Or someone strong enough to help him overcome his own leadership limitations. Help him see the real reasons why he was not getting the best out of his team. Either way, Eddie O’Sullivan has paid the price.
It’s not easy being head coach of a national team. As the team grow and develop, so do you. But maybe the Irish team and their coach stopped growing at the same time.