When Martin O & # 39; Neill last played in Dublin, he defiantly declared that Ireland would qualify for Euro 2020 because "he was good".
There is no doubt that faith persists, but the Irish manager was a bit more reflective yesterday when asked how he would describe the year so far.
"It has not been good, no," he answered. "The international (friendlies) were tough, it was a tough old year, but we have to fight back."
Does he carry this load?
"Of course, why should not I?" he has answered. "But we beat each other once and qualified for a tournament in France. (Then) we were beaten in the play-offs of the (World Cup), but we qualified for the play-offs, that's the point.
"Well, let's try to defend ourselves, see where these games lead us, and try to scream back."
However, his recent squad announcements were not known for their positive attitude. This is due to the shadow of Declan Rice, who got stuck in the fall and in the announcement before the games with Northern Ireland and Denmark inevitably straightened his head.
O & Neill does not believe Rice had a second meeting with Gareth Southgate in the last few weeks.
Although the Derryman can not read too much in body language and sound, he made some caution during his conference at SSE Airtricity Headquarters.
There have been repeated indications of factors that could influence Rice's direction towards England, especially with regard to the commercial aspects of things and the influence of his new agent.
"I do not think Gareth (Southgate) walked honestly and promised him the earth at the end of the day," said O'Neill, who admitted that it was a simple reality that Rice England's regular participation in Dur noticed tournaments compared to Ireland.
"I think he (Southgate) said," I think you're a really decent player, look at the competition we have, but look at what you can do – that's the decision entirely with you. "
"Plus, if it's really commercially very important for a person to choose England, then it has to be a consideration, I honestly do not think that's the main idea in the family, I really do not
"The contractual situation is probably something that is most important in his mind, but I think the family wants him to make a decision before the end of the year."
You are not alone in this view.
The 36-member group features some notable names that will be cut off over the weekend.
Seamus Coleman and Robbie Brady are back, but James McCarthy met this camp too early with Everton.
Caoimhin Kelleher (Liverpool), Ryan Manning (Rotherham), Jimmy Dunne (Hearts) and Michael Obafemi (Southampton) are the four new calls, although it would be a surprise if they all made the final cut.
O & Neil is convinced that Dunne and Obafemi are committed despite competing interests, and their social media messages from yesterday have shown this.
He called Dunne when he reported that Northern Ireland had been thrilled, while Irish U-19 chief Tom Mohan said that the senior manager had no problem with the Dublin-born Obafemi, who has Nigerian parents and as a child to England moved.
The latter is a fast forward in the books of a Premier League club, so his progress will be interesting, with O Neill referring to the "big league" again when he is pressed on to other players.
He enjoyed the friction of the FAI Cup final on Sunday, but the only player in his mind would be Dundalk winger Michael Duffy, who is currently transferring from Northern Ireland.
Patrick McEleney's brief stay in Oldham was indirectly referenced. Stephen Kenny's recent criticism of the perception that Irish players can not play was made to O Neill, but he effectively struck off the comment.
"If you go straight back to Jack Charlton, he was criticized for directing style and skipping a great player in Liam Brady," said O & Neil.
"But I've talked to Roy Keane and Robbie Keane, who said it was always like that … They hope things will change over time, they also have to try to win some football games, that's it the idea. "
With a win of seven in 2018, you'll feel like you'll win one, no matter how you achieve it.
Provisional cadre of the Republic of Ireland
Goalkeepers: D. Randolph (Middlesbrough), C. Doyle (Hearts), C. Kelleher (Liverpool), S. McDermott (Kristiansund BK).
Defenders: S. Coleman (Everton), C. Christie (Fulham), M. Doherty (Wolves), R. Keogh (Derby), S. Duffy (Brighton), C. Clark (Newcastle United), K. Long (Burnley ), J. Dunne (Hearts *). ), J. Egan, E. Stevens (Sheffield Utd), D. Lenihan, D. Williams (Blackburn Rvs), G. Cunningham (Cardiff City).
Midfield players: R. Brady, J. Hendrick (Burnley), H. Arter (Cardiff City *), C. Hourihane, G. Whelan (Aston Villa), D. Meyler (Reading), A. Browne (Preston), S. Williams (Millwall), R. Towell, R Manning (Rotherham Utd *), C. O & D Dowda (Bristol City), J. McClean (Stoke City).
Forward: S Long, M Obafemi, S Hogan, S Maguire, C Robinson (Preston), A O, Brien, R Curtis.
* Indicates that the player is on loan