It is just over a year since Republic of Ireland boss Martin O'Neill and his assistant Roy Keane signed a new two-year deal with the FAI, ending months of will-they-won't-they speculation that dragged on right through Euro 2016.
The Irish boss was forced to field questions nearly every time he met with the press for the duration of the tournament due to the fact that the FAI chief executive John Delaney revealed, on the eve of the Euros, that they had reached a verbal agreement.
With nothing signed, doubts remained.
Finally, ahead of the opening 2018 World Cup qualifying double header against Georgia and Moldova, O'Neill confirmed that his signature (and Keane's) were on the new contracts while also stating his belief that; "My own personal view, and I’ve proved it I think, is that Ireland’s best chance of qualification for the World Cup in Russia lies with myself and Roy Keane."
Fast forward 12 months and sandwiched in-between the return fixtures against Georgia and Moldova, those qualifying chances are really slim as even victory against the latter and second placed Wales in the last two rounds of Group D fixtures next month would not guarantee a place at the World Cup in Russia.
So is O'Neill considering another contract extension this time around?
"As I’ve done every single time that there’s talk about contracts and things like that, I’ll sit down with John when we get an opportunity to do so. It’s always been a pretty open relationship, I’ve never been pushy and we’ll see how things develop."
Will the result in Wales play a part in his decision?
"I’m not so sure about that. I think that qualification for the Euros was excellent. We’re still in with a fighting chance here. And again, I get back to saying that I’ll discuss it when the time is right and we’ll think about it then."
The delight of League of Ireland supporters to see Seani Maguire included in the 32-man squad for the final two group matches may be short-lived because, as ever, it's a provisional selection and there are seven strikers included.
The absence of Burnley's Jonathan Walters due to a knee injury is a massive blow while it would seem that O'Neill is not too certain whether the experience of Maguire and the other two uncapped strikers, Aiden O'Brien and Scott Hogan, is enough for what are two massive games.
"I think that’s a difficult one to consider. I think obviously it’d be nice to have a little bit more experience. These are tough games to go into. We’re losing a couple of players, obviously Jon Walters is a massive loss to us.
"I see that, at least, Daryl Murphy is seemingly staying fit for while which is good news and (David) McGoldrick is coming back to a little bit of form which is also good. But it’d be nice to have these younger players coming in and trying to develop, we’ll see how it goes. And if there’s a natural goalscorer in Hogan and Maguire that would be nice, certainly for the future of the Republic of Ireland."
After a brilliant 2016 in which the Green Army experienced the highs of the big one in France, quickly followed by an encouraging start to the 2018 World Cup campaign with 10 points won from a possible 12 in the first four games, it has all gone a bit pear-shaped.
Four points were dropped at home against Wales and Austria in early 2017, followed more recently by the disappointing performance and draw in Georgia and defeat to Serbia in Dublin, leaving qualification hopes hanging by a thread but O'Neill feels a number of factors should be considered when trying to put a finger on what has gone wrong this year.
"We’ve played a couple of games, we’ve played a few matches at home. We played Wales when we were very, very understrength and we didn’t get beaten in the match. We’ve lost one game in that time.
"We lost against Serbia which I think we were unlucky against. [We] didn’t play particularly well, particularly in the first half against Georgia but created a lot of chances and we’re still in the mix. So we’re still there fighting and we still have a chance."
Despite drawing three and losing one of their four crucial matches this year O'Neill insists that the confidence of the players won't be affected ahead of next month's do-or-die double header.
"Absolutely not. Not at all. The international team changes, as you know. Some players you think that you could hang your hat on are maybe not available. For example, our world class player, Seamus Coleman, got injured against Wales and we’ve had to make do.
"Jon Walters, who was a massive in the Euros is not available. We have to make do but we’ve done that throughout the tournament and we did it before. So, we’re ready to go. I don’t think the players have lost confidence and they know what they have to do.
"For me the total focus is on Moldova. I wouldn’t start to think about Wales. The Wales game will take care of itself if we beat Moldova. We’re going in without a couple of key players. Three or four of them now as it turns out.
"That will be a tough evening for us. It’s a game we have to win obviously and we feel we’re capable of winning both matches but the first game first. I can’t even consider the second match until we play Moldova. This’ll be a tough game for us. If we can win this game, we’ll go in with all the confidence in the world to Wales."