Everton 4 Aston Villa 1
It was supposed to be a brilliant week for the Irish and anyone with the name O'Leary in particular. But the eyes that smiled kindly on his fellow countrymen at Cheltenham and Twickenham studiously avoided poor David O'Leary.
This has not been a nice week for the Villa boss. While one O'Leary basked in the glow of winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup, this O'Leary was out of the FA Cup and not getting such a pleasant reception.
Sure, the Villa fans sang his name at Goodison Park but they were not the sort of terrace chants he wanted to hear.
Admittedly, Villa's failings were down to their lack of ability to defend well enough, not through any lack of effort. And, in O'Leary's defence, his defence is a department decimated by injury and by the board's failure to back him.
But whether the criticism of him is fair or not, for the first time since he took charge nearly three years ago, O'Leary was made to realise just how ugly the mood against him on the terraces is. To hear Villa's travelling fans loudly proclaim "We want O'Leary out" is a serious litmus test of public opinion. The fact that half Villa's away following were casualties of the usual traffic jam on the M6 merely served to lessen the vocal impact.
There were, of course, the usual mitigating circumstances. Quite apart from this still being such a difficult time for the club, when they remain up for sale but seemingly unsaleable, O'Leary had his usual crop of personnel problems.
Villa were without three of their four main strikers, virus-hit Kevin Phillips, and injured duo Juan Pablo Angel and Milan Baros, whose absence did little to dispel the theory that they are saving themselves for better things.
That was on top of the season-long absentee Martin Laursen, Mark Delaney and James Milner, whose health has been the subject of much debate this week.
To add more sickness to the insults and injuries, O'Leary lost Aaron Hughes within the first half-hour as he gave in to the same bug that had sidelined Phillips and supposedly Milner too.
And that once again raised the same questions as to why, at a time when he had steered Villa to 12th in the table after their promising Christmas, O'Leary was not given the chance to strengthen the squad in January.
On this occasion,he was left with little option but to play an untried strikeforce of 19-year-old Gabriel Agbonlahor and 20-year-old Luke Moore. But, hard though they tried and encouraging though Agbonlahor's debut goal was, it remained scant consolation for Villa's third away defeat in eight days.
It was not a lack of creative input going forward that did for Villa. It was their season-long failings at the back. And it just rubbed salt in open wounds that it should have been James Beattie, the most high-profile of all O'Leary's previous targets, who set Everton on their way.
Beattie outmuscled Liam Ridgewell to get on the end of Alan Stubbs' long free-kick, cushioned a header back for James McFadden and the Scotsman drilled home from the edge of the box.
Beattie was also there at the end to provide the back-heel which set up Tim Cahill to complete the scoring in the last minute. And, in between, he was a persistent thorn in the side of young Ridgewell and skipper Olof Mellberg.
As always, there could have been a different outcome had Villa got something from their immediate, heartening response to that early goal.
Steven Davis, the one Villa player who did look truly ready to stand up and be counted, burst into the box and beat Everton keeper Richard Wright, only to have his effort cleared off the line by Gary Naysmith.
From the resulting corner, Everton had a double escape, McFadden blocked Moore's goalbound header before Davis was denied from the rebound when Cahill diverted his header over.
Instead of making it 1-1, Villa went 2-0 down. After Leon Osman had tested Thomas Sorensen's handling, Villa were again exposed down the middle.
From Phil Neville's throw, McFadden got enough of a touch at the near post to fox Sorensen, the ball flew across the face of goal and back off the inside of the post. And Cahill was first to react to turn the ball over the line. The feeling that Villa were right up against it was heightened when the visitors also lost Wilfred Bouma, who disappeared for several minutes to have treatment for a cut head. But Everton were in no mood to show mercy.
Cahill sent Mikel Arteta away down the left, he skipped past substitute Jlloyd Samuel to cross and Osman stole in from behind Bouma to tuck the ball away.
It actually took the arrival of Lee Hendrie to trigger Villa's best spell after the break.
Hendrie is one of those now expendable Villa players, like Angel, Ulises de la Cruz and Eric Djemba-Djemba, who would probably already be gone if the club could find buyers. For now, however, he has to see afternoons like this as a shop window and a lively half-hour will certainly have not dissuaded any potential suitors.
Hendrie was involved in Villa's goal, touching the ball on for Agbonlahor from Davis's original prompting. Agbonlahor did the rest, beating Wright from a tight angle. And the teenage striker then could really have put the cat among the pigeons if Wright had not thwarted him from close range after again being set free by Davis.
But Villa's revival was ended by that killer fourth from Cahill. And that confirmed the club's heaviest defeat in 24 visits to Goodison since a 5-0 caning in August 1982.