Last night's game against Scotland was a familiar story for Ireland. They played well for much of the contest, producing some brilliant sequences of play. However, a couple of questionable moments at the back proved to be crucial as they came out on the wrong end of a 2-1 scoreline.
Supporters will be encouraged by some aspects of the performance. Ireland kept the ball fairly well and looked dangerous up front. They probably would have had a couple of more goals were it not for some questionable finishing.
In saying that, it is yet another poor result in this group. Stephen Kenny's side have taken only four points from the 15 that were available to them up to this point, with a game at home to Armenia on Tuesday night still to come.
Damien Delaney hints that Stephen Kenny is getting an easy pass
Ireland have been largely praised for last night's showing despite the final result, something that has been a consistent theme throughout Stephen Kenny's tenure. While they would have been hoping for more wins, they have been impressed with his approach to the game in terms of style of play and bringing through younger players.
That should pay dividends further down the line, but should the Irish manager be facing more scrutiny in the here and now?
Speaking on Virgin Media after last night's game, Damien Delaney said that Ireland are still coming up well short despite some improvements on the pitch. He also hinted that Stephen Kenny is getting an easy ride from the public as he continues to avoid criticism despite the results.
"Coaching comes with responsibility, there's a pressure. I chose not to go down that route cause I didn't want it.
"But if you offered me what Stephen has, carte blanche, results don't matter, I'd be interested!"
- Damien Delaney.#SCOIRL | #COYBIG | #NationsLeague pic.twitter.com/PENOG7KUlT
— Virgin Media Sport (@VMSportIE) September 24, 2022
That's a choice, he has experienced experienced players. He has the likes of Jeff Hendrick, Alan Browne, Robbie Brady on the bench. He has chosen to play that team, it's his choice...
Your point of eight of [last night's team] being under 23, is that an excuse, is it a reason? I don't understand...
So the European qualifiers that start in March, we should qualify for the Euros? I wouldn't be confident at the moment.
I haven't seen the draw yet, but you look at the teams we're playing now. Ukraine are very similar to us, Scotland are very similar to us, and we seem coming out on the wrong end of those...
I think we're lacking the belief, we're lacking a kind of swagger that comes when you get results in games. We got a result against Scotland and I thought we would go in today and put in a better performance.
It was a decent performance, I'm not going to get carried away and say it was a wonderful performance.
At some point there has to be accountability. That's not management.
I'm sitting here with you and I chose to go down this route instead of coaching. With coaching there's a responsibility, there's a pressure, you have to have a ruthless streak in you. I chose not to go down that route because I don't want to.
Of course, this was always going to be a rebuilding job under Stephen Kenny. The team had grown incredibly stale and was badly in need of some fresh blood and a change in approach in order to take it into the 21st century.
That was always going to result in some short term pain, although it would have been hoped that results on the pitch were starting to follow at this stage.
The signs are there that this Irish team could produce in the near future, with the Euro 2024 qualifying campaign likely to be a decisive one for the current manager.