Dara O'Shea Refuses To Use Excuses For Ireland's Bizarre Armenia Collapse

By Gary Connaughton

Gary Connaughton reporting from the Aviva Stadium

For much of the game against Armenia, it looked as though it would be smooth sailing for Ireland.

The side were utterly dominant over the course of the first 70 or so minutes, with the visitors having hardly had a shot in anger at Gavin Bazunu's goal. Goals from John Egan and Michael Obafemi had the hosts on course for a comfortable win and you would have fancied them to get one or two more before the final whistle.

However, as we have seen time and time again during the Stephen Kenny era, things are rarely that straightforward for this team.

Two goals in as many minutes for Armenia had them back on level terms, with real fears developing that Ireland were about to lose the game and suffer relegation in the UEFA Nations League. It was a nervy period, although Robbie Brady's late penalty was enough to get the three points in the end.

It was bizarre to see Ireland go from so dominant to so frail in a matter of moments.

Recommended

Speaking to the media after the game, Dara O'Shea admitted that the way the final 20 minutes had played out meant there were mixed emotions after the game despite having come away with the win.

Advertisement

I suppose I’m glad we won the game, but disappointed with how it went. There was a spell there for 15 minutes where we just completely lost our way and they got two goals back, which is really disappointing because we want to keep clean sheets.

Playing against a better opposition and to compete against them, we’ve got to keep clean sheets. To concede two goals like that against the run of play, it was disappointing that we weren’t set up in the right way and we kind of just lost our way for a bit...

I don’t think we can look at it as a downer. We won the game, which was the main thing. It’s just us, as ourselves, as professional as we want to be, we want to win more comfortably than that.

All in all the campaign probably didn’t go the way we wanted it to go. We probably didn’t get what we deserved either with the performances we put in.

But it’s something to build on going into the friendlies in November and then the start of the Euro campaign.

Of course, this is a side that is still learning its trade in international football terms. Eight of the starting lineup against Armenia were aged 23-years old or younger, as was the case against Scotland at the weekend.

Advertisement

All of those players have established themselves in a green jersey under Stephen Kenny, and while major strides have been made over the last 18 months, they are far from the finished product.

However, O'Shea refused to use the relative lack of experience as an excuse for their shortcomings in this fixture. Instead, he admitted that they had probably got a bit complacent in the game.

I don’t think it will come down to the youthful aspect of it. Obviously we are all experienced in the games we play at club level too. It’s a collective, as a team.

We have got to look at ourselves and obviously it’s disappointing. I’m trying to find words to describe it other than it being disappointing to concede those goals. But we are still glad we’ve got the win and it’s three points...

Just complacency (was the reason), I think.

Obviously it was a game where they dropped deep and we had lots of possession and we were attacking a lot. Maybe we were too attacking at some stage, trying to get an extra goal when the game could have been won at 2-0 if we’d just managed the game better.

I’d probably put it down to that.

O'Shea himself played a big role in earning the three points at the end of the game, with his shot being the one that hit off the arm of the Armenian defender to earn the late penalty. In saying that, he would probably also be the first to admit that he wasn't at his best during that dysfunctional period in the second half.

The West Brom man is still finding his feet at this level. He was among the first young players to make their mark for Ireland under Stephen Kenny, although an injury suffered in the game in Portugal last year left him facing into a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

Advertisement

After easing his way back into first team football towards the end of last season, he has started the current campaign in fine form. That was enough to give him a starting spot over Shane Duffy for the games against Scotland and Armenia.

He will be hoping he has showed enough over the course of the 180 or so minutes to retain that position moving forward.

SEE ALSO: After 18 Months From Hell, Robbie Brady Is Ready To Star For Ireland Again

Copyright © 2022. All rights reserved. Developed by Square1 and powered by PublisherPlus.com

Advertisement