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Ireland Player Ratings As Chiedozie Ogbene Goal Spares Team's Blushes Against Latvia

Ireland Player Ratings As Chiedozie Ogbene Goal Spares Team's Blushes Against Latvia
Gary Connaughton
By Gary Connaughton
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Gary Connaughton reporting from the Aviva Stadium

It was a night of mixed emotions for Ireland against Latvia at the Aviva Stadium.

It all started so well, with early goals from Callum O'Dowda and man of the moment Evan Ferguson hinting at a possible rout. The reality was much different, as some complacency from the home side allowed the visitors to score twice and get back on level terms before the interval.

Ireland would manage to recover the situation, and while Chiedozie Ogbene would score a winning goal, the overall showing left plenty of questions marks ahead of the game against France on Monday.

Here's how we rated the performances on the night.

Ireland player ratings against Latvia

Caoimhín Kelleher - 6

There was very little Kelleher could do for the first goal, with the Liverpool man beaten all ends up by the strike from Uldrikis. However, he would have hoped to have done better with the second. While the ball did take a nick off Collins, it was saveable.


He did not have a save to make in the second half. The Cork man is unlikely to have done enough to put his hand up for selection against France.


Andrew Omobamidele - 6


Making his first international appearance in 17 months, the Norwich City man couldn't have asked for a more comfortable return to the side for the first half hour or so. Of course, the two goals before the interval put something of a damper on that. He played a part by failing to clear the ball for the second goal.

He was replaced by John Egan just after the hour mark.




Nathan Collins - 7

Collins had very little to do in the opening half hour in terms of defensive duties, although his deflection did contribute to the second Latvia goal just before the interval.


He was Ireland's most reliable defender on the night.


Dara O'Shea - 6


With Latvia posing little threat in the first 45 minutes, O'Shea's main contributions came on the ball. He showed some lovely touches, going on a couple of dribbles up the pitch. In saying that, it was his botched header that led directly to the second Latvia strike.

He recovered fairly went from that error as the game went on, although there were one or two stray passes in dangerous areas.



Matt Doherty - 6

Doherty was a willing runner down the right flank all night, linking up brilliantly with Smallbone at times. That continued throughout, although you would have perhaps to see more from him in the final third.

His lack of recent football perhaps told as the Dubliner became quite slow on thew ball before being replaced just after hour mark.


Callum O'Dowda - 7

Having been praised heavily by Stephen Kenny in the buildup to the game O'Dowda did not take long to justify his selection. He was the man to score the game's opening goal, timing his run perfectly before meeting a cross at the far post to score his first Ireland goal.

The Cardiff City man was excellent on the ball and looks like a shoe-in to start against France.


Jayson Molumby - 6

Worked typically hard in midfield, acting as the pivot in order to allow Browne and Smallbone to go forward. He should have done better for the opening Latvian goal. While it was a wonder strike, Molumby gave the player far too much space and made no attempt to close down the shot.

His role was a mainly defensive one, although it was disappointing not to see the West Brom man impact the game more with his passing.


Alan Browne - 6


Browne certainly wasn't afraid to get forward in his midfield role, getting into dangerous positions on more than a few occasions. He probably would have hoped to have done better with one opportunity from the edge of the box in the first half, only managing a tame effort at the goalkeeper.

After that, he seemed to fade out of the game. Browne moved to wingback after Doherty's substitution.


Will Smallbone - 8

Making his international debut, it didn't take long for him to show his quality on the ball. It was his magnificent cross that set up the opening goal, expertly picking out Callum O'Dowda at the far post.

Smallbone was the best player on the pitch in the opening half, mixing some nice touches around the box with brilliant crossing ability. His influence did wane somewhat after the interval, although he was still very tidy on the ball.

Ireland's best player on the night.


Evan Ferguson - 7

Had a nervy touch or two in the opening minutes, but quickly grew into the game from that point. Ferguson's link up play was very strong, and he didn't have to wait long for his goal. The finish was a fairly straightforward one, although that didn't temper the celebrations from the home crowd.

The teenager continued to get into good positions throughout the game and was unlucky that the ball didn't fall to him on a couple of occasions. For an 18-year old making his first Ireland start, it was a good night.


Michael Obafemi - 7

Showed brilliant awareness to steer the ball back into the box for Ferguson's goal, his best contribution of what was an otherwise opening quarter. He improved from that point, showing some lovely touches around the box.

He beat opposition defenders on a couple of occasions, and while he didn't score, it was a decent showing from Obafemi.



John Egan - 6

Brought on at a time when Ireland looked somewhat vulnerable at the back, Egan steadied the ship and saw out what was a comfortable closing period.


Chiedozie Ogbene - 7

Was only on the pitch a matter of moments before scoring, reacting quickest to the rebound to finish from close range. Ogbene attempted to raise the pace of Ireland's play, although the Latvians defended quite well.


Mikey Johnston -  8

On for his international debut, Johnston made an immediate impact. It was his driving run that led to Ogbene's goal, with his excellent strike rebounding off the post before falling to the Rotherham man.

He has remarkable pace and almost scored a sensational solo effort in the final ten minutes. You could get a sense as to why Stephen Kenny was so keen to bring him into the squad.

This was a fairly short cameo, but it was an incredibly impressive one.


Troy Parrott - 6

Showed some good movement after coming on but did not receive much service.


James McClean - 6

Came on for the final ten minutes and injected a bit of urgency into the Irish play. Linked up well with Johnston on the left wing.


Jeff Hendrick - N/A

Not on long enough to rate.

SEE ALSO: Evan Ferguson Included On Prestigious List Among World's Top Young Players


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