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Ireland Player Ratings From A Frustrating Nations League Draw With Wales

Ireland Player Ratings From A Frustrating Nations League Draw With Wales
By Gary Connaughton Updated

Gary Connaughton reporting from the Aviva Stadium

Another Ireland game, another draw. It seems we love nothing more than a draw in the UEFA Nations League, with Ireland yet to win any of their seven fixtures in the competition.

The meeting with Wales did once again show our improved proficiency on the ball, but the conviction in attack was lacking.

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

Ireland Player Ratings

Darren Randolph - 6

Made an impressive save after 26 minutes, stopping the first real attempt from either side in the game.

He perhaps got away with one when he made contact with the head of a Welshman in the box after dropping a cross, but the referee deemed it as a foul on the goalkeeper when it could have well been a penalty.

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Matt Doherty - 7

Looked threatening down the right early in the game, but he was forced to move to centre back after Kevin Long was withdrawn due to injury.

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He looked surprisingly comfortable so out of position, making a few vital defensive interventions. A good showing in difficult circumstances.

 

Shane Duffy - 7

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Got on an incredible amount of ball in the opening stages as Wales seemed happy to concede possession to Ireland, although many of his passes into midfield were immediately returned to him.

Duffy looked stern in defence and has seemingly silenced any doubts about his ability to be effective in Stephen Kenny's system for now. Looked typically dangerous from set-pieces in the opposition penalty area as well, nearly connecting with the ball on a couple of occasions.

 

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Kevin Long - 6

Had essentially no defensive work to do during his time on the pitch, although he did pass the ball around nicely at times. Replaced after 25 minutes due to a head injury sustained because of a stray elbow from a Welsh player.

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Enda Stevens - 7

Stevens defended well in the opening half on the occasions he was asked to. He didn't get forward too often in the opening 45 minutes, but he laid a chance on a plate for Shane Long with a gorgeous cross in the 55th minute that the striker was unable to convert.

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After getting forward a bit more in the second half, it was a decent showing for the left back.

 

Jayson Molumby - 7

Busy in making himself available for the ball, the large gap between Molumby and the forwards made transitioning between the lines difficult at times. He was a willing runner throughout, giving the pass and making a run beyond the man who received the ball.

The 21-year pressed relentlessly throughout, acting as the live wire in midfield.

 

Conor Hourihane - 6

Hourihane also struggled to close that gap with the forward players, but was largely down to the lack of available options in front of him.

The Aston Villa man was more effective in defence this afternoon, something that was a weakness in Slovakia. We still would have hoped for a little bit more on the ball, however.

 

 

Jeff Hendrick - 5

Playing higher up the pitch once again this afternoon, Hendrick failed to adequately link the play between the sitting midfielders and the front three. He didn't show enough for the ball, although the Welsh were admittedly very well organised.

He showed a couple of flashes, but ultimately had very little impact on or off the ball.

 

Robbie Brady - 7

Without doubt Ireland's best player in the opening half, Brady was the one trying to make things happen in forward areas, even if it didn't always come off.

He came agonisingly close to opening the scoring just after the half hour mark, with his curling effort from the edge of the penalty area whistling a matter of inches away from finding the top corner. His long pass in behind to play through Jeff Hendrick. a few moments later was exquisite.

He continued to try things in the second half, although not to the same effect. Replaced by Daryl Horgan in the 74th minute.

 

Shane Long - 6

Making his first start for Ireland since October 2018, Long worked hard up front. He set the tone in terms of Ireland's pressing, but his touch did let him down on a couple of occasions when he had the chance to release runners from midfielder in behind the Welsh defence.

He had a golden opportunity to score early in the second half, but his header looped over the bar despite being in an acre of space in the Wales box. He put in a good shift but things didn't really fall his way, before being replaced by Sean Maguire.

 

James McClean - 5

McClean was often forced to drop deep in search of possession in the opening half, but he struggled to move the ball along the ground in the same manner as some of his teammates.

The Stoke winger was more effective in forward areas this afternoon in comparison to his performance in midweek. However, he was sent off late on after two needless lunging challenges late on, and at a time when Ireland were beginning to ask a few questions of the opposition.

 

Substitutes

Cyrus Christie - 7

Christie looked very good down the right after coming on in the first half, linking up nicely with Robbie Brady.

That influence wained a bit in the second period, but the right back was still excellent in defence.

 

Daryl Horgan - 7

Looked incredibly lively right after coming on, almost setting up two chances for his teammates within the first couple of minutes. He had two bits of the cherry himself a couple of moments later, with his header blocked before he steered the second attempt over the bar.

 

Sean Maguire - 6

The Preston man was able to link up the play more effectively than Shane Long after his introduction. He tried to run in behind, but got little space from the Wales defence.

 

Josh Cullen - N/A

Not on long enough to rate.

 

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