Martin O'Neill named a much stronger side than the one seen against Mexico last Thursday as the boys in green welcomed Uruguay to Dublin for our final friendly before the crucial qualifier clash with Austria.
Before the game, Keith Andrews and Richard Dunne expressed their belief that this was a great opportunity for the players to make their claim for a start against Austria, and the entire side played with far more purpose than we saw in Giants Stadium a few days prior.
And it showed. Ireland looked right up for this one and were comfortably the better side on the day. It felt like a friendly from the 'good old days' as the boys in green never stopped working while the opponents couldn't really match the effort, with the final score being 3-1 to the home side.
In terms of the player ratings, Cyrus Christie and Jon Walters stood out from the pack, but the performances of Harry Arter and Shane Duffy also deserve special mention.
Ireland vs Uruguay player ratings:
Darren Randolph - 3
Having not had much work to do, making a bad mistake that resulted in a goal meant that Randolph's day was the reason for this admittedly harsh rating. After being dropped by West Ham, we maintained that he was yet to put a foot wrong in an Ireland shirt, but he did today and it's clear not having regular football these past few months has dented his confidence after playing most of the season in the Premier League. Nearly tackled by Christian Stuani as well, we've got faith in him, but today was a shaky one..
Cyrus Christie - 9
Cyrus, behave yourself! Our best player by a mile against Mexico, possibly our only good player on the night, Christie looks very much like he knows how big a task filling in for Seamus Coleman is and he's visibly grown in an Ireland shirt since. He was already playing well and linking up with Robbie Brady before his goal, but that was just the cherry on top. From 1st minute to 90th, a fine performance. Well done.
Shane Duffy - 8
A strong, commanding performance from Duffy at the back, best summed up by a 2 minute spell in the first half where he nearly scored from a Brady free kick, the clattered an opposition player in a clean challenge, before bollocking his teammates for having had to make it. Lead well with an inexperience partner, can still be a tad rash at times but a player that will be key for us in the coming years.
Kevin Long - 6
A very solid first start for the Corkman, who barely put a foot wrong and looked comfortable in an Ireland shirt. Will be a useful man to have around our squads going forward, hopefully he can see a bit more action at club level next season.
Stephen Ward - 5
Barely put a foot wrong but we were expecting some more roaming forward from Wardy as he's shown himself to be more than capable of offering that support over the past 12 months. Didn't link up particularly well with Johnny Hayes but was solid defensively.
Glenn Whelan - 6
A solid display from a solid individual, Glenn was only given 45 minutes of football but did what he always does by keeping us ticking over in midfield, and was involved in most of our good moves while on the pitch. Likely to start against Austria.
Harry Arter - 7
Another good, combative performance by Arter who covers so much ground and did more against Uruguay than the entire midfield put together against Mexico. As useful on the ball as he is off it, if he wasn't an automatic yellow card in competitive matches he's been a certain starter going forward.
Jeff Hendrick - 6
A bit quiet from Jeff today, but certainly not a bad performance. Having made such a big impact at Euro 2016 he's struggled a bit to make his mark in the games since, but he's probably our most talented footballer and is still well worth a place in our side.
Robbie Brady - 7
We're just a better football team with Robbie Brady on the pitch, and there's no denying it. Regardless of his free kick delivery that nearly gives us a goal scoring chance every time, he gives our play in midfield purpose and pace, which we badly need.
Johnny Hayes - 6
A solid if unspectacular showing from Hayes, who looks a lively player but is yet to have a big moment in an Ireland jersey. Another useful player to have around as he's a traditional winger, he'll surely have more chances to contribute more in the future but he did OK today.
Jon Walters - 8
Would have been a 9 were it not for that shocking miss, but big Jon still put in a very good performance and looked bloody good in that captain's armband. It was a typical Walters performance, running channels and holding up play well, but his goal showed that he can't be underestimated with ball at feet. Good man, Jon.
Kieran Westwood - 8
After Darren Randolph's first-half mistake, Westwood would have known that he had a chance to get into O'Neill's thinking for the Austria game, and he did all he could with a solid performance and one very good save from a header. Thought of by many as the best keeper in the Championship, is the form with Westwood going into the Austria clash?
Wes Hoolahan - 7
Bright, lively, intelligent... Wes. He did what he does, and you can actually see the players look to play more intricate football just by knowing he is on the pitch.
James McClean - 9
The perfect substitute appearance, his breakaway goal was a joy to watch as he was too quick for the Uruguay defence to handle, and thumped home a finish just like he did vs Austria in Vienna. Great goal. Absolutely love that man.