Football

Irish Player Ratings: Two Forgotten Men Making Strong Case For Ireland Return

Irish Player Ratings: Two Forgotten Men Making Strong Case For Ireland Return

It was another good week for our internationals. James McCarthy and Shane Long both continued their strong run of form to give Ireland manager Mick McCarthy much to ponder, while Darren Randolph made his return to the Premier League.

Elsewhere, a number of our U21 internationals shone in the Championship. Here's the ratings in full.

Irish Player Ratings

Aaron Connolly was back in the Brighton team for the 1-1 draw with Aston Villa. He put in a hard working  display to earn a 6/10 from the Brighton & Hove Independent, who said he was unlucky not to be rewarded with a goal. Conor Hourihane came off the bench for the visitors.

James McCarthy starred for Crystal Palace in their 2-2 draw with Manchester City. The former Everton man has started four of his side's last five league games, playing the full 90 minutes in each of them.

He finally seems to have returned to full fitness and is winning plenty of plaudits from Palace supporters.

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He has certainly played his way back into the Ireland squad, and if he can continue this form should be in with a great chance of starting against Slovakia.

Speaking of players who have rediscovered their form, Shane Long found the back of the net at the weekend. The Southampton striker has been playing incredibly well in recent weeks and was finally rewarded with a goal for his efforts.

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He also hit the post in the second half, and while his side would squander their goal advantage, he mustered a 7/10 rating from Saints Marching. Like McCarthy, he must surely be in Mick McCarthy's plans for the upcoming Euro 2020 play-offs.

Matt Doherty started for Wolves in that one, not putting his usual level of performance. The Express & Star mentioned he looked 'leggy' and 'in need of a rest', although he did improve during the second half in a 5/10 showing.

Darren Randolph was drafted straight into the West Ham team after he completed his move from Middlesbrough last week, but was asked very few questions in the draw with Everton. He got a 6/10 from Football.London who said he had little to do.

In opposition was Seamus Coleman, with the Ireland captain playing the full 90 minutes in his natural right back role. The Liverpool Echo say he struggled for the first hour but improved after the introduction of Djibril Sidibe offered more protection in front of him. He was marked as a 6/10.

Sheffield United continued their impressive away form with a 1-1 draw at Arsenal. John Egan and Enda Stevens both started the game, earning ratings of 8/10 and 7/10 respectively from the Sheffield Star. Callum Robinson came off the bench, while David McGoldrick missed out due to a knock.

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Ciaran Clark continued his strong form for Newcastle as they secured a dramatic 1-0 win over Chelsea. He was given an 8/10 by Chronicle Live, who have been massively impressed with his form in recent weeks.

Jeff Hendrick started on the right of midfield in Burnley's 2-1 win over Leicester, putting in an industrious performance to earn a 6/10 rating by the Burnley Express.

In the Championship, Harry Arter came off the bench in Fulham's 1-0 win over Middlesbrough on Friday night.

Conor Masterson played the full 90 minutes for QPR as they beat Leeds 1-0 at home. It was a first league start for the player, putting in a strong 8/10 display according to the Kilburn Times.

Jason Knight continued his run in the Derby team as they won 1-0 against Hull. He was given 7/10 by the Derby Telegraph, who said his 'tenacity' is now key to the way his team play.

Another player making a strong case for a place in the Ireland squad, Jayson Molumby impressed for Millwall once again over the weekend. He played the full 90 minutes in the 2-0 win over Reading as his side continued their recent promotion push. The full range of his skills were on show in that one.

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Darragh Lenihan found the back of the net on his 150th start for Blackburn, finishing impressively on the volley.

He was given an 8/10 by Lancs Live for his performance in the 5-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday, with the player heavily linked with a move to the Premier League this month.

Callum O'Dowda came off the bench in Bristol City's 1-0 home win against Barnsley.

Alan Browne and Sean Maguire were in the Preston team for their 2-1 win over Charlton. Both players were given 6/10 by the Lancashire Evening Post, with Browne captaining the side.

James Collins played the full 90 minutes as Luton Town lost 3-1 at Nottingham Forest, compounding their position at the bottom of the table. He was rated at 6/10 by Luton Today.

SEE ALSO: McCarthy Stresses Form, But Will He Practice What He Preaches In Irish Midfield?

Gary Connaughton

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