After Mick McCarthy's squad announcement last week, we now have a decent idea of who could line up for Ireland in the opening Euro 2020 Qualifiers at the end of the month. Ronan Curtis celebrated his inclusion with a cracking header against Charlton, while James McClean grabbed the headlines in a very different manner.
There was also some injury news, with Shane Long being withdrawn from Southampton's win over Spurs with a hamstring problem.
Irish Player Ratings
Brighton got a vital 2-1 win away at Crystal Palace on Saturday afternoon, with Shane Duffy putting in yet another stellar performance. The Brighton & Hove Independent gave him an 8/10, saying he was solid as ever.
Harry Arter started for Cardiff as they also secured a massive victory, being given a 7/10 by Wales Online upon his return to the side:
A welcome return to the midfield and made his presence felt early on with big challenges on Anderson and Snodgrass. A bundle of energy and given a standing ovation when replaced by Callum Paterson.
Shane Long was introduced as a half time substitute in Southampton's 2-1 win over Spurs, making a big impact. He set up two gilt edge chances for Nathan Redmond, before suffering an unfortunate hamstring injury and having to be withdrawn himself only 25 into the second half.
Saints Marching were impressed by his performance, giving him a 7/10 for his short time on the pitch.
Matt Doherty played a pivotal part as Wolves almost grabbed a win at Stamford Bridge, eventually drawing 1-1 at Chelsea. The Birmingham Mail gave him an 8/10 for what was 'one of Doherty’s best performances in a Wolves shirt'.
Jeff Hendrick started in Bunley's 4-2 defeat at Anfield, with a quiet afternoon for the midfielder rated at 5/10 by 90min.com.
In the Championship, Alan Browne and Sean Maguire both started for Preston as they continued their playoff push, winning 1-0 away at Blackburn. It was a reasonably quiet afternoon for both, with the pair rated at 6/10 by the Lancashire Evening Post.
One encouraging sign was 23-year old Browne being given the captain's armband for the closing stages when skipper Paul Gallagher was taken off. A big show of faith in a derby game.
A quartet of Irish internationals started for Sheffield United in their 2-0 win over Rotherham. John Egan thoroughly impressed The Star with his dominant performance at the back:
Solid once again and nullified Millers' biggest threat, Michael Smith in the air. Also snuffed one Smith run on the deck out, too, with a fantastic piece of defending. An absolute rock for United this season (8/10).
Enda Stevens, Scott Hogan and David McGoldrick were all rated at 7/10, as The Blades kept themselves within touching distance of the automatic promotion places.
Shaun Williams captained Millwall as they fell to a 2-1 defeat at Bolton, putting in a poor performance as his side moved closer to the relegation zone, with Football.London giving him a 5/10.
Bristol City fell to a 1-0 defeat at home to Leeds, with Callum O'Dowda being withdrawn after an hour, before being rated at 6/10 by the Bristol Post.
Richard Keogh captained Derby as they drew 1-1 with Sheffield Wednesday, moving back into the top six as a result. The Derby Telegraph rated his 'solid' showing as a 7/10.
Conor Hourihane and Glenn Whelan both started for Villa in their eventful 1-0 win over neighbours Birmingham City. The Birmingham Mail gave both players 6/10, mentioning that the pair were a bit sluggish on the ball.
Middlesbrough conceded two goals in the loss to Brentford, but Darren Randolph couldn't really do anything about either of them. The Teeside Gazette gave him a 6/10, mentioning his stunning save to deny Sergi Canos in the second period.
James McClean started for Stoke in their 0-0 draw at QPR, being rated at 7/10 by the Stoke Sentinel. It was an eventful afternoon for the winger, who was at the end of a torrent of abuse from the home supporters. In typical McClean style, it was water off a duck's back.
This tweet got taken down, if was QPR fans absusing McClean about the show of no poppy 🤷🏼♂️ how angry are them little boys, embarrassing to be fair 🤣🤣 #QPRSTK #QPR @QPR 🤦🏼♂️ pic.twitter.com/FOMPkzR3Bj
— Jase 🤸 (@Jase2103) March 9, 2019
Alan Judge played the full 90 minutes as Ipswich drew 1-1 with West Brom, a result which ultimately cost Darren Moore his job at The Hawthorns. Judge was rated at 8/10 by the East Anglian Daily Times, who said this about his showing:
Was all over the pitch this afternoon after clearly being given the licence to roam by Lambert. He makes himself available to team-mates and looks to make his every touch count.
In League 1, Ronan Curtis continued his recent scoring run with this powerful header in the loss at Charlton.
James Collins drew a rare blank as Luton Town's 0-0 drew at Plymouth Argyle, as his side maintained their place at the top of the division.