Things have been looking up for Irish football lately, with a number of positive signs in recent weeks. Michael Obafemi has made his mark in the Premier League, while Troy Parrott seems on the verge of a first team breakthrough at Spurs despite being only 16-years old.
This weekend's performances were not all that impressive however, despite a couple of notable exceptions. Matt Doherty and Shane Duffy were the standout players, while Seamus Coleman continued his recent dreadful run. Take a look at the ratings in full:
Irish Player Ratings
Shane Duffy returned to action as Brighton defeated Everton 1-0 at home, with the Brighton & Hove Independent very encouraged by his performance:
Dominant in the air when Albion defended set-pieces against the club where he began his career. At the halfway stage of the campaign is right in the running for Brighton's player of the season (8/10).
Seamus Coleman started that game for the visitors, continuing his recent dismal run of form. The Liverpool Echo gave him a 5/10, saying that he has lost some of the attacking confidence that we have long associated with the player.
Wolves pulled off a stunning 3-1 victory at Wembley Stadium, and Matt Doherty was instrumental once again. He registered an assist for their final goal, with the Express and Star giving him an 8/10. Despite also being a major force going forward, Doherty still registered more tackles and clearances than any other Wolves player.
Cyrus Christie played the full 90 minutes for Fulham in their late victory over Huddersfield, but was only given a 5/10 by Football.London.
Harry Arter and Greg Cunningham both started for Cardiff in their surprise win at Leicester City, with Wales Online giving them a 7/10 and 8/10 respectively. With the left back spot very much up for grabs in the Ireland team, Cunningham will be hoping to push on from this strong performance.
Callum O'Dowda started for Bristol City in their 1-0 victory over Rotherham but was unable to continue his strong recent form, being substituted in the second half and being rated at 6/10 by the Bristol Post. Richie Towell was in midfield for Rotherham in that game, but received a straight red card after 72 minutes. That was a costly incident, with the home side securing the win late on.
Graham Burke started for Preston in their 1-1 draw with Aston Villa, with Sean Maguire and Alan Browne missing out through injury. He was given an 8/10 by the Lancashire Evening Post, who mentioned he was well-suited to playing just off the striker.
Conor Hourihane played for the visitors, but was rated at 5.5/10 by the Birmingham Mail on a disappointing afternoon for Villa.
David McGoldrick scored as Sheffield United hammered Blackburn 3-0. He was given a 6/10 by The Star, with compatriots John Egan and Enda Stevens rated at 6/10 and 7/10 respectively. That result leave the club in fourth spot, four points off the automatic promotion places.
It was an afternoon to forget for Darragh Lenihan and Derrick Williams in that match, with both players given 5/10 by the Lancashire Telegraph.
James McClean played the full 90 minutes for Stoke in their 0-0 draw at Bolton, being rated at 6/10 by the Stoke Sentinel.
Darren Randolph kept another clean sheet for Middlesbrough in their 2-0 win over Ipswich, with his performance meriting an 8/10 from the Teeside Gazette. He made a couple of key contributions in that game, and it is encouraging to see him rediscover his form after a couple of less than stellar weeks.
Portsmouth returned to the top of League One after a 5-2 win at Fleetwood, with Ronan Curtis playing a big part. While he didn't score, his performance warranted an 8/10 from the Portsmouth News, who mentioned that he was 'full of ideas.'