Football

Irish Player Ratings As O'Neill's Reign Enters End Game Against Wales

Irish Player Ratings As O'Neill's Reign Enters End Game Against Wales

Credit Ireland with imbuing a potentially meaningless competition with more significance than UEFA or John Delaney could ever have imagined it carrying.

The facts: Ireland lost a third competitive game in four matches, and for a second time in a row to Wales. This was only 1-0, but the Welsh team sheet made this far more damning - without Bale, Ramsey and Ampadu Wales were largely lobotomised from open play and relied on a callow team in which five starters were under-21.

Some more facts: Ireland are going to be relegated from the Nations League and will be third seeds in the draw for the Euro 2020 qualifiers; Ireland didn't show any urgency to win a must-win game until they fell behind; Ireland showed no discernible plan of how to chase the game once they had to.

One final fact that lends us to forecast: Ireland were booed off.....Martin O'Neill's reign is entering its endgame.

Darren Randolph - 5 

Had little to do, but what he had to do he did poorly - easily beaten on Wilson's free-kick, although he may have a case for the prosecution of his wall. Came forward for the final corner, which was cool.

Matt Doherty - 5 

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Our latest ostracised hero has been brought in from the cold to show that no one player can cure our myriad ills. Largely anonymous throughout.

Richard Keogh - 6

Was pretty untroubled in open play, such was the lack of Welsh threat from open play.

Shane Duffy - 6

Physically dominated Roberts, and generally played reasonably well: he was largely untested by Wales' callow attack. An ineffective battering ram in the Welsh penalty area.

Kevin Long - 6 

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Long made way after 75 minutes for Scott Hogan as O'Neill chucked a pair of dice at the problem. Wales offered little threat from open play during his time on the field, and he did....fine.

James McClean - 6

Worked hard as you expect, but much like a hamster running around a wheel, broke a generous sweat while going nowhere. His crossing was dreadful, and waited until the 48th minute to pick up the customary yellow card. (This one came with a bit of novelty - it rules him out of the Denmark game). His attacking influence is greatly denuded at left wing-back. Did extremely well to cover back and prevent Wales scoring a second with twenty minutes left. As Ireland chased a goal, McClean ended up at left-back. Why?

Harry Arter - 5 

Moronic concession of the free-kick that led to the Welsh goal. Generally passed the ball sideways and backwards with competence, but offered little besides.

Cyrus Christie - 6

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Continuing in midfield, Christie was at the vanguard of the Irish Ethic of assiduously chasing after the balls they had given away seconds previously. Christie's work-rate is outstanding, but he was played ludicrously out of position. The Christie Paradox was summed up early on: he closed down Smith brilliantly to fashion a glorious chance, but panicked and took a tame shot first-time. Vanished in the second-half. Why has he been playing in midfield?

Jeff Hendrick - 6 

Hendrick at least showed a willingness to hover around and offer a passing option for the teammate in midfield, and if you think that shouldn't warrant a mention....then you didn't see the Denmark game. His passing forward, however, was erratic. Looked perhaps Ireland's most likely player to score as they chased the game, to damn him with the faintest of praise.

Callum Robinson - 7 

Ireland's brightest performer in the first-half. He picked up some intelligent spaces between the lines, and looked the only player on the park capable of beating an opponent and opening the pitch up. The architect of the very few things that Ireland did well, and was unfathomably replaced after Ireland' fell behind.

In the first notable stir of discontent from the Aviva crowd, the decision was met by a chorus of boos. That said, his turning his back on Wilson's free-kick is exactly the kind of conspicuous incident that would exercise the ire of this management team

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Aiden O'Brien - 6 

Lasted 55 lonely, torturous minutes before making way for Shane Long. He worked hard, as you might expect, but struggled physically against Ashley Williams.

Subs

Shane Long - 5 

Booked for a poor dive in the penalty area, and while he cranked up the tempo when he came on, he failed to register a shot either or off target for the third game this year.

Sean Maguire - 4 

Maguire looked the player that he currently is: a payer of talent not yet used to the rigours of international football. He was consistently caught dawdling on the ball, and was brushed aside physically. He needs much more experience at this level.

Scott Hogan - N/A

Did nothing bar shank a cross into the stand, much to the Aviva's ire.

Gavin Cooney
Article written by
Changed the spelling of his name upon pressure from Michael Owen.

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