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Irish Player Ratings As Randolph Stars In Drab Draw With The North

Irish Player Ratings As Randolph Stars In Drab Draw With The North
By Gavin Cooney

Arlene Foster and 31,240 others came to Dublin to endure another dull and desultory Irish performance, which ended 0-0 in spite of Northern Ireland being by far the better team. Gavin Whyte and Jordan Jones spurned glorious opportunities for the North as Ireland once again failed to create a clear-cut chance from play. The game began and ended with a chorus of boos from the home fans: the first round were for God Save The Queen...the second were not.

Here are our Irish player ratings, in which Darren Randolph was, by some distance, Ireland's best performer.

The ratings are (almost) all out 10...

Irish Player Ratings

Darren Randolph: 8 

Made a superb, sprawling save to deny Gavin Whyte a certain goal in the first-half and an equally vital stop from Jordan Jones in the second-half. He was, overall, our best player, but the wait goes on for a quick, short goal-kick. We can dream...

Seamus Coleman: 6 

We have seen little of Coleman at right wing-back for Ireland, a position that should suit him and his country, given that he is often our best attacking outlet. Tonight, however, he was pretty quiet as Ireland struggled to keep the ball.

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Shane Duffy: 7 

The return of Brady made Duffy much more of a threat in the opposition area, and he was typical reliable self in his own penalty area.

John Egan: 7

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Egan was doughty defensively, clearing virtually everything that came his way. Of the two defenders offered the chance to impress, Egan can be much happier with his evening.

Darragh Lenihan: 3

Playing on the right of a back three, Meath's first-ever Irish international struggled. His touch was poor, he consistently lost possession and was frequently exposed by George Saville and Stuart Dallas. It was his mistakes that led to a couple of glorious Northern Ireland chances that were superbly denied by Randolph.

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James McClean: 6

McClean was, unsurprisingly, a magnet for the night's passions. His every touch was met by boos from the Northern Ireland fans, which was countered with a wave of adulation from the home support. He made little impact on the ball, but looked better when he pushed close to Robinson in the second-half. As continues to happen him at left wing-back, he spent much of the game too deep.

Glenn Whelan: 85 

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A fine final night from Whelan, who showed glimpses of what he has offered throughout his much-maligned international career. He mopped up ball, as always available for a pass, and it was notable how well he led a midfield press, often finding himself ahead of Brady and Hendrick before cajoling them up the field. This was a facet of Ireland's play O'Neill bemoaned after the home draw to Denmark last month, and is a quality that has perhaps perished in Whelan's absence.

He jogged off after 35 minutes to a rapturous farewell, and may well be missed.

Robbie Brady:6

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His return brought an immediate and exponential improvement in the quality of Ireland's set-pieces, meaning that Shane Duffy returned to his weaponised 2017 self. Sloppy from open-play, however.

Jeff Hendrick: 4

Hendrick made virtually no impact on the game, and was at his most conspicuous when conceding clumsy fouls.

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Callum O'Dowda: 4

O'Dowda has a deeply frustrating proclivity for taking too many touches on the ball, and so it proved again tonight. Clever play by Coleman and Robinson - the latter the first back-heel the Aviva has seen in months - was squandered by O'Dowda, who took three too many touches and lost possession. Hooked at half-time for Ronan Curtis.

Callum Robinson: 6 

Robinson again looked bright and pacy without making any kind of substantial impact. He is crying out for a strike partner with whom to play quick, short passes.

Subs 

Conor Hourihane: 5 

Replaced Whelan and made no impact in an Irish midfield that couldn't hang onto the ball.

Ronan Curtis: 5 

A half-time replacement for O'Dowda, the Portsmouth striker showed more conviction on the ball than the man he replaced. He did, however, struggle physically, but will hopefully improve.

Enda Stevens: 5

Came on for McClean and played at left wing-back, naturally to less fanfare than the man he replaced. Earned a corner with a decent foray into the penalty and shot, and deserves a shot in that position against the Danes given that McClean is suspended.

Seani Maguire: N/A 

Lasted just 13 minutes before making way because of injury. We hope it isn't related to his troublesome hamstrings...

Scott Hogan: N/A

Didn't have a sniff as Maguire's replacement.

Cyrus Christie: N/A

Played six minutes on the right of midfield, rather than in the centre. Progress?


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