Matt Doherty's international career finally got going at last night. In an eventful night for him more so than anyone, Doherty's Irish story came out of the shadows and was shunted front and centre. For good and bad.
28 in January, it's been a long time coming for Doherty. When you play in the same position as Seamus Coleman, chances are naturally going to be thin on the ground. He had his well publicised clashes with Martin O'Neill. Mick McCarthy made him a part of his plans from day one, but with the squad captain in his preferred position, his outings on the right wing and at left full back felt out of place and lacking balance. Last night, the Wolves man finally got to show what he could do.
Unfortunately for Doherty, he was involved in both goals on the night. The replay of Martin Braithwaite's goal won't be easy watching for him. With Denmark on the counter attack, Doherty fell asleep for a crucial second, letting Braithwaite get the jump on him for a simple goal.
73 mins GOAL DENMARK - Martin Braithwaite gets on the end of a Henrik Dalsgaard cross as the visitors hit the front against the run of playhttps://t.co/ysYaWRki0t #IRDEN #rtesoccer pic.twitter.com/Idard9Uv0Y
— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) November 18, 2019
It was a serious blunder, but it shouldn't undermine a performance that not only nabbed the equaliser but offered Ireland quality, speed, emphasis and invention down the right throughout the game. More importantly, Doherty offered an incredible level of effort for the Irish cause. By the end of the game, he was legless, struggling to get back into position after busting to get to a ball at the end line. He was out on his feet, but remained one of Irleand's most dangerous and involved players in the latter stages. By the final whistle, he looked shattered, mentally and physically.
His interview with Virgin Media after the game showed a man devastated by his team not getting over the line and his own mistake. Mick McCarthy mentioned in his post match interview with RTE that he gave him hell for the conceded goal, but forgot to congratulate him on his equaliser. The cut of Doherty was one that was more worried about the former himself.
"It's sickening right now."
A devastated Matt Doherty reacts to tonight's result.#IRLDEN #COYBIG #VMSport pic.twitter.com/jLBZwy3XRC
— Virgin Media Sport (@VMSportIE) November 18, 2019
Mistakes will happen. Goals will be scored. Irish fans want maximum effort from their players, mixed with a desire and intention to play a bit and try some things. Doherty's performance exemplified an Irish performance that ticked both boxes last night. It wasn't enough, but it won't always be. Ireland showed the way they need to go about things last night.
SEE ALSO: 'It's Always A Kick In The Nuts' - McCarthy In Defiant Mood After Danish Draw