The vast majority of Ireland fans would have been very happy with the team's performance against France. While they would ultimately lose the game 1-0, the display they put in against one of the best teams in world football would have inspired plenty of confidence about what is to come over the remainder of the campaign.
Stephen Kenny's side were limited to defending for most of the game, something they did brilliantly. Up against side with some world class attacking talent, they conceded very few chances and were only beaten by a fantastic goal from distance.
In an attacking sense, there were some things to be positive about. While defensive, it wasn't entirely the 'backs against the wall' type of display we have become accustomed to seeing from Irish sides in the past. Ireland did attempt to play football when they could and had a clear structure to their attacking play.
Despite this, not everyone was impressed with their approach. Brian Kerr made some waves with his comments after the game, with others also seeing the French performance as little more than a moral victory.
Richard Dunne uncertain by Stephen Kenny's Ireland approach
Stephen Kenny has put an emphasis on Ireland trying to impose themselves on the game regardless of the quality of the opposition. That can be difficult at times, but the effects of such an approach were seen on Monday night as game plan against France was carried out to a very high standard.
However, some feel this approach may actually be holding Ireland back.
Richard Dunne was part of some famous games in an Ireland shirt, many of which relied heavily on him producing some heroic antics at the back and the team holding on for dear life to eek out a positive result.
Under previous managers, the Irish approach against quality opposition was to get the ball up the far end of pitch as possible and hope for a lucky break from a set-piece or opposition mistake.
Speaking on Virgin Media last night, Dunne suggested that Stephen Kenny's refusal to return to that approach in certain games could actually be holding the team back.
Dunne & Kerr:
"We seem to avoid our strengths sometimes.
"It's not about Stephen's way or your way or my way, it's about Ireland getting results.
"The style has changed a bit. Stephen was a bit overambitious in his early talk.
"Results are the be all and end all."#COYBIG pic.twitter.com/5XCXM6F4aK
— Virgin Media Sport (@VMSportIE) March 28, 2023
It's difficult because when you're playing some of the best sides in world football, there are games where you're going to have to rely on your strengths.
We seem to avoid them sometimes and think 'we will resort to that as a last tactic'. Last night, that was our best chance of scoring a goal. Against Portugal and Serbia (in the last qualifying campaign), the only way we will score goals is by putting balls in the box.
That's a way of getting results. It's not about Stephen Kenny's way, or your way or my way, it's about Ireland getting results.
This team isn't getting enough results, so we need to do everything we can to ensure at the end of the game it's not a heroic 1-0 defeat, that it's a 1-1 draw or 1-0 victory. In previous games where we beat Germany at home, we don't dominate the ball but we win the game. That's what's important.
This campaign isn't about patting ourselves on the back and saying we're one of the most comfortable possession teams in Europe, it's about getting results.
Last night, there's a tinge of disappointment within the group about the result considering the performance of France and the opportunities we had at the end.
Dunne does make sense in that Ireland may need to alter their approach against the very best teams, something Ireland did against France. However, returning to long ball tactics that held the side back for so long would be a disastrous move.
It is true that Stephen Kenny will be judged on results during this campaign, but there is little evidence to suggest that they would be improved by returning to the ways of old.