Finland 1 – 0 Republic of Ireland.
The long wait for a goal goes on for Irish fans as the Republic of Ireland fell to a 1-0 defeat in Helsinki on Wednesday evening.
Compounding a miserable international break for the Irish, Finland secured victory in the Uefa Nations League after capitalising on an error from goalkeeper Darren Randolph.
But the visitors’ goal didn’t come and it proved to be another disappointing day at the office for the Boys in Green.
Finland vs. Republic of Ireland player ratings
Darren Randolph – 4
Randolph’s mistake led to Finland’s opener and while his intervention wasn’t required from a number of Teemu Pukki efforts, the Irish ‘keeper gave it away thoughtlessly to gift the hosts a goal from Fredrik Jensen.
Matt Doherty – 5
Caught out of position a couple of times but Doherty’s desire to press went largely unpunished. Tottenham’s summer signing displayed some remarkable composure when under pressure at one point in particular. Doherty was unlucky not to latch on to one Hendrick pass in the Finnish box before half-time but he gave the ball away more than usual.
Shane Duffy – 6
Duffy went untested for the most part at the back but the referee kept a keen eye on the Celtic centre-half from attacking set-pieces and didn’t hesitate to punish. Whenever Doherty found himself out of position, Duffy was there to mop up and he got himself close to a couple of Pukki shots that ended up off target.
Dara O’Shea – 7
Making his senior international debut, Dara O’Shea showed some early aggression and didn’t give away any hint that the occasion might get to him. The West Brom defender put in some important tackles, made his presence felt in the air and looked right at home in the heart of the Irish defence despite the late Finland goal.
Enda Stevens – 5
Sheffield United’s Stevens didn’t have as prominent a game as he did against Wales on Sunday and conceded possession at one point that resulted in one of Finland’s clearest chances. Some improvisation from Stevens in the Finland box almost gave Ireland a lead after an hour but it glanced off the crossbar.
Jayson Molumby – 6
Won the ball back well in midfield and looked determined to get his side forward, refusing to go down when pulled back on the half-hour mark as he had runners in front of him. Faded as the game went on.
Conor Hourihane – 6
Took up a deep role and was constantly looking for runners up ahead, setting up one of Ireland’s most threatening attacks with some quick-thinking from a free kick and the Corkman looked dangerous from set-pieces, as always.
Jeff Hendrick – 6
Made his strategy known early on with his desire to push forward. Hendrick had one of the best chances of the first half but couldn’t find a home for a Daryl Horgan lay-off. A lot of energy exerted but few chances created.
Daryl Horgan – 5
Tracked back well in the first half and kept his head on a swivel in the opposition half. Horgan set up Hendrick for a first-time shot at goal but the effort was blocked. The ex-Dundalk star broke at speed on the rare occasion space appeared in front of him but gave the ball away on multiple occasions before being replaced.
Aaron Connolly – 7
Typically tenacious, Connolly played quite a bit with his back towards the Finland goal but won multiple free kicks and held up play when waiting for support. The Galwegian came off worse for wear in one particular challenge in the first half but, credit to him, he continued without complaint and attempted to whip in a shot moments later.
Sean Maguire – 6
Occupied a centre-forward position reliably and led the press from the front. Maguire displayed some great vision with an early pull-back that came to nothing. Although unable to affect the result, it was a decent performance from the former Cork City man but Maguire should have done better when set up by Connolly shortly before half-time.
Robbie Brady – 6
Brady came on for Maguire early on in the second half and took up his preferred role on the right-hand side. Threw himself into one of his first tackles but failed to gather a straightforward ball that could have set up an opportunity. Swung in a few decent crosses.
Ronan Curtis – 6
Came the closest to an Ireland goal with a late header which proved to be the only moment of note from his cameo.