Ireland limped to a 1-0 win over Gibraltar at the Victoria Stadium in Mick McCarthy’s first game back in charge of the Boys in Green.
In a game played in very difficult conditions, the home side kept Ireland scoreless in the first half with the howling wind and the artificial pitch causing McCarthy’s side to struggle.
They opened the scoring early in the second half however when Jeff Hendrick met David McGoldrick’s low ball across the box, to complete a free-flowing move from the Boys in Green.
It was far from an inspiring performance from Ireland but it was a win on McCarthy’s return. Let’s take a look at how we rated the players from the 1-0 win in Gibraltar.
Darren Randolph – 6
The Middlesbrough man wouldn’t have expected to do much in this game and in the first 45 he barely touched the ball.
Randolph, however, saved Ireland’s blushes early in the second thanks to a fantastic save from a Roy Chipolina header and started the move which led to the goal.
He was one of the better performers in a game where he truly shouldn’t have been.
Seamus Coleman -5
The Irish captain started the game well and showed promising attacking down the right but it doesn’t feel like he and Doherty alongside one another is going to work.
In the second half, he was quiet and failed to really influence the game in the way Irish fans know he can. Difficult to suggest he played badly, but Coleman certainly did not stand out.
Richard Keogh – 5
Had a half chance in the first 15 minutes to open the scoring but was hesitant.
Aside from that, Keogh didn’t make too many mistakes but the fact that Gibraltar had a couple of solid opportunities to score is enough to criticise the Irish defence.
Didn’t do enough with John Egan breathing down his neck.
Shane Duffy – 5
The towering centre-half was generally solid but like Keogh, allowing Gibraltar chances as they did is never a good thing.
Duffy was again a massive set-piece threat and hardly had his hands full with the opposing striker but given his high standards, he certainly won’t be happy with Saturday’s performance.
Enda Stevens -4
A very quiet game at left-back for Enda Stevens who is another player who would have been hoping to influence the game a little bit more than he did.
Stevens made no errors but didn’t really get any kind of link up play going on the left with James McClean.
Matt Doherty -4
Nowhere near the level of performance, he has shown at club level, despite a couple of nice passes between him and Coleman this was an afternoon to forget for Doherty.
Whether it’s the system or the players around him, something just isn’t clicking with Doherty and the Irish team and the sooner McCarthy figures out what the better it will be for all involved.
It could simply be a case of one or the other between him and Coleman.
Conor Hourihane -7
Ireland’s best player on a very difficult day for the Boys in Green, Hourihane showed that he could be a player who is ready to step up under Mick McCarthy.
He was allowed a lot of space but used it well and his pass over the top to McGoldrick was crucial for the goal.
A lot must also be said for his deliveries which caused absolute havoc in the Gibraltar penalty area.
Jeff Hendrick -6
The Burnley man took his goal tremendously and burst into the box well at times, but in the first half was overshadowed by his midfield partner Hourihane.
Hendrick had needed to step up in the green of Ireland and his goal may be a good indication that he’s ready to re-find the form he showed at Euro 2016.
A slight improvement.
James McClean – 4
A poor performance from McClean who in the last few games for Ireland is reaching the “needs to do more” territory.
He failed to really get at the opposing right-full never really got a foothold in the match. Will be lucky to start against Georgia.
David McGoldrick – 6
The difficult conditions didn’t really suit McGoldrick’s style of play, but he performed to a solid level, with a number of nice touches and passes as he attempted to act as the link between the midfield and the attack.
The Sheffield United man did really well for the goal with his ball across the box timed to perfection for the onrushing Jeff Hendrick. Should start again against Georgia on Tuesday.
Sean Maguire – 5
It was a tough first half for Maguire who struggled to get a hold of the ball and didn’t suit the difficult conditions.
Maguire got better in the second half as he showed a few nice touches and laid the ball off well to his teammates, but the Preston man really needs a goal to kick on at international level.
Robbie Brady – 5
Came on to the right-hand side to replace Matt Doherty but also failed to have any real impact.
Harry Arter -5
Busied himself in the midfield but wasn’t the kind of player Ireland required when he came on.