Ireland 0-0 Wales.
The Republic of Ireland played Wales in the Uefa Nations League on Sunday afternoon in Dublin. Stephen Kenny was forced to name a much-changed team from the side that lost to Slovakia on penalties on Thursday night. Here is how we rated the Ireland players.
Ireland v Wales player ratings
Darren Randolph – 6
Randolph has been arguably Ireland’s most dependable player since coming into the team five years ago. He was barely tested but made a decent stop down to his right early in the game. Randolph got a slice of fortune after dropping the ball in the first half, but it was another clean sheet for the Bray native.
Matt Doherty – 7
The Tottenham full-back has yet to show his best form for Ireland, and he really didn’t get a chance to do so in his natural position on Sunday.
Doherty started brightly at right-back but was forced to move into central defence following an injury to Kevin Long.
However, the Dubliner played well at the heart of the defence, especially considering he was out of position.
Shane Duffy – 6
After a shaky start under Stephen Kenny, Duffy was back to his best against Slovakia on Thursday. He wasn’t as good against Wales, with some loose passes, but was still solid defensively and a disruptive presence at set-pieces. He remains Ireland’s best chance of a goal.
Kevin Long – N/A
The Burnley defender came into the team to replace John Egan, who was unable to play due to being a close contact to a person who tested positive for Covid-19 in the Ireland camp.
Long, who has made five appearances for his club this season, was forced off with a nasty-looking eye injury midway through the first half.
Enda Stevens – 7
The Sheffield United wing-back put in another impressive performance. He was solid defensively and tidy in possession, looking to link up and create passing patterns with his teammates.
Stevens created a wonderful chance for Shane Long, lofting a perfect cross into the box, only for the striker to head over.
Jayson Molumby – 7.5
Molumby came into the team to replace the injured James McCarthy. Earning his second cap, the Brighton midfielder was Ireland’s best player, especially in the first half. The former Ireland Under-21 captain was everywhere in the opening period, when only Stevens and Duffy had more touches of the ball
Molumby was comfortable taking the ball under pressure and he helped his team get up the pitch on several occasions. He hardly lost the ball and covered a lot of ground when Ireland weren’t in possession.
Molumby has the talent to make a difference higher up the pitch if Ireland can find someone to play as a deep-lying midfielder and enable him to use his technique closer to the final third. A very promising player and man of the match on Sunday.
Jeff Hendrick – 5
Hendrick was Ireland’s most advanced midfielder and, while he didn’t do a lot wrong, he was something of a blunt object. He helped Shane Long press the Wales defence and worked hard, but didn’t offer enough with the ball in the final third.
Conor Hourihane – 5
Hourihane was tidy on the ball but offered little penetration with his passes. Molumby, beside him, also covered more ground. It was difficult to see why he wasn’t replaced with Jack Byrne in the second half, as he faded after the break.
Robbie Brady – 5.5
Brady started the game well. The Burnley midfielder was composed in possession and created one or two openings with some clever passes. He faded in the second half.
James McClean – 4.5
McClean wasn’t involved in much during the first-half and he was a little loose in possession. He helped stretch the Wales defence with his runs after the break but was mostly on the fringes of the match.
McClean was sent off late in the match after collecting two yellow cards.
Shane Long – 5
Long made his first start for Ireland in two years as he came into the team to replace the injured David McGoldrick. No Ireland player touched the ball less in the opening half, with Long managing just 10 touches. He did, however, contribute to one or two moves by dropping off and laying a pass to a teammate. And he won Ireland some free-kicks.
But Long looked unsuited to Ireland’s new patient passing game. He also missed a clear cut chance, heading over just after half-time despite being unmarked in the box.
Cyrus Christie – 5
The full-back replaced Kevin Long in the first half and had a mixed game. Christie was a useful outlet going forward and always looked to overlap. But he was loose with his passing and a little haphazard when forced to defend.
Daryl Horgan – 6
The winger was lively when he came on and helped create a few openings.
Sean Maguire – 5
The Preston striker, unfortunately, was barely involved and feeding off scraps during his brief spell on the pitch.
Josh Cullen – N/A
Not on long enough to rate.