A win, but a hard-fought win…
Ireland defeated Latvia in a 3-2 win at the Aviva Stadium on Wednesday night, in a game that was more difficult than it should have been.
The win should give Stephen Kenny some confidence going into the France game, though we simply can’t afford to be as poor defensively.
Here are our player ratings from the night.
Ireland vs Latvia player ratings
Caoimhin Kelleher – 5
Kelleher looked assured on the ball, but he will be disappointed to concede two goals against such weak opposition.
Some will argue that there is nothing he could have done about either, but it can’t be a coincidence that Kelleher is often beaten from outside the box.
Ireland 2-2 Latvia: With the aid of a deflection, Arturs Zjuzins draws Latvia level
📺 Watch live on @RTE2 and @RTEplayer
🎙 Live commentary on @RTERadio1Extra:
📱 Live updates: https://t.co/3IjoDyki0I #rtesoccer #IRLLAT pic.twitter.com/1w9OODDEpP
— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) March 22, 2023
Matt Doherty – 5
Considering he was made captain going into the game, Doherty will definitely be disappointed with this performance.
He gave away chances, he (understandably) looked rusty on the ball and he did not seem to be leading the team at crucial moments. He may well have played himself out of the France team.
Andrew Omobamidele – 6
Considering the lack of playing time the Norwich defender has had over the past few months, this was an impressive performance.
It may not have been enough to earn him a place in the Starting XI vs France, but he will certainly be considered.
Nathan Collins – 6
Showed his quality at times, and was likely tasked with leading the back three, but he can’t be given any higher than a six after conceding two goals in the manner in which we did.
Dara O’Shea – 6
Ireland’s Mr. Reliable hardly put a foot wrong on the day, and played some nice forward passes, but he was caught in a mix-up for the second goal.
Callum O’Dowda – 7
O’Dowda looked really sharp throughout the game, getting the first goal with a brave header at the back-post.
It will be interesting to see if Kenny goes with him or James McClean against France on Monday.
Jayson Molumby – 7
Some very strong tackles put in, as ever, and some confident forward passes from the Waterford man.
He still needs to increase the amount of progressive passes he plays, but this was a strong performance from Molumby.
Alan Browne – 5
Browne simply needs to offer way more for his spot in the team to be justified going forward. He is a talented player, who is having a good season at Preston, but he needs to put his stamp on games against weaker opposition.
Will Smallbone – 7
A really good debut from the Stoke midfielder, with an involvement in the first two goals. He will be delighted with how it went, and could be what Ireland are missing when it comes to a No. 10.
Michael Obafemi – 6
Obafemi showed that he is probably the right man to play alongside Ferguson, as he knows when to come short while also having the pace to stretch defences if needs be.
Evan Ferguson – 7
A dream debut from a goalscoring aspect, and some really good holdup play too. Somewhat wasteful from some of his chances from the edge of the box, but it’s very difficult to hold that against an 18-year-old in the form Ferguson is in.
Evan Ferguson's first Ireland goal 🇮🇪⚽️🔥
Drink it in 💚#COYBIG pic.twitter.com/mr8ubi3cn5
— Kenny's Kids (@KennysKids) March 22, 2023
Mikey Johnston and Chiedozie Ogbene both came on and made an impact on the game, while Troy Parrott, John Egan and James McClean all played it relatively safe off the bench.
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