Ireland vs Latvia was Stephen Kenny’s reign summed up

A debate that will never die…

Ireland’s 3-2 win over Latvia felt familiar. It felt like a game that had happened before. It felt like Stephen Kenny’s time in charge summed up.

We took the lead thanks to both of our wing-backs getting involved in play deep into the opposition half, and the assist was provided by a young talent on his debut who was starring for the Under 21s a few months ago.

Then we scored a second thanks to a teenage sensation, also given his debut by Kenny, to put us 2-0 up.

Ireland fans felt hope. We were keeping the ball, creating chances, and doing so with an unprecedentedly young side. That’s what Kenny has done. But that’s not how it panned out.

Another team would have either controlled the game entirely from there. They would have either put Latvia to the sword and scored four or five, or they would have just killed the game entirely. Ireland did neither.

Just like they did against Armenia a few months back, they conceded two goals and let the opposition back into the game. Once is a fluke, twice in a few months it’s a concern.

Both goals were beautifully-struck, but that’s not really the point. Ireland were in a comfortable position and they still managed to give up chances, when they really shouldn’t have.

Stephen Kenny debate rages on

It begs the question ‘Is Kenny learning from his mistakes?’, and it’s hard to know if he is. But the positives from Ireland appointing him as the manager of the senior team are also there for all to see. There are players impressing in that squad who wouldn’t be anywhere near it if Kenny wasn’t involved.

Ultimately Ireland went on to win, with two of Kenny’s substitutes combining for the third goal. Mikey Johnston and Chiedozie Ogbene, two players who the manager has done a lot for.

This is a positive for Kenny, as every manager hopes that their substitutes come on and change the game. Plus, the youth of the team is something that should always earn the manager some good will.

He will tell you that his side created the most chances, scored three goals, blooded in some really promising young players and won the game. And he would be right to do so.

But with a debate raging on about whether or not he is cut out for the job, these sorts of nights really do not help his case.

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