Martin O’Neill’s Republic of Ireland were in action against Georgia at the Aviva, looking to get their first win of this World Cup qualification campaign.
Ireland’s display in the first half was little short of horrid, they rarely looked like threatening the Georgian goal while at the other end were lucky when the away side struck the crossbar and post in the same move.
Thankfully, it was a different story in the second half and when Seamus Coleman somehow bundled the ball into the net at the end of a terrific run, Ireland started a little more sure of themselves.
There were a couple more chances, most of them falling to James McClean, but for the fifth time in seven competitive matches against Georgia, Ireland have won by a single goal.
Republic of Ireland Player Ratings:
Darren Randolph – 6: Had little to do, in truth. Georgia looked good in midfield but not a whole pile in attack.
Seamus Coleman – 7.5: A man of two halves. Didn’t look up to it in the first half, but the tremendous run (and scrappy finish) for the goal has to be taken into account. Improved a lot after the break.
Shane Duffy – 6.5: The Irish defence wasn’t the problem tonight, and the Brighton defender showed why O’Neill started him. Gave a good account of himself, especially in the air.
Ciaran Clark – 6: Perhaps did enough to justify his selection ahead of Richard Keogh, but either one could start against Moldova.
Stephen Ward – 6: Tidy display from the Burnley defender. Wasn’t overly ambitious in attack but did the simple things well in defence.
James McCarthy – 6: Did well for a player coming back from injury, but McCarthy was not much of a presence or threat in midfield tonight.
Jeff Hendrick – 5.5: Quiet, especially in the first half, as it seemed that he wasn’t prepared for the physicality of the Georgian midfield. Will miss the Moldova game through suspension.
Robbie Brady – 6.5: Ireland’s most potent attacking threat when he gets going, but struggled to find space. Looked good from set-pieces, as Ireland have come to expect.
Jonathan Walters – 6: Worked as hard as ever, but hasn’t looked sharp in the last two games now.
James McClean – 7: Had one in the net ruled out for offside, hit the crossbar in injury time. McClean looked lively throughout and is definitely justifying O’Neill’s faith in him. Needs to improve his crossing, however.
Shane Long – 6: Seemed a bit isolated in the first half, operated a bit deeper and wider in the second half and saw more of the ball. Still didn’t have as much influence as he would have liked.
Glenn Whelan (Brady 80) – N/A: Did little of note either way in the last seventeen minutes (inc. injury time).
John O’Shea (Long 90+3) – N/A: Brought on to shore up the defence late on. Had little time to make an impact.