On what was a satisfactory night in Dublin, Martin O’Neill’s Republic of Ireland played out a 1-1 draw with the Netherlands at the Aviva Stadium.
Ireland looked dangerous throughout against a Dutch side still shaken from their failure to qualify for the European Championships in France next month, particularly from the highly effective set pieces of Robbie Brady.
It was therefore no surprise that the opening goal came from a Brady corner – John O’Shea’s downward header was handled by striker Vincent Janssen before being prodded home by in-form striker Shane Long.
— FAIreland (@FAIreland) May 27, 2016
Though Danny Blind’s Netherlands had the majority of possession, there was little in the way of creativity to match. Blind’s decision to go more direct paid dividends, however, when substitute Luuk de Jong capitalised on a rare breakdown in communication in the Irish defence to head home the equaliser with five minutes remaining.
Overall, Ireland can be satisfied with the performance, if a little disappointed with the result. In terms of what O’Neill can take from this game as he prepares to name his squad, the likes of Harry Arter and Shane Duffy all but confirmed their places on the plane, while David McGoldrick and Stephen Quinn, while dependable tonight, will still have an anxious wait between now and Tuesday.
After the match, O’Neill indicated that he was happy with the performance, while also looking forward to next Tuesday’s match against Belarus at Turners Cross.
Speaking to Setanta Sports, O’Neill said:
“I thought it was fine, a really good workout for us, Holland are a very fine side, they keep the ball very well indeed,
“I thought throughout, that a draw was probably a fair result, though I thought that maybe we were going to hold on.”
— Setanta Sports (@SetantaSports) May 27, 2016
The Republic of Ireland boss went on to single out midfielders Arter and Quinn for praise, while outlining the growing importance of Robbie Brady to the side.
He confirmed that Robbie Keane will play on Tuesday night, while the squad itself will not be cut this weekend, and everyone currently on the panel will be heading to Cork.
Ireland play one more game before their opening Euro 2016 fixture against Sweden in Saint-Denis on June 13th.