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Three Of Ireland’s Unsung Heroes During Their World Cup Qualifying Group

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Ireland brought the curtain down on the World Cup qualifying group on Monday with victory against Wales and now look forward to a play-off berth.

The likes of James McClean and Shane Duffy have earned serious plaudits for their bravery during the qualification campaign with the Derrymen picking up a number of man of the match awards each. However, there have been some other unsung heroes in this Irish side that certainly deserve a mention.


Darren Randolph

The Bray man suffered a loss of form with West Ham last season despite several man of the match performances for the London side. He was unlucky to be offloaded in the summer but given his exploits for new club Middlesborough and, given the poor form of Joe Hart, it seems he is the one having the last laugh.

Randolph made some crucial saves on the opening night against Serbia as well as two cracking stops against Moldova and Wales saw Ireland through safely.

An impressive tally of five clean sheets and his cool head should be recognised as well as his ability to retain his place ahead of the talented Rob Elliot and Kieran Westwood.


Ciaran Clark

The Newcastle man was on the receiving end of much criticism following Euro 2016. However, Clark has always been a promising centre-half and has been commanding in the majority of his internationals.

Three International Friendly, Aviva Stadium, Dublin 31/8/2016 Republic of Ireland vs Oman Republic of Ireland's Ciaran Clark

He should have been a regular a lot sooner than now and seems to finally have established himself as Ireland’s first choice alongside Shane Duffy.

Clark looked calm and assured throughout the campaign and is thriving on his return to the Premier League. Rarely gets a mention but certainly a key leader in the squad.


David Meyler

Meyler missed much of the campaign through injury but played out of his skin when called upon. Came on against Austria in Vienna when Glenn Whelan was hauled off and set Wes Hoolahan free after breaking up an Austrian attack, resulting in James McClean’s goal.

2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier, Stadionul Zimbru, Chisinau, Moldova 9/10/2016 Moldova vs Republic of Ireland Ireland's David Meyler

He looked comfortable on the ball against Austria, Moldova and Wales and showed plenty of authority and composure in possession, something Irish midfielders have failed to do in recent years.

The Hull City man captained Ireland in the last two group games, a testament of his leadership skills.

Nick Menezes, Pundit Arena

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Author: Nick Menezes

Nick is a soccer, GAA and rugby fanatic who has a worrying obsession with the Irish football team. His articles focus on Irish football and he also writes some light-hearted pieces, particularly quirky starting XIs.