Ireland limped to a 0-0 draw against Northern Ireland in what was a truly forgettable draw at the Aviva Stadium on Thursday evening.
The away side just edged the first half and dominated the second creating most of the clear-cut chances as Ireland again struggled in front of goal.
O’Neill’s men also had Darren Randolph to thank on a number of occasions, the Middlesbrough man keeping Ireland in the game with a couple of fantastic one on one saves.
As Ireland fail to impress and Glenn Whelan departs the Boys in Green let’s take a look at 12 quickfire conclusions from the Aviva Stadium stalemate.
1) This one certainly didn’t feel like an international friendly. The atmosphere was tense from the start of the anthems with both sets of fans in full voice.
2) On his 85th and final (maybe) cap in the green, Glenn Whelan was steady at the base of the Irish midfield getting on the ball frequently and giving it to the likes of Brady and Hendrick quickly when in possession. A fittingly steady farewell from one of Ireland most underappreciated players.
3) As much as O’Neill may play him there James McClean is not a left-sided defender. He was caught out on a number of occasions and allowed Gavin Whyte on the ball too much especially in the first half.
4) Callum Robinson was lively when he did get on the ball but was simply too isolated up front on his own. The formation did not suit him and his style of play at all and he really could’ve done with a lot more support from the midfield areas or another man up top from the start.
5) Northern Ireland and Michael O’Neill play some very good football for a side that only contains three Premier League players. A team that on paper aren’t as good as Ireland but on the pitch, look much much better.
6) Once again Jeff Hendrick was anonymous in the Irish midfield. Difficult to recall the last time he really influenced a game in a green shirt.
7) Although he was quiet it was great to see Robbie Brady back fit in an Irish shirt again. He is one of Ireland’s most influential players and was sorely missed when he was gone.
8) Once again Shane Duffy was solid at the back is continuing to act as one of Ireland’s main attacking threats from set pieces. Producing strongly and consistently in a green shirt.
9) Darren Randolph was excellent for Ireland tonight, twice denying Michael O’Neill’s side in one on one situations.
10) Although he was up against one of the finest fullbacks in international football, Jamal Lewis proved why he’s one of the Championship’s hottest properties with a fine display.
11) Steven Davis is still an excellent midfielder and in truth did more on his own than the whole Irish midfield combined.
12) Five at the back may make Ireland a (relatively) solid defensive outfit but it’s killing them attacking wise. Another game in which we’ve failed to create any clear-cut chances.
13) Why Michael Obafemi did not get on the pitch we will never ever know.