Friday 26 May 2017

Five things we learned from Ireland's 1-1 draw with Holland at the Aviva

27 May 2016; Shane Duffy of Republic of Ireland in action against Jeffrey Bruma of Netherlands during the 3 International Friendly between Republic of Ireland and Netherlands in the Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile
27 May 2016; Shane Duffy of Republic of Ireland in action against Jeffrey Bruma of Netherlands during the 3 International Friendly between Republic of Ireland and Netherlands in the Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile

John Brennan

It was a very interesting night at the Aviva Stadium as Ireland gave up a one-nil lead with five minutes remaining to hand the Dutch the draw in an encouraging performance. Here are five things we gleaned from the game.

1. Even in his second last game before the Euros, Martin O'Neill was still willing to experiment. At times the Boys in Green were 4-3-3, with David McGoldrick often dropping back to make it 4-3-1-2. And then Jon Walters would drop deeper again to help out the midfield. It worked.

After years of watching Trap and his rigid 4-4-2, it was refreshing to see a coach trust his players to do something different in the middle of an international, albeit a friendly.

 

2. Robbie Brady could have a huge say in Euro 2016 with his set-pieces. Yes, he balloons the odd one. But when the Norwich man catches it right, as he did with a superb corner on the half hour that found John O'Shea's forehead and led to Long's goal, Brady's delivery is dynamite going off in the face of a defence. He continued in the same form in the second half and caused consternation in the visiting defence.

 

3. Euro 2016 could be Seamus Coleman's time. We've waited a while for him to truly explode on the international scene. The Everton man was in rare form against the Dutch and he could have a huge month in France. He's primed!

 

4. Harry Arter, Stephen Quinn and David McGoldrick all did well in what were their big chances to book a seat on the Ireland plane to Paris but it was the Bournemouth man who really stepped forward. Made a big claim to start against the Swedes.

None had the sort of horror match that Paul McShane had at the end of March against Slovakia. They will be worried about David Meyler's versatility to fill any position on the pitch. But right now the trio all still have a chance to go.

 

5. Where were the greatest fans in the world? I know a lot of them are saving up for France. But not to be able to fill the stadium for Ireland's going away party in Dublin is a bit disappointing.

Yes, The Boss was in action on the other side of the Liffey, but he didn't take too many away. And there's no school for the kids on the day after the game and it wasn't cold or wet either. Where was everyone?

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