Thursday 29 September 2016

A mixed bag for Ireland's Euro hopefuls Duffy and Judge

John Brennan

Published 25/03/2016 | 22:45

25 March 2016; Alan Judge, Republic of Ireland, in action against François Moubandje, Switzerland. 3 International Friendly, Republic of Ireland v Switzerland. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
25 March 2016; Alan Judge, Republic of Ireland, in action against François Moubandje, Switzerland. 3 International Friendly, Republic of Ireland v Switzerland. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
25 March 2016; Shane Duffy, Republic of Ireland, in action against Pajtim Kasami, Switzerland. 3 International Friendly, Republic of Ireland v Switzerland. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE

Alan Judge and Shane Duffy were the notable aspects of Martin O'Neill's selection for tonight's 1-0 win over Switzerland and each experienced varying fortunes over the course of their first and second cap respectively.

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Shane Duffy.-The Blackburn centre-half made an immediate impact on the game with the towering header that set up the early Irish goal for his partner Ciaran Clark.

But when it came to the day job of defending the pair were not so clever at times. Some of the space afforded to Swiss strikers from first-half set-pieces would be fatal in June with a player like Zlatan Ibrahimovic around.

Duffy recovered and played better in the second period when Switzerland took a more direct approach and he could face the ball and get stuck in.

Despite those early defensive struggles, Duffy must go down as one of the successes of the night. And if Stoke's Marc Wilson doesn't recover from injury, he might yet be on the plane to Paris.

Alan Judge- The midfield man was all effort and action sensing, wisely, that this might be his one big chance to impress Martin O'Neill.

But at times the Brentford player found the step up to international football a bit too much, having the ball nipped off his toe a few times. And conceding cheap possession is a fatal flaw in an international footballer.

Judge will have to hope that the manager gives him a second shot against Slovakia on Tuesday because the entire midfield area is one of the most competitive in the Irish squad. O'Neill has plenty of options there.

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