Sport Soccer

Wednesday 22 March 2017

Player ratings

Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Keiren Westwood: A solid shift for a man who will win many caps once Shay Given's career draws to a close. Could do little about the Macedonian goal and made crucial second-half stop to deny Trichkovski. Composed throughout and kicking was excellent. 7

Kevin Foley

Waited long enough for his chance and has made a compelling case for future inclusion, giving Trapattoni an option to bring O'Shea into centre-half to replace Dunne in Skopje. Calm on the ball and made an important late interception when Macedonia broke.


Darren O'Dea

Confidence-boosting start to the game with expertly-timed challenge on Goran Pandev. Considering doubts that existed about O'Dea beforehand, he justified his presence with competent outing. Coped well with what the Macedonians threw in his direction.


Richard Dunne

A difficult one to rate. Started the game really well and led from the back in his usual style. But, on the flip side, he was at fault for the goal and was caught out twice in the second half -- the results could have been disastrous. Costly yellow card rules him out of return meeting.


Kevin Kilbane

Error to let Pandev roam inside on his favoured left foot to create the goal for the visitors. Otherwise, a reasonable outing for the Huddersfield man, who didn't over-complicate things before jetting back to sit on the bench for his employers yesterday.


Glenn Whelan

Not one of the Stoke midfielder's better nights -- a strange one considering that he actually came into this game with regular football under his belt. Some poor touches and lapses in concentration, although he did well to close down Trichkovski as he lined up an injury-time shot.


Darron Gibson

Slightly the better of the midfield pair, without producing the kind of display that marked him down as a guaranteed starter for the competitive battles ahead. Central to the bright start but less prominent after break, aside from necessary yellow card to stop a Macedonian attack.


Aiden McGeady

The Spartak Moscow winger is developing into a player to be excited about. Sure, he might frustrate with some decisions, but he is brave enough to take risks and the former Celtic man tormented the Macedonians in patches. First ever international goal overdue, and set the Glaswegian up for productive night.


Damien Duff

Showed just why he was missed in the first four qualifying games in this group. Kept the talented Macedonian left-full Goran Popov occupied in his own half, and worked hard to restrict his runs forward. Experience vital in terms of running down the clock.


Kevin Doyle

Started well with good strength and presence of mind to tee up McGeady for the opener. Alas, his night was ended shortly afterwards by a knee injury that will have ruined Mick McCarthy's Saturday night. A terribly-timed setback for the Wexford man.


Robbie Keane

In the context of the question marks that surrounded his match sharpness, Keane did well to get through 86 minutes; the Doyle setback left Trapattoni with little option. Goal may have been a close-range strike, but natural predatory instinct took him to right place.


Giovanni Trapattoni

Debate over his style of play will roll on, and the selection decisions will continue to polarise, but they are long-standing issues. The specific issues for this game were the competitive debuts of Foley, O'Dea and Westwood, with the trio justifying the manager's faith. After a troubled build-up, the result was everything.


Shane Long (for Doyle, 20 mins) Survived a decapitation attempt after an earlier-than-expected introduction. Full of energy, although didn't hold the ball up as well as he did in Zilina.


Keith Fahey (for Gibson, 77 mins) Aside from one misplaced pass, the Birmingham man impressed on his introduction, keeping the ball and looking controlled in centre of park.


James McCarthy (for Keane 87 mins) Rapturous welcome and a few solid touches in his short time on the pitch. Will be prominent in Uruguay game tomorrow.


Irish Independent

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