Monday 22 May 2017

Players ratings

SHAY GIVEN: Looked to be struggling with a wrist problem in the warm-up but, fortunately, he wasn't called into action much on an evening where his shrills were clearly audible, given the quietness of the venue. Had to be alert to collect a couple of speculative attempts from distance.



JOHN O'SHEA

A routine showing for the Sunderland man who could well switch to the left side on Tuesday with Stephen Ward suspended. Showed good awareness to win an aerial battle and set up the opening goal for Kevin Doyle. Otherwise, his challenge was to maintain shape and remain focused.

DARREN O'DEA

Conceded an early corner with a wild clearance and was berated by team-mates for conceding a silly foul in the first half. Other teams might have punished those errors, but this was Andorra and O'Dea knuckled down to produce a solid showing.

SEAN ST LEDGER

Needed a game badly considering his recent inactivity at club level and made a purposeful start with a couple of convincing tackles. An aggressive Andorran side brought out some of St Ledger's better qualities and he can feel satisfied with another clean sheet.

STEPHEN WARD

With Andorra sitting back, the Wolves man was given more licence than usual to roam forward and support the attack. However, he paid for that freedom when going down softly in the box and receiving a yellow for diving that rules him out of Tuesday. It took away from a competent display.

AIDEN MCGEADY

A constant threat to the Andorrans, similar to the initial meeting in September last year. Won the corner that led to the early opener, and then claimed the second. His creative influence and ability to break quickly will be crucial on Tuesday.

GLENN WHELAN

Walking a tightrope, considering he was a booking away from a similar fate to Ward and, in the circumstances, produced a disciplined showing. It was hectic enough around the midfield department, and Whelan showed good awareness to tee up McGeady for the second goal.

KEITH ANDREWS

Was central to a bright opening as Ireland dictated the tempo, but the pace dropped off close to the interval and he became part of the battle. Like those around him, the second half was about keeping the head and the Dubliner generally did alright, save for a few rash tackles.

DAMIEN DUFF

The silent partner of the Irish wingmen in the first half, with McGeady so bright on the other flank. Nevertheless, Duff used his experience to play the percentages and keep the ball well, and came into it more after the break as Ireland coasted to a comfortable success.

ROBBIE KEANE

Could have scored early, albeit from a tight angle, and buzzed around trying to pick up the pieces from Doyle's knockdowns. Wasted another pair of opportunities after the resumption, with the Andorrans proving even more generous than your average MLS defence.

KEVIN DOYLE

Good to see the Wexford native back in good form. In the early exchanges, he threatened on three occasions, eventually breaking the deadlock. With long balls pumped in his direction, his fitness was tested in a bruising encounter. Surely now Trap can have no concerns about his well-being.

GIOVANNI TRAPATTONI

His task was to make sure his team was in the right frame of mind to go out and get the job done. In that regard, he can take credit for a trip that has been negotiated in a professional fashion. On Tuesday, his tactical nous will be scrutinised fully by the Armenians.

Keith Fahey 6 for Whelan (64):

Went about his business efficiently as Ireland saw out the result.Shane Long 7 for Doyle (71): Pick of the subs with his strong running and nearly added a third with a clever header

Stephen Hunt 6 for Duff (75): Offered the usual endeavour, but had little time to make a real impact

Irish Independent

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