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Five things we learned from Ireland's dramatic draw with Poland

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Ireland's James McClean and Poland's Pawel Olkowski in action
Action Images via Reuters / Paul Childs
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Ireland's James McClean and Poland's Pawel Olkowski in action Action Images via Reuters / Paul Childs Livepic

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29 March 2015; Republic of Ireland's Shane Long, 9, celebrates with team-mates Wesley Hoolahan, left, and James McClean after scoring his side's equalising goal. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Poland. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

29 March 2015; Republic of Ireland's Shane Long, 9, celebrates with team-mates Wesley Hoolahan, left, and James McClean after scoring his side's equalising goal. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Poland. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

29 March 2015; Glenn Whelan, Republic of Ireland, in action against Arkadiusz Milik, Poland. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Poland. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Pat Murphy / SPORTSFILE

29 March 2015; Glenn Whelan, Republic of Ireland, in action against Arkadiusz Milik, Poland. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Poland. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Pat Murphy / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

29 March 2015; Republic of Ireland's Shane Long, 9, celebrates with team-mates, from left to right, Seamus Coleman, Wesley Hoolahan and James McClean after scoring his side's equalising goal. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Poland. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

29 March 2015; Republic of Ireland's Shane Long, 9, celebrates with team-mates, from left to right, Seamus Coleman, Wesley Hoolahan and James McClean after scoring his side's equalising goal. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Poland. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

29 March 2015; Jon Walters, Republic of Ireland, is tackled by Lukasz Szukala, Poland. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Poland. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Pat Murphy / SPORTSFILE

29 March 2015; Jon Walters, Republic of Ireland, is tackled by Lukasz Szukala, Poland. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Poland. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Pat Murphy / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

29 March 2015; Republic of Ireland's Shane Long, 9, celebrates with team-mates Wesley Hoolahan, left, and James McClean after scoring his side's equalising goal. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Poland. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

29 March 2015; Republic of Ireland's Shane Long, 9, celebrates with team-mates Wesley Hoolahan, left, and James McClean after scoring his side's equalising goal. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Poland. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

29 March 2015; Republic of Ireland's Shane Long, 9, celebrates with team-mates Wesley Hoolahan, left, and James McClean after scoring his side's equalising goal. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Poland. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

29 March 2015; Republic of Ireland's Shane Long, 9, celebrates with team-mates Wesley Hoolahan, left, and James McClean after scoring his side's equalising goal. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Poland. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

29 March 2015; Shane Long, Republic of Ireland, scores his side's equalising goal. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Poland. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

29 March 2015; Shane Long, Republic of Ireland, scores his side's equalising goal. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Poland. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

29 March 2015; Shane Long, Republic of Ireland, scores his side's equalising goal. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Poland. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

29 March 2015; Shane Long, Republic of Ireland, scores his side's equalising goal. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Poland. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

29 March 2015; Shane Long, Republic of Ireland, scores his side's equalising goal. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Poland. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

29 March 2015; Shane Long, Republic of Ireland, scores his side's equalising goal. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Poland. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

29 March 2015; Shane Long, Republic of Ireland, scores his side's equalising goal. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Poland. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

29 March 2015; Shane Long, Republic of Ireland, scores his side's equalising goal. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Poland. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

29 March 2015; Republic of Ireland fans celebrate after their side scored an equalising goal in the 90th minute. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Poland. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

29 March 2015; Republic of Ireland fans celebrate after their side scored an equalising goal in the 90th minute. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Poland. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

29 March 2015; Lukasz Fabianski, Poland, saves Mark Wilson's, Ireland, header. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Poland. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

29 March 2015; Lukasz Fabianski, Poland, saves Mark Wilson's, Ireland, header. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Poland. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

29 March 2015; James McClean, Republic of Ireland, in action against Pawel Olkowski and Slawomir Peszko, right, Poland. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Poland. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

29 March 2015; James McClean, Republic of Ireland, in action against Pawel Olkowski and Slawomir Peszko, right, Poland. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Poland. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

29 March 2015; Mark Wilson, second from left, Republic of Ireland, heads the ball goalward. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Poland. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

29 March 2015; Mark Wilson, second from left, Republic of Ireland, heads the ball goalward. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Poland. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

Seamus Coleman, Republic of Ireland, watches as his strike on goal goes wide

Seamus Coleman, Republic of Ireland, watches as his strike on goal goes wide

SPORTSFILE

29 March 2015;  Pawel Olkowski, Poland, clears under pressure from Robbie Keane, Republic of Ireland. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Poland. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

29 March 2015; Pawel Olkowski, Poland, clears under pressure from Robbie Keane, Republic of Ireland. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Poland. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

29 March 2015; Wesley Hoolahan, Republic of Ireland, in action against Grzegorz Krychowiak, Poland. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Poland. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Pat Murphy / SPORTSFILE

29 March 2015; Wesley Hoolahan, Republic of Ireland, in action against Grzegorz Krychowiak, Poland. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Poland. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Pat Murphy / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

29 March 2015; Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill during the game. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Poland. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

29 March 2015; Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill during the game. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Poland. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

29 March 2015; Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill during the game. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Poland. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE

29 March 2015; Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill during the game. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Poland. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

29 March 2015; Aiden McGeady, Republic of Ireland, in action against Kamil Glik, Poland. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Poland. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

29 March 2015; Aiden McGeady, Republic of Ireland, in action against Kamil Glik, Poland. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Poland. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

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Ireland's James McClean and Poland's Pawel Olkowski in action Action Images via Reuters / Paul Childs Livepic

Ireland rescued their Euro 2016 ambitions as Shane Long's late goal secured a precious point to keep us in the hunt in Group D. Here's what we learned.

1) Selection was right but it needed a rejig

There was cautious optimism when Martin O'Neill's starting XI was revealed and it was clear the Derryman was taking a gamble.

Attack-minded full-backs, Wes Hoolohan behind Robbie Keane and James McCarthy returned to the side.

Robbie Brady was at fault for the goal and nervy, Wes Hoolahan was industrious, Robbie Keane tried but was non-existent and James McCarthy was anonymous in the first.

When Walters was moved up alongside and Hoolahan moved to the wing, Ireland were a different outfit and McCarthy exerted more influence in the middle.

 

2) Liam Brady was proven right about James McCarthy... for 45 minutes

The Arsenal and Ireland legend called into question the Everton man's passion for playing in green yesterday in the Irish Examiner.

Martin O'Neill defended the midfielder stoutly in yesterday's press conference but McCarthy didn't go his gaffer any favours with a lifeless performance in the opening half.

His swashbuckling, high-intensity style was nowhere to be seen in the first half.

A great run to the byline in the second half showed a change in attitude and was driving force behind Ireland's second half revival.

 

3) Robbie Keane's international career is petering out

He is our greatest ever striker and no one doubts that he hasn't given his all for Ireland for the past 17 years but he's just not effective anymore.

Keane is the MLS MVP but he just can't make an impact at international level.

He can't hold up the ball and too often the ball was delivered towards him and was lost.

He did head against the post in the 70th minute but there wasn't much purchase on it.

Shane Long's power caused a lot more problems and he found the net to save Martin O'Neill's blushes.

 

4) John O'Shea and Marc Wilson look like our best central defensive partnership

Both men were booked and gave Robert Lewandowski a torrid time.

The Bayern Munich striker is a top class international operator but never got a sniff.

Both players looked calm and composed and would have had a deserved clean sheet if it wasn't for Brady's error.

Shay Given's only meaningful contribution was taking the ball out of the net after Peszko's goal.

 

5) Impact subs make all the difference

Shane Long will claim all the plaudits for his goal but it was the efforts of James McClean that kickstarted Ireland.

He crossed brilliantly for Robbie Keane to hit the bar and was a menace. His shuddering tackle in midfield also set the tone for Ireland's comeback.

It was along the same lines of Roy Keane on Marc Overmars.

Online Editors


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