Wednesday 11 December 2019

'It's the best we have played in years' - Liam Brady hails Irish performance in Aviva draw

Matt Doherty equalises late on against Denmark
Matt Doherty equalises late on against Denmark
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Liam Brady believes Ireland produced their 'best performance in years' as they came agonisingly close to Euro 2020 qualifying in a 1-1 draw with Denmark at the Aviva Stadium.

A spurred Ireland performance saw them dominate the game for long periods, with RTE pundit Brady full of praise of the Irish effort.

"I think it's the best we have played in years," said Brady. "We were really good with the ball, our tenacity and commitment was there for everyone to see.  

"We really put it up to the Danes and it was one lapse of concentration from Matt Doherty, who was superb all evening and crowned his performance with a goal, but his one lapse in concentration let (Martin) Braithwaite in for the goal.

"We had a few skirmishes in the box and had our chances, gave everything and I feel that's the best we've played in years. 

"If we can play like that in the play-offs we can make it. We need to build on this performance and take it forward. If we do that, we can qualify."

Soccer Football - Euro 2020 Qualifier - Group D - Republic of Ireland v Denmark - Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland - November 18, 2019 Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy shakes hands with David McGoldrick as Conor Hourihane applauds the fans after the match Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley
Soccer Football - Euro 2020 Qualifier - Group D - Republic of Ireland v Denmark - Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland - November 18, 2019 Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy shakes hands with David McGoldrick as Conor Hourihane applauds the fans after the match Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley

Ireland man of the match David McGoldrick was crestfallen as he reflected on an agonising night that saw the Sheffield United striker turn in another spirited performance.

"We gave it our all and that's what the manager asked for," said McGoldrick. 

"We deserved to win the game, but we only drew and it's heartbreaking. I had a few chances, I had a header which hit my shoulder. I have to do better as a striker and I accept that. Maybe another five minutes and we would've got a second.

"I had many chances and didn't take them and one lapse of concentration has cost us. We have to pick ourselves up and go again for the play-offs in March."

Meanwhile, Jonathan Walters believes Ireland's enduring failure to score goals cost them the chance of automatic qualification to Euro 2020.

Matt Doherty's late equaliser fuelled hope that a dramatic would follow, but it did not come and former Ireland striker suggested the lack of firepower in the final third was the key factor in the failure.

"Goals have always been the problem for us," he told Sky Sports. "Defensively we have been excellent and we needed to get more men forward to help him. He's playing up there on his own and it is difficult for him, but we have to try and find a way to win more matches.

"When you consider this was a Denmark side that beat us 5-1 at home the last time they played here, this was not a bad performance. It just feels disappointing at the end.

blic-of-Irel-(Read-Only).jpg
On the mark: Jon Walters celebrates scoring for Republic of Ireland. Photo: Reuters /Clodagh Kilcoyne

"We have often played like the away team in home matches over recent years, but that wasn't the case in this game. Despite that, it feels like a chance has been missed as that one lapse in concentration gave Denmark the goal they needed.

"The clean sheet was all-important if we were going to get through as scoring more than once in a match is a problem for us, but we switched off for that Denmark goal and it made it difficult for us. 

"Matt Doherty was excellent all night and deserved his goal, but we are not out. We have this play-off and there is a good chance for us to get through."

Former Ireland full-back Stephen Ward also painted an upbeat picture, as he insisted McCarthy's players had given their all to the cause.

"The performance was outstanding and we just needed that one big chance to try to give us the first goal, but you can't fault the effort," stated Ward.

"There were lots of positives out there tonight. The way we passed the ball and held on to it was much better than we have been in recent years and we still have this second chance in the play-offs."

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