Monday 23 September 2019

Northern exposure: ‘We let fans down,’ admits O’Neill after Randolph saves blushes

Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane
Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Martin O’Neill admitted that his Ireland team let supporters down in a drab scoreless draw with Northern Ireland.

There were full-time boos from the Aviva Stadium crowd following a grim display from the hosts with man of the match Darren Randolph preventing the away side from delivering a victory.

The home manager admitted that his team’s performance was hard to defend.

Ireland have failed to score in three successive home games.

"I'm not too worried about putting in a performance for me," said O'Neill afterwards. "The disappointment would be for the supporters. They paid money there and we should do better.

"We have to be able to create chances. The last few games we've not done that. We're trying to utilise what we have at this moment.

"I think you're hoping in the not too distant future that we're able to reply on someone getting a goal for us rather than something from a set-piece."

O'Neill opted against giving an international debut to Michael Obafemi even though the Southampton teenager committed himself to Ireland earlier in the day via social media and a strong statement from his agent.

The Irish boss said he now intends to bring the 18-year-old to Aarhus for Monday's concluding UEFA Nations League tie. "He made the call, it was really up to him," said O'Neill. "Michael said to me that he was treated very well at underage level by us. He wanted to make the decision."

Seán Maguire (pictured) is out of the Denmark game after suffering another hamstring injury - the Preston striker's year has been dogged by problems in that department and a fresh setback is devastating news for the Kilkenny man.

Irish Independent

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