Monday 19 February 2018

'We've had a right hiding but it's been coming' - Eamon Dunphy on Ireland's heavy play-off defeat

Eamon Dunphy has said that Ireland were repeatedly punished for their errors in their 5-1 loss at the hands of Denmark on Tuesday in the second leg of their World Cup play-off loss in Dublin.

Tottenham Hotspurs midfielder Christian Eriksen scored a brilliant hat-trick to sink Ireland's chances of qualifying for next year's FIFA World Cup as Ireland bow out after a 0-0 draw in the first leg in Copenhagen on Saturday.

Ireland winger James McClean was speechless after the loss and Dunphy said that that type of defeat has been looming for this Irish team for sometime.

"It was a humiliation," said Dunphy on RTE's post-match coverage.

"In James McClean's case, you have to ask where was he playing? James McClean is a left winger, he does all his damage out there. He didn't play there tonight. It's very sad to to see someone like James heartbroken.

"I don't think you could fault the players for effort but there was a lot wrong out there and it was punished. First of all, we should say that it was a fantastic performance by [Christian] Eriksen, celebrates everything that's good in the game and he showed it. We got punished for our errors but we made a lot of errors.

"The team was wrong, the substitutions were drastically wrong. Taking off two midfield players in [David] Meyler and [Harry] Arter and putting on Wesley [Hoolahan] and [Aiden] McGeady, there's no sense there, and you leave a big hole in front of the back four for him [Eriksen] and all the others to exploit.

"We've had a right hiding but it's been coming. We're not doing things right. That short corner - they say Martin O'Neill doesn't work on the training ground, nobody knows and comes in an hour before kick-off and all of that stuff - and that's somehow regarded as a virtue? It's not. It's 50 years ago. You work on the training ground and you work on things like that.

"All these things add up and then you play a good side and you get a hiding."

Former Arsenal and Juventus midfielder Liam Brady said that Ireland were a ragged mess in the second-half and that O'Neill's side ultimately shot their own foot.

"First of all James McClean was embarrassed by that Irish performance and that's why he couldn't really respond to Tony [O'Donoghue] because he didn't have anything he could hang his hat on," said Brady.

"We were a ragged mess in the second-half. Down to errors as Eamon said, we shot ourselves in the foot and Martin went all in on his substitutions.

"By that I mean it was a huge gamble to bring McGeady on and to leave the midfield without two defensive players. [Jeff] Hendrick, I'm afraid for the last couple of games, he's been anonymous, and Robbie Brady hasn't played well, and he left those two guys in there to handle a very confident Danish team and of course they exploited that.

"Again errors contributed to the humiliation. It's a really sad night because we have done very well to get to this stage, but we had a real chance after our result in Denmark, and then after the first 20 minutes it looked very good but we didn't control the game."

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