Sport Soccer

Saturday 17 March 2018

Ireland player ratings vs Poland

David Forde
David Forde
Stephen Kelly
Stephen Ward
Sean St. Ledger
Marc Wilson
Paul Green
Jonathan Walters
James McCarthy
Shane Long
Anthony Stokes
Aiden McGeady
Martin O'Neill
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell


Was given far more to do than Keiren Westwood last Friday and that turned out to be a positive in the context of the battle for the No 1 shirt as he continued his recent good form, with only a couple of nervous kicks in the second half giving the bench any cause for worry.


It's a tough job deputising for Seamus Coleman but Kelly tried his best to get across the halfway line when the opportunity presented itself and fluffed his lines when a corner fell his way. Given a bit of trouble after the interval but the Irish back-four were diligent enough.


A boost for the Brighton loanee as he was given another start and this Poznan test was a far easier assignment than his Euro 2012 education. The tricky Jakub Blaszczykowski was a tough opponent and gave the Dubliner some grief but he was only properly left for dead once.


The luckless Leicester man has been starved of first-team activity this season due to injury problems and this return to the ground where he scored in Euro 2012 ended in further despair for the 28-year-old when he was forced off after just half an hour with a groin complaint.


Initially another chance to shine at centre-half which would suggest O'Neill views the Stoke man as a long-term option in that department and he did well in his personal battle with Robert Lewandowski before pushing into midfield and showcasing his capabilities there. A decent showing.


The much-maligned Leeds player is better than given credit for and he put in the usual solid shift without setting the world alight. Just like in the Trapattoni era, he protected the back-four diligently and did a lot of the unglamorous work. Should be enough to get in the next squad anyway.


A proud moment for Walters as he was awarded the captaincy for the evening and he offered the usual full-blooded contribution. Started on the right but frequently drifted inside to support Shane Long and was a centre-forward in the final minutes without threatening to score.


During the first-half stoppage for St Ledger's injury, Roy Keane left the bench to call McCarthy aside and deliver some instructions. He is looking for more from the Everton star and while he didn't do very much wrong here, he didn't particularly outshine Green either.


The central striker was the intended focal point of the Irish attack and niggled away at the Polish centre halves, winning frees and testing them physically but he failed to wriggle free and work himself into a position to add to his goal on Friday and will be frustrated by that.


Given the responsibility of linking midfield and attack and we saw the good and bad in first half when smart movement created a McGeady chance before a casual touch drew strong criticism from Roy Keane. Unable to really affect the second half and subsequently withdrawn.


Sprightly from the outset and his invention led to Ireland's first major sight of goal when his left-footer deflected into the side netting. Had more defending to do than on Friday but he looked confident throughout and it's clear he will be a prominent part of this regime.


Rotated his options and put out a team that was capable of keeping a clean sheet but this is not a game to draw firm conclusions from. The real test for O'Neill will be absorbing the lessons and bringing them into the restructuring work that is necessary in 2014.


John O'Shea (7, for St Ledger 32): Manned the ship well and used his experience to stop one Lewandowski charge illegally.

James McClean (6, for McGeady 62): A bright showing and one daisycutting cross deserved better.

Alex Pearce (6, for McCarthy 62): Helped to see out the clean sheet in his brief cameo.

Kevin Doyle (6, for Stokes 68): Put himself about without getting much joy.

Wes Hoolahan (6, for Long 73): Much harder for Norwich star to get on ball in attacking areas.

Glenn Whelan (6, for Wilson 76): Slotted into his usual brief to see out the result.

Irish Independent

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