Friday 15 December 2017

Player ratings

Shay Given: Did what was required in a first half where he was busier than Trap could have envisaged. Passed all the kicking tests and gathered Slovakian shots and crosses with little difficulty, although he did needlessly give away indirect free kick in own box. Will be under fiercer scrutiny in Moscow.

John O'Shea

Only his second game of the season, and it showed with a couple of careless touches and passes that belonged to an earlier stage of his development. Normally a valuable support to Duff on the right flank but he was off colour and will not want to watch the DVD.

Stephen Ward

A big day for the Portmarnock lad who earned 50 grand for Bohemians by lasting 15 minutes. Made one timely defensive intervention in first half and got forward without finding end product. Energetic until the end, and was distraught at the final whistle.

Richard Dunne

Swept up efficiently on a night where Ireland's troubles were drawn from issues further up the field, although he was eluded once by Holosko in a rapid fire Slovakian counter-attack. Will have nightmares about late header that could have stolen the win.

Sean St Ledger

Was frustrated with the officials before break, losing out on 50-50 verdicts after a couple of clumsy challenges. Redeemed himself with heroic block to deny the marauding Hamsik, and a steady performance throughout the second half. Late yellow mean Darren O'Dea will likely deputise in Moscow.

Glenn Whelan

Plenty of endeavour from the Stoke man in the first half and he seemed to be conscious that the central midfielders were sat too deep. Penalty shout rightly turned down when he did push up after resumption; it was a rare example of the Stoke man finding space. He toiled in a frantic conclusion.

Aiden McGeady

Tried to demonstrate a full range of tricks but had the look of a player returning from injury with no real acceleration. Highlight of display was a defensive run back to stop a dangerous diagonal ball. Otherwise, off the pace and admitted afterwards that he didn't feel 100pc.

Keith Andrews

Unable to impose in early stages and became engaged in an ongoing battle with a fussy referee that he was always losing. Clever pass to Duff in first half brought a chance, but limited distribution in second half with night summed up by incident where he ran ball out of play with Slovaks on his trail.

Kevin Doyle

A shadow of himself, running into trouble rather than finding the space to give Ireland an outlet. Trapattoni suggested that the Wolves star was short of full fitness and, as it happened, the initial decision to leave him out was vindicated. A poor night for a man who is usually a model of consistency.

Robbie Keane

Flapped wildly at an early half chance and, frustrated by a lack of service, dropped deeper. Eventually advanced into the right areas as the game progressed and squandered a six-yard chance to turn a draw into a victory. Says he isn't bothered by setbacks, but will surely be troubled by a profligate moment.

Damien Duff

A ray of hope throughout, the only Irish player with a real idea about how to unlock a battle hardened Slovakian defence. Probed with intent whenever the ball came his way and deserved better from the accurate cross that Keane should have converted.

Giovanni Trapattoni

Unfortunate that Long was lost on the morning of the game; his energy might have helped. Overall, this was the biggest game of the campaign and, 11 months after Russia, the manager has yet to find a formula to make this team a force on their own soil. Also have to question why McGeady stayed on pitch for so long.

Simon Cox 5 (for Doyle 64 minutes)

Found some good positions without really taking control of the situation. Shane Long was badly missed.

Stephen Hunt 6 (for Aiden McGeady 84 minutes )

Should have been brought on earlier. Fine cross for Dunne under pressure at the end.

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