Thursday 23 January 2020

Player ratings


Almost got into big trouble when an early kick-out was blocked down, but he recovered just in time to prevent a disaster. Otherwise, he dealt with a couple of speculative long shots effectively. Powerless to stop Czezh goal when Baros was left with ample space.


The Sunderland man has operated mostly at centre-half for his club since the arrival of Martin O'Neill. He was caught out for the Czech by goal by drifting into that department, though there was more to the goal than just one man's error. Got across halfway line a bit more late on.


The Irish back four did nothing wrong in the first half, generally keeping their position and coping with the Czech approach. O'Dea would be more comfortable against a team with a physical presence up top, and the movement of Baros caught the heart of the Irish defence out for their goal.


The senior member of the centre-half partnership has finally got a proper run in the team at Leicester, and needed to be sharp in the first half with a perfectly timed interception to stop a Czech attack. Aside from a late tackle which angered the Portuguese referee, he was solid.


Caught out of position in the opening minutes when Jiri Stajner slipped in on his blind side, but it was otherwise an unremarkable evening for the Wolves man, who is probably one of the safer members of the squad with a view to the summer -- there was no recognised left-back on the bench.


The Spartak Moscow winger is often criticised for his lack of end product, even though he delivered more assists than any other Irish player in qualifying. Produced an inch-perfect cross in the first minute that Long might have converted, and another for O'Dea later on. In his first proper game in few months.


Is high on confidence at the moment after a good start to life at West Brom, and he was one of the better Irish players from the outset, kicking off with a lofted pass to Keane that might have resulted in a goal. Tried to get forward when Ireland trailed, and was driving force behind equaliser.


Gave the crowd some cheer with an early bone-crushing tackle that took the ball first, but he paid the penalty in a later clash when he sustained a lip injury that required lengthy treatment. Tony Pulis will no doubt have been happy when Whelan was withdrawn just after the hour mark.


The Dubliner is on his way to the 100-cap mark if he is involved in every game between now and June 18, but he won't be looking back on this showing as a highlight when his career eventually comes to a close. Struggled to make a real impact, and was off target with a second-half strike.


The Irish skipper returns to Los Angeles this morning and will be disappointed by a frustrating end to a happy few months in this part of the world. Some nice flicks in the first half, but fluffed lines with just Cech to beat and thereafter was unable to impact the game where he would have wanted.


Aside from the first-minute header that Cech collected, Long wasn't given a huge amount of service before the break. Occasionally, he was let down by loose control, but in reality, the ball sailed frustratingly over the West Brom striker's head for large parts of the match.


It might have been February 29, but the Irish boss didn't break with his traditions, picking his strongest side and leaving experimentation to the minimum. Calling for Green ahead of McCarthy was a surprise, leaving McClean on sideline for 80 minutes frustrated, but one of his men, Cox, delivered.

Stephen Hunt (Duff 63) 6

Typically whole-hearted performance from Hunt, although he did make one mistake in dangerous territory.

Paul Green

(Whelan 63) 6

Groans when he was summoned, but did test Cech with a decent daisycutter.

Simon Cox

(Keane 71) 7

The West Brom man sent the Ireland fans home happy with a fine goal that confirmed his summer plans.

Jon Walters

(Long 71) 6

Combative and freed space for others to embark on forward runs.

James McClean

(McGeady 79) 6

Minimal time to make an impact, but his enthusiasm helped the comeback.

Irish Independent

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