Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 December 2014

Republic of Ireland: How the players rated

Shay Given
Shay Given - 7
Made one top drawer save, but it turned out to be offside anyway. Commanded his area with as much authority as possible and needed clever judgement to avoid conceding penalties to Evra and Anelka. No chance of keeping out the Chelsea striker's deflected strike
John O'Shea - 6
Surprisingly sloppy in possession on a couple of occasions, but generally an assured presence who went about his defensive duties diligently and knew when to knock the ball into touch and buy some time. Could have done better when unmarked in French area shortly after interval though
Sean St Ledger - 6
A heartbreaking conclusion for the Middlesbrough man who was the only Championship player in the starting team, but looked comfortable in this class. Cleared away numerous headers and wisely avoided diving in unnecessarily -- but was cruelly punished for standing off as Anelka struck
Richard Dunne - 6
One early error when misjudging hopeful punt, but luckily Gignac was offside. Otherwise, though, the Irish centre half did everything that was asked of him by leading the defensive line and ensuring that France didn't get in behind. Understandably frustrated at the end
Kevin Kilbane - 5
Solid enough in the first half, considering that Henry and Anelka were rotating. Yet the converted left-back struggled to maintain that performance level after the interval when he took the wrong option on a few occasions before the howler that culminated with an awful miss from Gignac
Liam Lawrence - 6
Considering his lack of international experience and the fact he has barely played for Stoke in the last month, this was a fine display from the winger. Generally kept possession well and restricted Patrice Evra to just one notable burst forward. Still no guarantee he will start on Wednesday though
Keith Andrews - 5
Shone in first half with series of crunching challenges and superb workrate and nearly broke deadlock before interval. Alas, got caught in a muddle facing his own goal before the break and endured a few sticky moments thereafter as France's growing dominance stretched the energy levels
Glenn Whelan - 7
Like Andrews, the Stoke man will never please some people, but, again, the exceptional effort he put in here has to be acknowle-dged -- as illustrated with lung-bursting run for late chance that could have altered this tie dramatically. Unremarkable in possession, albeit not as wasteful as some suggest
Damien Duff - 7
For all the French flair present, his delightful flick to nutmeg Sagna provided the showboat moment of the match in the early stages of the second half. Alas, while Duff was busy, he failed to really penetrate before he was replaced and got little change from the referee in terms of being awarded free-kicks
Robbie Keane - 6
The skipper will reflect on a mixed performance. Certainly, he strained every sinew of his body to try and make the best of poor enough service in an attempt to unsettle the French defence. However, he lacked the composure of the group stages on the few occasions he saw daylight in the French box
Kevin Doyle - 7
Thankless task for the Wolves man who spent most of the evening engaging in aerial challenges and chasing lost causes. Expertly crafted an opening for Andrews in first half and it was tough for the Wexford man to keep that intensity up. Nevertheless, he was visibly disgusted at being replaced
Giovanni Trapattoni - 5
Sent team out with usual gameplan that worked for 45 minutes, but they lacked subtlety after break. Perhaps should have reacted to French second-half dominance prior to the goal, with the decision to replace Doyle with Best a questionable call. Could also have introduced McGeady or Hunt earlier
Leon Best - 5
(for Doyle 70) Looked good in friendlies, but contribution here was similar to late cameo in Bulgaria in June -- causing trouble by accident rather than design. Helped create Whelan chance, but loose in possession and repeatedly fell foul of ref
Aiden McGeady - 5
(for Duff 76) Failed to really get into the rhythm of the game after his contribution save for one run that finished with a disappointing shot. Quality of Lawrence's display will make it difficult to win place for Wednesday, but he deserves a longer stint
Stephen Hunt - 5
(for Lawrence 80) Has thrived as an impact sub in the past, but this was a difficult encounter to come into. Quick throw did win Ireland a rare corner on the night, but delivery was short of his best. Unable to properly impose himself

How each individual in the Irish team fared in the World Cup qualifying play-off against France at Croke Park.

>>Click the image to launch gallery

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