Ireland contain Denmark in Aarhus…19/11/2018

Ireland played out a scoreless draw with Denmark in Aarhus this evening in the final match of their 2018 UEFA Nations League campaign. While one can not dismiss a clean sheet away from home against superior opposition, the match again highlighted the many shortcomings of the team and management. Ireland did not have a shot on goal and rarely even entered the Danish penalty area throughout the match. The hosts had numerous opportunities to test goalkeeper Darren Randolph but were very much off kilter, indeed passing up two simple opportunities within six metres of goal. The possession statistics of 75%/25% tell their own story. The Irish back three did look more reliable than Dublin on Thursday last, with Shane Duffy much improved alongside the reasonably solid Kevin Long but Richard Keogh on the right hand side gave cause for concern. Jeff Hendrick was deployed in the unfamiliar holding midfield role and while he made few mistakes he was largely anonymous and his nomination as Ireland’s ‘man of the match’ is hugely questionable. Cyrus Christie was again deployed in an unfamiliar midfield role and whilst game and energetic was quite lost in the midfield arts. Robbie Brady is just returning from a lengthy injury absence and is still a long way from full fitness and it showed. Captain Seamus Coleman performed assiduously and was arguably our best player while Enda Stevens on the left flank was reasonably competent. Callum O’Dowda, played the supporting striker role behind Aiden O’Brien and while both offered huge endeavour they were totally isolated and unable to contribute anything in an attacking vein. Substitute forwards Ronan Curtis and Callum Robinson joined the fray on sixty five minutes and suffered the same fate as their predecessors while teenager Michael Obafemi made his debut on eighty minutes and had little or no chance to make any relevant contribution.