Mick McCarthy saw his Republic of Ireland side collect another three points with a two nil victory over Gibraltar in tonight’s 2020 European Championship qualifying contest in the Aviva Stadium.
The starting eleven showed two changes from the contest in Copenhagen with Callum Robinson and Scott Hogan replacing Glenn Whelan and Robbie Brady in a 4-4-2 formation.
In his pre-match comments, Mick McCarthy had emphasised the point that the result not the performance was all important and that was very much the way things worked out.
Ireland dominated possession throughout but failed to deliver really definitive goal scoring opportunities. Indeed, the opening goal after twenty nine minutes was an own goal which came via a wicked deflection of a David McGoldrick shot which was way off target.
The second goal, three minutes into added time at the end of the contest, was one of quality involving an initial splendid cross field pass from Conor Hourihane to James McClean whose far post cross was headed home by the incoming Robbie Brady who had replaced Callum Robinson on seventy three minutes.
Darren Randolph was untroubled all evening and while Seamus Coleman made numerous forays down the right flank his link up with Robinson lacked precision. Richard Keogh was solid in defence but his centre back partner Shane Duffy had a very disappointing night as also did Enda Stevens whose understanding with the industrious James McClean yielded little. Conor Hourihane, the deepest of the midfielders did deliver some fine long range passes while Jeff Hendrick contributed only in fits and starts.
The front two of Scott Hogan and David McGoldrick worked tirelessly but were unable to really provide a clinical finishing touch, though McGoldrick, who was named ‘man of the match’ did have one excellent effort which struck the post.
The statistics of Ireland having thirty one attempts with only seven on target coupled with a corner count of fourteen to one together with the disappointing foul count of thirteen against only four by the visitors tells much about another frustrating evening.
D Randolph; S Coleman(C), S Duffy, R Keogh, E Stevens; C Robinson, J Hendrick, C Hourihane, J McClean; D McGoldrick, S Hogan
Sean Maguire for Hogan 66′
Robbie Brady for Robinson 73′
Also in action this evening were Denmark and Georgia, who met in Copenhagen where the hosts emerged as five one victors.
P W D L F A G/D Pts
Republic of Ireland 4 3 1 0 5 1 4 10
Denmark 3 1 2 0 9 5 4 5
Switzerland 2 1 1 0 5 3 2 4
Georgia 4 1 0 3 4 8 -4 3
Gibraltar 3 0 0 3 0 6 -6 0