Ireland suffer chastening defeat by Luxembourg…27/03/2021


Ireland suffered a chastening, bordering on humiliating, one nil defeat by Luxembourg in this evening’s World Cup qualifying match played in the Aviva Stadium. This depressing result, garnered from a performance lacking energy or impetus has almost certainly spelt the death knell to our hopes of qualifying for Qatar 2022. The contrast with the performance in Serbia on Wednesday last was dumbfounding and can not be truly explained. Save for the performance of debutant goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu, captain Seamus Coleman and second half substitute Robbie Brady, there are no positives to report. Tonight we completely lacked any form of identity and it would be clutching at straws to anticipate any real revival in the immediate future. The road ahead looks arduous and lengthy. Post match, shell shocked captain Coleman offered no excuses and could find no explanation for the lack of belief that pervaded the team. Manager Stephen Kenny was also acutely perplexed and accepted that the impending criticism will be deserved. The change of playing style is not really working after ten matches with four draws and six defeats. Noble though the style principle may be we do not, at this juncture, have sufficient players with the necessary quality to implement it.

This evening we mustered but one chance in the opening half with James Collins being unfortunate not to convert a delightful pass from Callum Robinson. In the second half, substitute Robbie Brady provided a couple of fine deliveries but we were unable to apply any finishing touches. The visiting goalkeeper was little troubled throughout while the debutant Bazunu was required to make three excellent saves.

Gavin Bazunu; Seamus Coleman(C), Dara O’Shea, Ciaran Clark; Matt Doherty, Jason Knight, Josh Cullen, Alan Browne, Enda Stevens; James Collins, Callum Robinson
Robbie Brady for Doherty 45′

James McClean for Clark 60′
Shane Long for Robinson 73′
Jayson Molumby for Cullen 88′
Troy Parrott for Collins 88′

Ireland face Luxembourg this Saturday evening…27/03/2021
Manager Stephen Kenny has named his starting eleven for tonight’s  World Cup Qualifying contest against Luxembourg in the Aviva Stadium which is set to kick-off at 7.45pm.

The side shows three changes from the match against Serbia with Gavin Bazunu, making his debut, Jason Knight and James Collins replacing Mark Travers, Jayson Molumby and the injured Aaron Connolly. 

Team: Gavin Bazunu; Seamus Coleman(C), Dara O’Shea, Ciaran Clark; Matt Doherty, Jason Knight, Josh Cullen, Alan Browne, Enda Stevens; James Collins, Callum Robinson


Republic of Ireland Manager Stephen Kenny is forced to make at least one change to his starting eleven for the meeting with Luxembourg in the Aviva Stadium at 7.45pm this Saturday evening. Injury rules out Aaron Connolly who has returned to his club Brighton & Hove Albion and will not be available for next week’s encounter with Qatar.

Ireland lose to Serbia this Wednesday evening…24/03/2021
Our 2022 World Cup qualification campaign got off to a disappointing start with a three two defeat by Serbia in Belgrade this Wednesday evening. A very new and youthful starting eleven did adopt a 3-5-2 formation which functioned reasonably well for the majority of the first half. Ireland started quite brightly, forcing two corners in the opening minutes but they came to nothing. The hosts responded with a series of corners of their own but they too proved fruitless. Ireland stunned the hosts with the opening goal after 18 minutes . Some fine build up play involving Matt Doherty, Alan Brown and Enda Stevens saw the ball directed to Callum Robinson who delivered an excellent cross which was powered to the net by Brown who had made his run from near the halfway line. Ireland continued to play some neat possession football but were undone on 40 minutes when Ciaran Clark was outjumped by Dusan Tadic whose flick on was fired to the net by  Dusan Vlahovic. Ireland did not maintain their first half quality on the resumption and the hosts began to dominate. Ireland introduced Jeff Hendrick for Jayson Molumny on 61 minutes and Shane Long replaced Aaron Connolly six minutes later. Hosts Serbia took the lead on 68 minutes through substitute Aleksandar Mitrovic who lobbed Mark Travers from some thirty yards. Seven minutes later Mitrovic was again on the scoresheet, outjumping Clark in the penalty area to power home his header. A now somewhat deflated Ireland made three changes on 79 minutes with Robbie Brady, James Collins and James McClean replacing Browne, Clark and Robinson. The changes did spark something of a revival with Long pressurizing the goalkeeper and a defender into an error which Collins pounced upon to score. It was however too little too late. There were positive performances from captain Seamus Coleman midfielder Josh Cullen and forward Callum Robinson while all five substitutes did make some impact.

The other Group A contest played this evening saw Portugal defeat their visitors Azerbaijan by one goal to nil while in the friendly fixture, World Cup 2022 hosts Qatar defeated Luxembourg by one goal to nil.

Our Republic of Ireland senior international football team set out  this evening on the journey which we all hope sees us participate at the 2022 World Cup Finals in Qatar. Manager Stephen Kenny has named his starting eleven for this opening engagement with second seed hosts Serbia in the Rajko Mitic Stadium, Belgrade at 7.45pm.

It is extremely unlikely that anyone could have predicted the starting eleven which appears to be a 3-5-2 formation with significant attacking emphasis. We await the on pitch revelation. 

Team: Mark Travers; Seamus Coleman(C), Dara O’Shea, Ciaran Clark; Matt Doherty, Jayson Molumby, Josh Cullen, Alan Browne, Enda Stevens; Aaron Cconnolly, Callum Robinson

The four extended squad members to miss out this evening are Conor Coventry, Ronan Curtis, Ryan Manning and Troy Parrott.

Revised Squad

Goalkeepers: Gavin Bazunu(Manchester City on loan at Rochdale),  Kieran O’Hara(Burton Albion), Mark Travers(AFC Bournemouth)

Defenders: Cyrus Christie(Fulham on loan at Nottingham Forest), Ciaran Clark(Newcastle United), Seamus Coleman(Everton), Matt Doherty(Tottenham Hotspur), Shane Duffy(Brighton & Hove Albion on loan at Glasgow Celtic), Darragh Lenihan(Blackburn Rovers), Ryan Manning(Swansea City), Dara O’Shea(West Bromwich Albion), Enda Stevens(Sheffield United) 

Midfielders: Robbie Brady(Burnley), Alan Browne(Preston North End), Conor Coventry(West Ham United), Josh Cullen(RSC Anderlecht), Ronan Curtis(Portsmouth), Jeff Hendrick(Newcastle United), Daryl Horgan((Wycombe Wanderers), Jason Knight(Derby County), James McClean(Stoke City), Jayson Molumby(Brighton & Hove Albion on loan at Preston North End),   

Forwards: James Collins(Luton Town), Aaron Connolly(Brighton & Hove Albion),  Shane Long(Southampton on loan at AFC Bournemouth), Troy Parrott(Tottenham Hotspur on loan at Ipswich Town), Callum Robinson(West Bromwich Albion)