The search for his first victory as senior international team manager continues for Stephen Kenny following this evening’s one all draw with Qatar in a friendly contest played in Hungary. Despite a very bright opening period which yielded a goal after four minutes, tonight gradually descended into another depressing performance. The starting eleven showed eight changes from Saturday evening’s home defeat by Luxembourg with Gavin Bazunu, Seamus Coleman and Dara O’Shea the surviving trio. There were outings for many of the older brigade including Shane Duffy, Cyrus Christie, Robbie Brady, Jeff Hendrick, James McClean and Shane Long. The withdrawal of Brady after just 21 minutes through injury was pivotal as he had started brightly. Whether by inability or design there was much use of a long ball tactic which we believed was anathema to the footballing principles of Stephen Kenny. Whatever the reason, it did not work and we were treated to a quite dismal night in Debrecen. The side seemed jaded and bereft of energy which may be a reflection of the fact that many of the players are not playing regularly, it at all, for their clubs. The goal was well worked from a short corner routine with James McClean‘s shot taking a slight defection on route to the net. However we did not kick on as one might expect and the remainder of the first half was a scrappy affair. There were some anxious moments for teenage goalkeeper Bazunu whose inexperience showed with a couple of rash ventures from his goal but his shot stopping overall was solid and he could not be blamed for the equalising goal which came two minutes into the second half. Shane Long worked tirelessly up front and his pace caused problems to the Qatar defence. His withdrawal on 57 minutes was rather surprising. Dara O’Shea continues to offer hope for the future but the remainder offered little and looked out of sorts. Despite a lack of conviction we did have two excellent chances to score but substitute Callum Robinson dragged his opportunity wide and fellow substitute Josh Cullen saw his added time header well saved by the goalkeeper.
Team: Gavin Bazunu; Seamus Coleman (c), Shane Duffy, Dara O’Shea; Cyrus Christie, Jayson Molumby, Jeff Hendrick, Robbie Brady, James McClean; Shane Long, Daryl Horgan.
Troy Parrott for Brady 21′
Jason Knight for Horgan 57′
Callum Robinson for Long 57′
Alan Browne for Hendrick 83′
Josh Cullen for Molumby 83′
Ryan Manning for McClean 83′
Our senior international side take on World Cup hosts Qatar in a friendly international being played in Hungary at 7.45pm this Tuesday evening. Manager Stephen Kenny will be aiming to secure his first win in this the 11th contest of his senior managerial reign and has selected the following starting eleven.
Team: Gavin Bazunu; Seamus Coleman (c), Shane Duffy, Dara O’Shea; Cyrus Christie, Jayson Molumby, Jeff Hendrick, Robbie Brady, James McClean; Shane Long, Daryl Horgan