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3 Ireland players who had a good week and 3 who didn't

It’s been a mixed week for the Boys in Green, as they earned a vital point against Wales but also lost to Iceland.

Good week

John O’Shea

Republic of Ireland v Wales - 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying - Group D - Aviva Stadium Source: Brian Lawless

O’Shea was outstanding as Ireland earned a 0-0 draw against Wales. Some questioned whether, at 35, the Waterford native could still handle the rigours of international football. However, his assured display at the heart of the defence on Friday night shows that the former Man United player remains an invaluable asset.

Robbie Brady

Ireland: Republic of Ireland vs Iceland - International Friendly Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

Robbie Brady was badly missed on Friday night, as Ireland struggled to create much of note against Wales. The Burnley star was suspended for his side’s World Cup qualifier, but he returned to captain the team for the first time during last night’s friendly with Iceland. Even in what still feels like a makeshift position, left-back, Robbie Brady was arguably Ireland’s brightest, most creative player going forward, with Martin O’Neill suggesting afterwards that playing him in defence was a case of needs must. And while it’s not his best position, Brady was still one of the few players to emerge from last night’s game with credit, as his man-of-the-match award emphasised.

Daryl Horgan

Daryl Horgan with Rúrik Gíslason Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Daryl Horgan had less than half an hour to impress after entering the action as a second-half substitute last night. The Galway native has made over 200 appearances in the League of Ireland with Salthill Devon, Sligo Rovers, Cork City and Dundalk, before joining Preston in the January transfer window. Last night was due reward for his progress over the years and he certainly seemed to grasp the opportunity. In a shorter time on the field, Horgan had a greater impact than either Preston teammate Aiden McGeady or Jonathan Hayes did before him. He was a constant threat down the left, with Ireland looking dangerous in attack all of a sudden due to his pace and crossing ability.

Bad week

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Aiden McGeady

Aiden McGeady Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

McGeady’s introduction against Wales at least meant that Ireland had a player who could carry the ball in the team and the winger showed flashes of skill in that game. However, for the most part, the ex-Celtic star looked out of sorts against Iceland. Almost everything he did seemed to cause the crowd to groan ultimately, and his ineptitude was highlighted even more as Preston teammate Daryl Horgan produced a much more effective display from the bench.

Jeff Hendrick

Republic of Ireland v Wales - 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying - Group D - Aviva Stadium Source: Niall Carson

Hendrick was deservedly nominated for the Player of the Year award at the recent FAI Awards on the back of some excellent displays at Euro 2016. Since then, however, he hasn’t quite managed to recapture this form in a green jersey. He looked uncomfortable in games against both Iceland and Wales, with Ireland seldom playing the ball through midfield and Hendrick particularly ineffectual in a more attacking role on Friday night. The Dubliner has plenty of talent, but he needs to be braver and show for the ball on a more regular basis. Too often, games at international level have passed him by.

Kevin Doyle

Republic of Ireland v Iceland - International Friendly - Aviva Stadium Source: Brian Lawless

It would have been cruel had Kevin Doyle travelled all the way over from Colorado only to sit on the bench for international week. In the end, like every available member of the Ireland squad apart from Colin Doyle, he was given a chance. One of the five Ireland players to stay on the pitch for the entire 90 minutes last night, the Wexford native worked hard as always, but did little to suggest he is still capable of holding down a place in the side in the long run. His electric pace was a key part of his game that helped him score 13 goals in a memorable first season in the Premier League. Now, however, at 33, Doyle has clearly seen better days, and Ireland are going to have to start looking at other options in attack.

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Paul Fennessy

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