'People will say there's positives to take from it but at the moment, we're all gutted'

Alan Browne reflected on a disappointing evening for the Irish team.

Republic of Ireland's Alan Browne and Richard Keogh after the game.
Republic of Ireland's Alan Browne and Richard Keogh after the game.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

ALAN BROWNE WAS visibly disappointed after Ireland’s 1-1 draw with Denmark last night meant Mick McCarthy’s side missed out on automatic qualification for Euro 2020 last night.

The Preston midfielder competed 90 minutes, but could not help the Boys in Green end a 40-year wait for a victory against the Danes in a competitive match.

While acknowledging the improved nature of the performance from the Irish team, Browne struggled to take much consolation from it.

“Overall, we’re massively disappointed. People will say there’s positives to take from it but at the moment, we’re all gutted and it’s something we’re going to have to reflect on in the coming days or weeks. We’ve got another chance in March, we need to regroup and go again.

“I don’t think they deserved the goal at that stage of the game [in the second half]. I think we had the better of the chances. It was kind of against the run of play really. It knocked us back a peg or two. We came out again, got our equaliser and gave it our all — left everything out there. But it wasn’t to be.

“[Mick said] he was proud of us. We left everything out there, gave it our all and just have to keep our heads up. We’ve got another chance to qualify. We’re focused on that now.”

And with Bosnia, Wales, Slovakia and Northern Ireland all potential play-off opponents, does Browne have any preference as to who they play?

“I haven’t thought about that yet. We’re still gutted about the game tonight, so it’s something we’re going to have to think about in the coming weeks or months.”

Ahead of the match, some critics felt Browne was vying with Conor Hourihane for the central midfield starting berth. In the end, both players were accommodated, with Browne shifting to the right-hand side, a role he was happy to fill despite it not being his preferred position.

“I just tried to enjoy it. I know it was a massive occasion. It was a great experience for me. I did my best to enjoy the game and get on it when I could. I had a few nervy spells, but I think everybody goes through those patches and I just tried to give my all for the team.

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“The atmosphere was incredible. I think it always is in the Aviva, a packed-out stadium and the fans really got behind us and pushed us all the way. It’s just a disappointment that we couldn’t give them what they deserve.

“We’re just gutted about tonight. We obviously wanted to qualify tonight, not to go through the play-offs. We wanted to give everyone the special night that everyone wanted, but it just wasn’t to be.”

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Paul Fennessy

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