Wednesday 8 February 2023 Dublin: 4°C
Ryan Byrne/INPHO Randolph and Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill after the final whistle.
# safe pair of hands
'They're the nights you want every time you play' - Man of the match Randolph comes to Ireland's rescue
The Middlesbrough goalkeeper made a couple of top-class saves to keep a clean sheet against Northern Ireland.

ONE OF THE only positives to come out of last night’s drab 0-0 draw between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland was Darren Randolph’s performance. 

A commanding display from the Wicklow goalkeeper was the difference in preventing a home defeat for the Boys in Green at the Aviva Stadium as he thwarted the visitors on a number of occasions. 

Middlesbrough stopper Randolph’s stand-out moments came 14 minutes in, when he kept out Gavin Whyte of Oxford United, and 18 minutes from the end — this time denying Kilmarnock midfielder Jordan Jones with an outstretched toe. 

Deservedly named man of the match, the 31-year-old was satisfied with his own night’s work even if the team as a whole were once again well below-par. 

“It was a positive for me and the team, definitely,” Randolph said, before being asked about his saves. “That’s all it was, as simple as that. I just had to try and make myself as big as possible at the last second. Twice it came off today.

As a goalkeeper, they’re the nights you want every time you play. As a striker, you want the nights when you score a hat-trick. You want them every week but it doesn’t always work out that way. I made the saves and kept a clean sheet, so it worked out for me tonight.”

Ireland have now failed to score in their last three fixtures, and he added: “We’re a bit disappointed that we didn’t kind of do more with the ball and create more chances. It’s stuff to work on. We have positives to take from the game so we’ll move on.

“It’s easier said than done. If it was that easy, teams would go out and do it every week. It’s about having that confidence and belief, taking that from the training pitch out onto the match pitch.”

Darren Randolph saves a shot from Jordan Jones Tommy Dickson / INPHO Saving from Jordan Jones. Tommy Dickson / INPHO / INPHO

Next up is a trip to Aarhus to face Denmark in their final Uefa Nations League game of the current campaign. Having already played the Danes three times in the space of 12 months, the Irish players will know what to expect on Monday night. 

“It was a tough game over there last year and a tough game last month here,” said Randolph. “It’ll be the same on Monday. We’ve played each other a lot recently so we know each other well. We’ll go there and give our best as always.”

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- Additional reporting from Paul Dollery 

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