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Dublin: 19 °C Tuesday 23 July, 2019
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Here's how we rated the Irish performances tonight in Copenhagen

Denmark and Ireland played out a goalless draw in the first leg of their 2018 World Cup play-off.

The Ireland team in a huddle before kick-off.
The Ireland team in a huddle before kick-off.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

– Paul Dollery reports from Parken Stadium, Copenhagen

Darren Randolph 9 — The Middlesbrough goalkeeper was faultless. Denied Denmark an early lead with a brilliant double save. Produced another good stop to keep out Christian Eriksen just after the half-hour mark, but was relieved to see Pione Sisto fire the rebound wide. Tipped over Yussuf Poulsen’s 90th minute header superbly.

Cyrus Christie 8 – It may have been the best performance the Middlesbrough full-back has produced in an Ireland shirt. Darren Randolph came to his rescue early on when Jens Stryger Larsen got in behind, but Christie defended superbly otherwise and was always keen to get forward. Forced an important save from Kasper Schmeichel just before the interval after linking up well with Callum O’Dowda.

Shane Duffy 9 — Once again the Derry native was colossal at the heart of Ireland’s defence. Won almost everything that came his way in the air and had a header saved by Kasper Schmeichel late on. The Brighton defender looks increasingly comfortable with each outing at this level of international football.

Ciaran Clark 7 – A big night for the Newcastle United man, who was handed the captain’s armband in the absence of Seamus Coleman and David Meyler. Defended well mostly but some wayward clearances put Ireland under pressure, most notably one which allowed Christian Eriksen to fire a shot at Darren Randolph.

Stephen Ward 7 — Nothing spectacular from the Burnley left-back but he was generally solid. Made no major errors while defending, although there were a couple of nervy moments in the second half when he was caught out of position.

Harry Arter 8 – Acting as a shield in front of Ireland’s back four, the Bournemouth midfielder broke up several Danish attacks and sought to get Ireland going forward whenever he was in possession. Undoubtedly one of his better displays at international level.

Jeff Hendrick 7 – A tireless shift from the Burnley midfielder. Was unable to exert much of an offensive influence for Ireland, but he performed his defensive duties well and covered a lot of ground while doing his bit to frustrate the hosts.

Callum O’Dowda 6 – A somewhat surprise inclusion for his second competitive start for Ireland, the 22-year-old Bristol City winger didn’t make a major impact but his contribution was certainly satisfactory for a player with so little experience of such a big occasion. Couldn’t make anything of a half-chance when set up by James McClean.

Robbie Brady 8 — Just like his midfield colleagues, the Burnley man worked his socks off in a central role. Would have expected more of himself with some of his set-piece deliveries, although the quality of them gradually improved. Brady came into the game more in the second half and made two vital defensive interventions in added time to deny Christian Eriksen and Nicklas Bendtner.

James McClean 8 – Aside from some poor decision-making while in possession on a couple of occasions, the West Bromwich Albion winger can be very happy with his evening’s work. Ran himself into the ground and provided some important support for Stephen Ward at the back. Had Denmark under pressure when he got the chance to run at them.

Daryl Murphy 6 – He was full of endeavour but it was a challenging night for the Nottingham Forest striker, who often cut a frustrated figure as he was forced to live off scraps while ploughing a lonely furrow up front.

Substitutes

Shane Long 6 – The Southampton striker replaced Daryl Murphy in the 74th minute. Made a couple of errors initially as he tried to settle into the game but should have won Ireland a corner when his shot from outside the box clearly deflected wide off a Danish defender. However, the referee got the call wrong and awarded the home side a goal kick.

Glenn Whelan and Conor Hourihane N/A — The Aston Villa pair weren’t on the pitch long enough to earn ratings.

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About the author:

Paul Dollery

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