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Dublin: 10 °C Tuesday 22 October, 2019
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Irish Player Ratings: Whelan and McGoldrick star in feel-good Irish win against Georgia

Hand out your own ratings too, as Ireland add a fine performance to a crucial win at the Aviva Stadium.

Darren Randolph

7Our Rating

 

What is becoming the customary Randolph performance: having had nothing to do for large tranches of the game, he came to Ireland’s rescue with the save from Valerian Gvilla in first-half stoppage time. Helped the stewards clear some tennis balls too, the lovely bloke that he is.

6

Seamus Coleman

6Our Rating

 

No repeat of his goalscoring heroics from this game in the last campaign, in which his mazy run into the net led to the only goal. Coleman was defensively solid and offered a threat going forward, an early first-half cross narrowly evading McClean’s head at the front-post.

6

Shane Duffy

6Our Rating

 

He should be given an assist for leaning on the Georgia wall to allow more space for Hourihane’s free-kick to find the net. That is the only assist he was likely to get, as his use of the ball was largely poor. Customarily excellent when Georgia had the ball, mind.

6

Richard Keogh

7Our Rating

 

Another assured performance from Keogh, made more impressive by the fact he played with a broken hand.

6

Enda Stevens

6Our Rating

 

While he is excelling for Sheffield United as a left wing-back, he has failed to grasp his opportunity as an orthodox left-back over the last couple of days,and was notably tentative tonight. With Matt Doherty’s absence conspicuous, Stevens may be a fall-guy come June.

6

Glenn Whelan

8Our Rating

What was your favourite Whelan moment? The goal-line clearance? The drag-back? Ours was his firing a tennis ball back into the crowd when celebrating Hourihane’s free-kick. Whelan was the rock upon which McCarthy founded the biggest difference to the dreary days of 2018: his intelligent work at the base of the midfield making him the conscience of the Irish operation, allowing Hendrick and Hourihane indulge themselves in the adolescent thrill of sustained attacks. Glenn Whelan: the retirement we didn’t realise we couldn't afford.

6

Conor Hourihane

8Our Rating

A couple of performances to firmly establish himself in McCarthy’s first choice XI, although tired badly in the final stages of the second half. Having elected not to pick out Robbie Brady, Hourihane really should have finished the chance that fell his way in the first-half, thanks to Jeff Hendrick’s tenacity. But hey, if you can score free-kicks like that...

6

Jeff Hendrick

7Our Rating

In the 52nd minute of this game, Shane Duffy knocked a hopeful ball on top of the striker’s head, a scene with which we are deadingly familiar with. This came with a twist, however. By the time the ball skidded off McGoldrick’s head, Hendrick had sprinted beyond him. Hendrick has evidently been attentive to McCarthy’s demands that he attack with more conviction, and it led to one of his most tenacious and central performances in yonks.

6

Robbie Brady

6Our Rating

 

Decent performance by Brady, in which he was frequently sloppy on the ball but occasionally superb: see that pass for Enda Stevens that resulted in Hedrick’s goal being chalked off for offside. Hourihane’s quality on set pieces means that Brady loses that niche in tight selection calls in the future, and he needs regular game time with Burnley from now to the end of the season to guarantee a starting spot in June.

6

David McGoldrick

8Our Rating

Only middle-aged divorcees with a Sky TV subscription were consigned to the lonely, late-night exploration of channels more often than the Irish striker last year, so David McGoldrick’s finding midfielders and forwards around him tonight made for a welcome change. He dropped deep and linked play well, but also offered a threat peeling off in behind, most notably in winning the free-kick from which Hourihane scored. He led the line well in the second-half well, although lacked a slight degree of pace to punish the Georgians. He has one heck of a work ethic and left to a stadium-wide ovation.

6

James McClean

6Our Rating

 

McClean hurtled about the pitch as usual helping to set the tempo for Ireland’s higher-octane start. Lacked the quality to beat his full-back consistently, however, and his crossing was generally poor. His defending and tracking-back, however, could not be faulted.

6

Aiden O'Brien

Offered some badly needed energy in the final 15 minutes as a replacement for Brady. 

6

Matt Doherty

Not on long enough to be rated, coming on for an exhausted McGoldrick. 

6

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About the author:

Gavin Cooney

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