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Dublin: 4°C Wednesday 14 April 2021

'I pretty much hated every minute of that': McCarthy content with three points despite difficult night

Mick McCarthy got his second tenure in charge of Ireland off to a winning start against Gibraltar.

Ireland manager Mick McCarthy at the Victoria Stadium.
Ireland manager Mick McCarthy at the Victoria Stadium.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

MICK MCCARTHY WAS content with three points and the first win of his second tenure in charge of the national team against Gibraltar, but acknowledged that his side’s performance must improve.

Jeff Hendrick’s second international goal was the difference at a windy Victoria Stadium on Saturday on a frustrating evening for football in which Ireland had to bide their time to find a breakthrough.

“I pretty much hated every minute of that,” McCarthy said speaking to RTÉ Sport after full-time. “I knew what it was going to be like and it didn’t disappoint in terms of how the game was. I just said to the lads that it was a horrible game, but a great three points.”

Gale force winds and a plastic astro turf pitch affected play, with Ireland failing to match the high-scoring 4-0 and 7-0 wins against Gibraltar which were achieved four years ago.

Ireland players celebrate with goalscorer Jeff Hendrick Jeff Hendrick celebrates with his Ireland team-mates after taking the lead. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“Listen, we were never going to complain about the pitch,” McCarthy reflected. “It doesn’t make it any easier, the wind’s blowing a gale, but we’ve not played particularly well.

“We had some chances and we could have been one or two up in the first half. Darren Randolph was probably man-of-the-match with the save he made — he kept us at 0-0. 

I was asked earlier on about gaining momentum and I said that we can only gain momentum by winning a game. I would have took 1-0 any time. I would have wanted to score more and play better, but it’s three points.”

The 60-year-old praised the performance of David McGoldrick on Saturday. The Sheffield United striker, who worked under McCarthy at Ipswich Town in recent years, earned his first competitive start for Ireland against Gibraltar.

“Didsy, as he’s affectionately known, I think he’s played very well to be honest,” added McCarthy. “He’s brought a bit of quality when we needed it.

“He had one shot blocked on the line in the first half when there’s a great block by the defender. I think he’s played well all-round, he’s a good player.”

Ireland now turn their attention to facing Georgia, who lost 2-0 to Switzerland tonight, on Tuesday at the Aviva Stadium, looking to take maximum points from their opening Euro 2020 qualifiers.

“They’ll be watching that and thinking we’re hopeless,” McCarthy replied when asked about the threat posed by Georgia. “But we’ll play better than that. 

“I’ll be looking at it [tonight's performance] tomorrow morning and we’ll pick the bones out of it. It’s going to be a completely different game, of course, because they’re a completely different team.

“A team that’s lost tonight, so they’ll be looking to gain some sort of advantage against us or to get some momentum playing against us.” 

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Aaron Gallagher

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