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Player ratings: how the Irish footballers in Britain fared in the 2017-18 season

It’s been a mixed season for the Boys in Green abroad.

N.B. FOR THE purposes of concision, we’ve restricted this list to players currently in  the Ireland squad or players who have been included in recent months (hence no Stephen Quinn, Marc Wilson et al), basing our critiques solely on what they achieved at club level, rather than on the international stage.

We’ve also decided to focus on players who have made 10 appearances or more, ruling out Jon Walters among others.

Furthermore, keep in mind that the footballers in question are rated relative to the level that they are currently playing at. So just because a Championship player scores higher than a Premier League star, it does not necessarily mean we are saying he is a better footballer than his top-flight counterpart.


Middlesbrough v Leeds United - Sky Bet Championship - Riverside Stadium Source: PA Archive/PA Images

Darren Randolph: Featured regularly for Middlesbrough, following a disappointing end to his stint at West Ham. The 31-year-old’s season is not over yet, with at least one more game, the second leg playoff semi-final against Aston Villa, to come. 8/10

Keiren Westwood: Still considered as being among the best goalkeepers in the Championship, Westwood featured 18 times for Sheffield Wednesday, but has not played since early December owing to a groin problem. 7/10

Rob Elliot: Played 16 times for Newcastle in the Premier League, but has not figured since December, and his days at the club could be numbered after falling out of favour under Rafa Benitez. 5/10

Ian Lawlor: The 23-year-old has been a regular for Doncaster since moving there from Manchester City, making 34 appearances in League One this season, as his side finished mid table. 7/10

Conor O’Malley: The former St Patrick’s Athletic goalkeeper has been gradually adjusting to life at Peterborough, making nine appearances in League One and playing 14 games in all competitions since moving there last August. 6/10

Aaron McCarey: Handed a surprise late call-up for the Turkey friendly, McCarey has been second choice more often than not, featuring 14 times in the Scottish Premiership for relegated Ross County. 5/10

Colin Doyle: The 32-year-old Cork native had a solid season, making 35 appearances for a Bradford side that finished 11th in League One. 7/10


Brighton & Hove Albion v Manchester United - Premier League - AMEX Stadium Source: John Walton

John O’Shea: Featured 37 times in the Championship for a Sunderland team that ended up bottom of the table and were relegated. The Waterford native has actually been one of the few relatively consistent performers at the Black Cats in recent years, but even his experience and leadership qualities could not prevent a catastrophic campaign. 6/10

Stephen Ward: Scored a spectacular goal on the opening day of the season in a shock win over Chelsea and helped Burnley dramatically exceed expectations with a seventh-place finish. Missed a chunk of the season through injury, but the left back still managed to make 28 Premier League appearances. 8/10

Paul McShane: It was a difficult campaign for McShane and Reading. After getting in the playoffs last season, the Royals narrowly avoided relegation. The 32-year-old Wicklow native made 26 appearances in the Championship, but has only played once since January amid an injury-ridden campaign. 6/10

Richard Keogh: A player who is synonymous with Derby County at this stage, Keogh has played regularly for a team that are still chasing promotion via the playoffs. 8/10

Alex Pearce: The 29-year-old continues to be seen as a fringe player at Derby, making 10 appearances in all competitions this season. 5/10

Cyrus Christie: Another player who’s had a disappointing campaign, after a short stint at Middlesbrough, the 25-year-old joined promotion-chasing Fulham in January, and he has largely had to be content with a place on the bench at Craven Cottage. 5/10

Shane Duffy: Arguably Ireland’s Player of the Season at club level, Duffy has been a virtual ever present for a Brighton side that has done well to avoid Premier League relegation despite the limited resources at their disposal. 9/10

Seamus Coleman: The Ireland captain has impressed since returning from a broken leg in January, featuring 12 times in the Premier League for the Toffees, who looked a more solid defensive unit with the Donegal native in their side. 8/10

Matt Doherty: This season could not have gone much better for the former Bohemians youngster, with the 26-year-old a regular part of the Wolves team that was promoted to the Premier League. 9/10

John Egan: The 25-year-old centre-back made 33 Championship appearances for a Brentford team that finished ninth in the table, six points off the promotion spots. 7/10

Ciaran Clark: It has been an excellent season for Newcastle, as the newly promoted side finished an impressive 10th in the table. Clark, however, will be disappointed with a lack of game time. Injury problems haven’t helped, but strong competition for places means the 28-year-old has not featured in the Premier League since February, despite playing 20 times overall in the league for the Magpies this season. 6/10

Declan Rice: He may have made one or two high-profile errors of late, but it has been a superb season overall for Rice. At 19, he has made 26 Premier League appearances this season in addition to one last year. 8/10

Kevin Long: The 27-year-old Corkonian has been a little unlucky, as the exceptional performances of Ben Mee and James Tarkowski at the back has meant there often isn’t any way room for him in the first XI. That said, Long has been an able deputy, featuring 16 times in total for Burnley in the Premier League this season. 6/10

Darragh Lenihan: The 24-year-old Meath native missed more than half the season, after picking up an injury early on, but recovered well, making 14 appearances in League One as Blackburn were promoted. 7/10

Derrick Williams: Another Irish defender who was part of Blackburn’s promotion-winning campaign, Williams made 51 appearances in all competitions and was rewarded for all the hard work with an Ireland call-up.  8/10 

Enda Stevens: Played regularly for a Sheffield United side that looked on course to challenge for promotion at one point but finished a disappointing 10th ultimately. 7/10

Greg Cunningham: Another player who had serious injury troubles, missing almost all of the first half of the season as a result of a knee injury. He featured regularly at left-back during the second half of the campaign though, and was part of a Preston side that narrowly missed out on a playoff spot. 7/10


Aston Villa v Reading - Sky Bet Championship - Villa Park Source: Tim Goode

Alan Judge: Was eased back slowly but surely, after 20 months out having suffered a broken leg. The Dubliner has played 13 times in the Championship since then, though only three of those appearances have been starts. Next season will provide a better insight into the level he is at. 7/10

Conor Hourihane: The 27-year-old Bandon native has scored 11 goals in 46 games in all competitions, with Villa still vying for promotion in the playoffs. It’s hard to think of an Irish midfielder who’s been in better form over the last 12 months. 9/10

Glenn Whelan: The 34-year-old has not always been an automatic starter for Villa, but his presence on and off the pitch has undoubtedly been a plus for Steve Bruce’s side. Stoke certainly have suffered significantly in his absence this season. 7/10

Wes Hoolahan: Has seen better days and was used from the bench more often than not by Norwich this season, but still enjoyed a memorable end to his career at Carrow Road amid a celebratory final game. 6/10

Jeff Hendrick: Lost his place in the starting XI for a period towards the end of the season, but it’s been a largely positive campaign for Hendrick, who has made 40 appearances in all competitions, in the process playing a substantial role in Burnley’s unforgettable season. 8/10

Aiden McGeady: Made 39 appearances in all competitions and scored seven times, so McGeady did more than some players to keep Sunderland in the Championship but could not save the club ultimately 6/10

Harry Arter: It’s been a season to forget for the 28-year-old. He made 13 appearances in the Premier League for Bournemouth, but the last time he featured in the league was back in January. There was talk of a bid from West Ham halfway through the season and that may have unsettled the player. 5/10

Eunan O’Kane: Made 32 appearances for Leeds in the Championship, though didn’t always start or complete games. O’Kane, like Leeds in general, will probably feel he can do better. The club were in contention for the playoff spots halfway through the campaign, but fell away badly, and ended up in 13th. 6/10

David Meyler: Meyler has confirmed he is set to leave Hull, and it’s been a disappointing final campaign for the 28-year-old. Despite impressing for his country, particularly in the 1-0 victory against Wales last October, Meyler has made just 25 appearances in the Championship, a number of which have come from the bench, with the club looking in danger of relegation throughout the season, before ultimately securing their safety and finishing 18th. 6/10

Robbie Brady: Had a very encouraging start to the season with Burnley, making 15 Premier League appearances and scoring once, before a serious knee injury ended his season back in December. 7/10

Shaun Williams: The 31-year-old Dubliner has impressed for Millwall this season, playing 40 times in all competitions, with his side narrowly missing out on promotion, and the player earning a well-deserved Ireland call-up as a result of his good form. 8/10

Alan Browne: A standout midfielder in the Championship, Browne featured regularly for Preston and was subsequently named their Player of the Season, scoring nine goals in all competitions over the course of the campaign. 9/10

Daryl Horgan: It’s been a frustrating season for Horgan, with the 25-year-old former Dundalk winger having to be content with a bit-part role. He made 20 appearances in the Championship for Alex Neil’s side, though the majority of those have been from the bench, with his last start coming on 29 December. 5/10

Callum O’Dowda: The 23-year-old winger enjoyed an encouraging start to the season for a Bristol City side that initially looked capable of challenging for promotion. However, an injury suffered in November severely hampered his campaign. O’Dowda did not return to action until April and was then mainly used from the bench, as what was in many ways a positive season for Bristol City ended in somewhat anti-climactic fashion. 6/10

James McClean: A difficult campaign for both the team and McClean as an individual, the 29-year-old winger was in and out of the Baggies’ side. He played in 31 of their 38 Premier League games, though only 15 of those were from the outset. Significantly though, he started all six of Darren Moore’s games in charge, as West Brom went on an end-of-season run that almost saw them beat the drop. 6/10


Arsenal v Southampton - Premier League - Emirates Stadium Source: Tim Goode

Shane Long: Two goals in 39 appearances in all competitions this season is poor for a striker whatever way you look at it, but Long still has many more Premier League appearances under his belt than most Irish players, while in certain instances when Southampton come up against the bigger teams, he was essentially acting as the first line of defence rather than someone expected to score an abundance of goals. 6/10

Scott Hogan: Six goals in 37 Championship appearances is a disappointing return for Hogan, particularly given how prolific he appeared before joining the club. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he did not feature in Villa’s playoff semi-final first leg at the weekend. That said, a goal in the return leg or in the final (if Villa get there) would turn an average season into a memorable one. 6/10

Aiden O’Brien: The 24-year-old had a superb first half of the season, featuring regularly for a Millwall side that came close to securing a spot in the playoffs ultimately. However, ankle ligament damage meant he had to watch the majority of the season’s second half from the sidelines. 7/10

Sean Maguire: Has adapted very well to the Championship, scoring 10 goals for Preston, while recovering well to almost help his side to a successful push towards the playoffs. 7/10

Callum Robinson: Featured regularly for Preston out wide as part of the attack, scoring seven goals in 43 appearances in all competitions and invariably restricting his Ireland colleague Horgan to a place on the bench. 8/10

David McGoldrick: Had enjoyed an decent start to the season for Ipswich, with eight goals in 24 appearances, but the 30-year-old hasn’t played since February, after picking up a season-ending groin injury. 6/10

Daryl Murphy: The 35-year-old, who recently announced his international retirement, had an excellent early part of the season, with six goals in his first 10 Championship appearances for Nottingham Forest. However, goals and game time have dried up since then amid injury problems, with the veteran striker last finding the net in November. 6/10

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Paul Fennessy

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