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Dublin: 4°C Wednesday 3 March 2021

Player ratings: How Ireland's footballers got on in 2015

We rank Martin O’Neill’s men based on their club and international form.

N.B. Both club and (where applicable) international form was taken into account when compiling these ratings. Only realistic contenders for the Euros squad were included.


Britain Soccer Premier League Rob Elliot has been in excellent form for Newcastle of late. Source: Scott Heppell

Darren Randolph 7/10 – Left Birmingham after a successful stint there and had some notable highs in 2015, playing the last few games of Ireland’s Euros campaign as well as featuring in West Ham’s 3-0 victory over Liverpool at Anfield. However, he has struggled to get in the Hammers’ team since the return of Adrian from suspension.

Shay Given 6/10 - Got his place back in the Villa team before losing it again after moving to Stoke. Nonetheless, he is still a favourite of Martin O’Neill and he also helped Villa get as far as the FA Cup final.

David Forde 5/10 - Was relegated with Millwall in the Championship before losing his place in the side. Having started the qualifying campaign as Ireland’s first-choice goalkeeper, his squad place is now in doubt.

Rob Elliot 7/10 - Was out of the Newcastle team for much of the season but impressed having finally getting a chance to start regularly, after two of the Magpies’ other goalkeepers picked up injuries. He should make the Euros squad if he can keep up his current form.

Keiren Westwood 8/10 - The 31-year-old Manchester-born stopper been highly impressive at times for Sheffield Wednesday, winning Championship Goalkeeper of the Season for the 2014-15 campaign.

Stephen Henderson 7/10 - Henderson has performed respectably in the Championship with Charlton, despite the club struggling at times.


Seamus Coleman 8/10 - Perhaps still hasn’t quite hit the heights of the 2013-14 campaign over the past 12 months, but remains one of the Premier League’s best full-backs.

John O’Shea 7/10 - Invariably distinguished himself when he put on a green shirt and was one of the better players albeit in a poor Sunderland team.

Richard Keogh 9/10 - Superb for Ireland, particularly in the games against Germany and Bosnia and has also done well with Derby in the Championship.

Soccer - Soccer - UEFA European Championship Qualifying - Group D - Republic of Ireland v Scotland - Aviva Stadium Marc Wilson has endured a difficult few months at club and international level. Source: Niall Carson

Marc Wilson 5/10 - Lost his place in both the Stoke and Ireland team — needs a much better 2016.

Ciaran Clark 7/10 - An injury ended his 2014-15 campaign prematurely and he has been in and out of the Villa side ever since, however Clark played superbly in Ireland’s play-off matches against Bosnia.

Stephen Ward 6/10 - Has had a dire spell with Burnley, getting virtually no game time this season, but his rating gets a boost purely on account of his solid display in Ireland’s famous 1-0 win over Germany.

Greg Cunningham 7/10 - A regular in Preston’s defence, Cunningham could become a realistic option for Ireland on account of the lack of viable alternatives at left-back.

Shane Duffy 8/10 - His 2014-15 campaign came to a cruel premature end after picking up a long-term knee injury. However, Duffy has been a regular fixture for Blackburn in the Championship this season, impressing at the heart of their defence.

Cyrus Christie 7/10 - Performed superbly when asked to deputise for Seamus Coleman at international level, he has been a regular starter for a promotion-challenging Derby this season after being dropped towards the end of the 2014-15 campaign.

Alex Pearce 5/10 - Has barely played since moving from Reading to Derby in the summer, and his international chances have diminished as a result.

Paul McShane 7/10 - Was let go by Hull following their relegation from the Premier League, but recovered well, and is now captain of Reading.


Glenn Whelan 7/10 - Has his detractors, but Whelan has been a virtual ever present for both Stoke and Ireland, so he must be doing something right.

James McCarthy 7/10 - Like Whelan, not the most eye-catching player, but was fundamental to Ireland’s win over Germany and had a decent 12 months at Everton as well.

Soccer - UEFA European Championship Qualifying - Group D - Poland v Republic of Ireland - National Stadium Jeff Hendrick has established himself as a regular in the Irish side. Source: Tony Marshall

Jeff Hendrick 7/10 - The 23-year-old midfielder has established himself in the Ireland side, though at times had to settle for a place on Derby’s bench. He did score an excellent goal the other night though.

James McClean 7/10 - Had a difficult end to last season, as his Wigan side were relegated from the Championship, but has recovered well, and is now a regular in the West Brom team.

Jack Byrne 8/10 - Earned a new contract for Man City and a regular place with loan club SC Cambuur in the the Dutch Eredivisie to boot. The 19-year-old Dublin-born midfielder will be hoping to make further progress in 2016, even if the Euros will almost certainly come too soon for him.

Aiden McGeady 5/10 - A very disappointing year both at club and international level, albeit injuries haven’t helped. Having been the hero in Ireland’s opening Euros qualifier against Georgia, his lack of game time at club level means people are now starting to question whether he merits a place in the squad. The 29-year-old winger therefore badly needs a move in the January transfer window.

Harry Arter 9/10 - A fantastic year, Arter made his Ireland debut and helped Bournemouth win the Championship. After an injury-interrupted start to the season, he has impressed since his return in the Premier League.

Alan Judge 8/10 - Judge has made himself a strong contender for Ireland’s 23-man Euro 2016 squad with a series of influential performances in the Championship — watch this space.

David Meyler 7/10 - A solid performer, Meyler’s versatility means he is expected to earn a place in the Ireland squad.

Darron Gibson 5/10 - Has struggled to break into Everton’s first team since recovering from a long-term injury and is another who could do with a move in January.

Robbie Brady 9/10 - Had a difficult end to last season, as he was relegated to the Championship with Hull. Nevertheless, he joined Norwich in the summer, and has been a success at Carrow Road, while his Ireland performances have been largely excellent to boot.

Stephen Quinn 6/10 – A frustrating, injury-interrupted season, which also encompassed a move to Reading after Hull were relegated from the Premier League, Quinn is another who could be made to sweat for his Euros squad place.

Eunan O’Kane 6/10 - Started the season well, making his full Premier League debut for Bounemouth as they took on Liverpool at Anfield. However, since Arter’s return from injury, he has struggled to win a place in the side.

Wes Hoolahan 9/10 - Has been one of Norwich’s best players, inspiring their successful promotion bid and impressing by providing a number of assists in the Premier League thereafter.

Stephen Gleeson 7/10 - Quietly impressive for Birmingham in the Championship this season, his chances of making the Euros squad are very slim but Martin O’Neill could do worse.

Richie Towell 9/10 - His 25 goals were integral to Dundalk’s league win, and earned him a well-deserved move to Brighton. Towell could be a dark horse for the Euros squad if he can make an impact with the Seagulls.

Paul Green 5/10 - An ostensible contender for the Ireland squad on the basis that he’s been included in the provisional squads, Green surely hasn’t done enough with Rotherham in the Championship to merit a place on the plane.

Anthony Pilkington 7/10 - Hasn’t got much of a look in for Ireland since O’Neill took over, though Pilkingon has had a solid enough 12 months for Cardiff in the Championship.


Jon Walters 9/10 - Had an excellent 12 months for Stoke, playing and scoring with relative regularity, even if he has struggled to get in the side in the last few matches, while he was a key player in Ireland’s successful qualification campaign.

MLS Timbers Galaxy Soccer Robbie Keane enjoyed another fine season with LA Galaxy. Source: Ringo H.W. Chiu

Robbie Keane 8/10 - Would receive a 10/10 on the basis of his club form alone, where he made the MLS Team of the Year. On the other hand, Keane has struggled at international level and is now no longer an automatic starter for Ireland.

Adam Rooney 8/10 - Has been in prolific form for Aberdeen in the SPL and should not be totally ruled out for a Euros squad place on the basis of his club displays.

Shane Long 7/10 - Scored the famous goal in Ireland’s victory over Germany, he has been in and out of the Southampton side but his international contribution wins him bonus points.

Simon Cox 5/10 - Has struggled for goals and game time with Bristol City in the Championship, and so it would be a major surprise if he was included in the final Euros squad.

Daryl Murphy 8/10 - Worked hard when often played in the thankless lone frontman role for Ireland, Murphy starred for Ipswich and was the Championship’s top scorer in 2014-15 with 27 goals.

Anthony Stokes 5/10 - Never really threatened to break into the Ireland team and has seldom played for Celtic this season.

Aiden O’Brien 7/10 - The 22-year-old has impressed with Millwall in League One, though the Euros will almost certainly come too soon for one of Ireland’s brightest attacking prospects.

Kevin Doyle 6/10 - Rendered surplus to requirements at Wolves, Doyle has managed five goals in 20 games since moving to the Colorado Rapids.

Joe Mason 7/10 - Ireland U21 international Mason has put in some encouraging performances for Cardiff, even if he seems unlikely to break into the Ireland fold at this stage.

David McGoldrick 6/10 - A largely disappointing and injury-ridden year, he has struggled to get in the Ipswich side since returning from a long-term absence and has been on the fringes of the Ireland team. McGoldrick likely needs a very strong end to the season to put himself in contention for a place on the plane to France.

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About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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