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Dublin: 10°C Tuesday 20 April 2021

Player ratings: How Ireland's footballers fared for their clubs this season

There were mixed fortunes for the Boys in Green at domestic level this year.

Updated at 10.55

N.B. FOR THE purposes of brevity, we’ve limited this list to players in and around the Ireland squad.


Stoke City v West Ham United - Barclays Premier League -  Britannia Stadium Source: Tim Goode

Darren Randolph (West Ham): The Bray native played a couple of league matches and impressed during the club’s FA Cup run, but will be frustrated that he couldn’t establish himself as a first-team regular. 6/10

Shay Given (Stoke): Was unfortunate with injuries, but even when fit,  the Donegal native seldom featured for his club. 4/10

Rob Elliot (Newcastle): Was superb in a poor Newcastle side, as he was named their player of the year having been third-choice goalkeeper at the start of the campaign. The 30-year-old would undoubtedly have made more than 23 appearances if it wasn’t for the season-ending injury he picked up playing for Ireland against Slovakia back in March. 9/10

David Forde (Millwall): Lost his first-team place in the Millwall side, with the 36-year-old consequently playing just 10 times in total this season. 4/10

Keiren Westwood (Sheffield Wednesday): For the second season running, Westwood was a revelation for promotion-chasing Sheffield Wednesday, with manager Carlos Carvalhal recently describing him as “the best goalkeeper in the Championship”9/10


Derby County v Reading - Sky Bet Championship - iPro Stadium Source: Nigel French

Cyrus Christie (Derby): Despite Derby ultimately missing out on promotion, Christie continued to enhance his reputation as he was named as the club’s young player of the year. 8/10

Seamus Coleman (Everton): Suffered by being part of a lacklustre Everton side and struggled with injuries at times, Coleman looked more subdued than usual on occasion. 6/10

Richard Keogh (Derby): Was superb at the back for Derby, and was named their player of the season after making 53 appearances in all competitions this season. 9/10

John O’Shea (Sunderland): Will not be happy after being dropped for Sunderland’s end-of-season run-in as the Black Cats narrowly survived. 5/10

Alex Pearce (Bristol City, on loan from Derby): Struggled to get first-team football even after going on loan to Bristol City, making just seven appearances in the Championship all season. 4/10

Marc Wilson (Stoke): It was a torrid campaign for the 28-year-old — owing to a combination of injuries and loss of form, he made just four Premier League appearances in total. 4/10

Shane Duffy (Blackburn): Impressed in an average Blackburn side to the extent that he was the subject of Premier League interest recently. 8/10

Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa): Can’t be overly satisfied with his season given that, even with Villa struggling badly, he found it difficult to get into the team at times. 5/10

Paul McShane (Reading): Was immediately installed as captain of Reading after joining from Hull and invariably impressed in his 41 appearances in all competitions. 8/10

Stephen Ward (Burnley): Turned his season around impressively — having struggled to make the Burnley side for the first half of the season, since the turn of the year, he has been a regular as Sean Dyche’s team clinched promotion to the Premier League. 8/10

Greg Cunningham (Preston): Preston’s player of the year, the 25-year-old left-back was a virtual ever-present for the Championship side. 9/10

Matt Doherty (Wolves): Another under-the radar Irish full-back who was named as his club’s player of the year, at 24, he may figure more prominently for Ireland in future. 9/10


AFC Bournemouth v Norwich City - Barclays Premier League - Vitality Stadium Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Robbie Brady (Norwich): He won’t be happy owing to another relegation, but Brady still impressed after joining the Canaries for £7 million in the summer. 8/10

James McCarthy (Everton): A disappointing campaign for the 25-year-old midfielder, like most of his Everton teammates, he lacked conviction in his play at times. 6/10

Jeff Hendrick (Derby): The 24-year-old had some pretty decent moments, but also didn’t always make Derby’s starting XI. 6/10

Darron Gibson (Everton): Made just 11 appearances for Everton this season, the player’s Ireland squad place is now under threat and he may be deemed surplus to requirements at Goodison in the summer. 4/10

Harry Arter (Bournemouth): Another whose campaign was troubled by injuries, Arter did catch the eye for the Cherries when fully fit. 7/10

Eunan O’Kane (Bournemouth): Will be disappointed to have spent much of the season on the periphery of the Bournemouth side. 5/10

Callum O’Dowda (Oxford): The 21-year-old winger was hugely impressive for Oxford in League Two this season, and was the subject of a failed bid from Championship side Derby back in January. 9/10

Glenn Whelan (Stoke): Solid but unspectacular as is often the case with Whelan, despite an array of high-profile signings, the 32-year-old Dubliner remains a regular in Mark Hughes’ side. 7/10

Paul Green (Rotherham): The 33-year-old spent the season on the periphery of a Rotherham side that narrowly avoided relegation — barring an injury crisis, we have surely seen the last of him in an Ireland jersey. 5/10

Stephen Gleeson (Birmingham): The Dublin-born player was a consistent presence in a Birmingham side that finished 10th in the Championship, with Gleeson ultimately doing enough to earn himself an Ireland squad call-up. 7/10

David Meyler (Hull): The 26-year-old played an important part in Hull’s promotion bid, featuring 36 times in all competitions. 7/10

Stephen Quinn (Reading): Injuries meant it was a slightly frustrating stop-start campaign for the 30-year-old after arriving from Hull in the summer. 6/10

Aiden McGeady (Sheffield Wednesday, on loan from Everton): Was effectively ostracised by Everton and by the end of the campaign, he was also struggling to make an impact at loan club Sheffield Wednesday. 4/10

James McClean (West Brom): A more than decent season for the winger, who made 48 appearances in all competitions after signing for West Brom in the summer. 7/10

Alan Judge (Brentford): Deservedly earned a Championship player of the year nomination after registering 14 goals and 11 assists with Brentford. 9/10

Jonny Hayes (Aberdeen): Can be more than satisfied with his season, gaining a player of the year nomination as Aberdeen narrowly missed out on the Scottish Premiership title. 9/10

Chris Forrester (Peterborough): Has made an impressively swift transition to English football, gaining a recent Ireland provisional squad call-up and being named as the League One club’s player of the year in the process. 9/10

Anthony Pilkington (Cardiff): Played consistently and did well both in midfield and when asked to play as a makeshift striker, scoring nine goals in the process. 8/10

Wes Hoolahan (Norwich): Norwich may have had a poor season, but Hoolahan was one bright spot. He produced eight assists and was shortlisted for the club’s player-of-the-year award as a result. 8/10


Watford v Stoke City - Barclays Premier League - Vicarage Road Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Jonathan Walters (Stoke): Has not always been a starter for Stoke, but has still managed 12 goals in all competitions this season. 7/10

Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy): His campaign is really just starting in the MLS, but last season, he managed an impressive 20 goals in 23 starts. 9/10

Shane Long (Southampton): Arguably the Irish player of the season, Long has stepped up a level and become an automatic starter at Southampton, claiming 10 Premier League goals and four assists in the process. 9/10

Daryl Murphy (Ipswich): Never quite hit the heights of last season, when he finished as the Championship’s top scorer with 27 goals ahead of the likes of Troy Deeney and Rudy Gestede. Still, the Waterford native had a decent tally of 10 goals, which should be enough to secure a spot in Ireland’s Euro 2016 squad. 7/10

Kevin Doyle (Colarado Rapids): He struggled for goals last season in the MLS, but both Doyle and his team have begun the new campaign promisingly. 6/10

Adam Rooney (Aberdeen): Whether he can do it at a higher level remains to be seen, but Rooney can’t stop scoring in the Scottish Premiership. After a prolific season last year, the 28-year-old has followed it up with a similarly impressive campaign, scoring 20 goals in 35 appearances in all competitions. 9/10

David McGoldrick (Ipswich): The Ipswich striker has scored just five goals in 27 appearances in all competitions, though injuries haven’t helped his cause. 6/10

Anthony Stokes (Hibernian, on loan from Celtic): Had a disastrous start to the season in which he was more or less ostracised from the Celtic team, but has recovered partially, scoring nine goals since going down a division and joining Hibernian in January, including two in yesterday’s Scottish Cup final. 7/10

Simon Cox (Reading/Bristol City): The 29-year-old has managed just the one goal in 29 appearances playing for both Reading and Bristol City, which is a poor return for someone predominantly thought of as a striker. 5/10

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About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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