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'Our lack of quality in the attacking third is still letting us down'

The latest episode of The Football Family podcast assessed Ireland’s 1-1 draw against Serbia.

Celebrations for the Ireland players after the own goal that earned them a draw against Serbia.
Celebrations for the Ireland players after the own goal that earned them a draw against Serbia.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

AS ANOTHER INTERNATIONAL window closes for Stephen Kenny, where do things now stand for his Republic of Ireland team?

On the back of last night’s 1-1 draw against Serbia at the Aviva Stadium, our trusted trio of Paul Dollery, Gavin Cooney and David Sneyd assembled for the latest episode of The Football Family podcast.

While the lads agreed that the future for this Ireland team looks brighter now than it did ahead of the Portugal game last week, there’s still plenty for Kenny to ponder as attention turns to the trip to Azerbaijan on 9 October.

A draw at home to a team of Serbia’s quality can surely be classed as a result to be satisfied with, but Ireland’s travails in front of goal remain a concern.

The Boys in Green mustered up just two attempts on target, with the equaliser coming via an 87th-minute own goal from Nikola Milenkovic. 

“Kenny has a definite game plan and there are definitely ideas as to how construct attacks,” said Gavin. “But our lack of quality in the attacking third is still letting us down. There were a couple of exasperating moments last night.

“There was one great move near the end when it was still 0-1, [Andrew] Omobamidele played a great pass to the feet of Daryl Horgan on the edge of the box, who just had a really clumsy touch, mis-controlled and it was gone.

“That is obviously undermining things, but that – if you’re going to make the case of whether Kenny should stay or not – would undermine any Ireland manager. You can see Kenny is trying to work a game plan almost in spite of those failings within the team.” 

Kenny will now hope that the earning of a point against a side who arrived in Dublin on the back of a 4-1 hammering of Luxembourg can give his players something to build on.

“Don’t get me wrong,” said David, “there’s still a long way to go for this Ireland team to have a bit of authority about itself, but you just kind of get a sense that it’s going to give them huge confidence.

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“There will probably be another dip, of course, before this campaign is over but you just hope that eventually these little moments and these little glimpses that you get eventually become something a bit more substantial.” 

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