Here’s how we rated the Irish players in their outing tonight.
DARREN RANDOLPH – 6
Randolph marked the 50th appearance of his Ireland career tonight with a clean sheet. That could have been a very different story. He very nearly gave the ball away to Bulgarian striker Kraev as he slipped up while trying to play out from the back. Thankfully, though, he had the composure to get the ball away to safety.
DARA O’SHEA – 7
Dara O’Shea started at right back tonight having previously played left back and centre back for Ireland in his short international career so far. He looked comfortable going forward and at the back aside from one occasion when he played a Bulgarian player on which nearly led to a chance.
SHANE DUFFY – 6
Stuck to his task well as he denied Bulgaria a goal. Done just enough to stop Bulgaria scoring from a corner as his pressure put off his opposite number. He did, however, make one pass which was intercepted and could have easily led to a Bulgaria goal.
KEVIN LONG – 6
Looked comfortable at the back without being too noticeable. Received an early yellow but that didn’t affect his performance. The Burnley man was dominant in his 50/50s.
RYAN MANNING – 5
Manning made his long-awaited international debut tonight at left back. The 24-year-old looked fairly comfortable defensively on the night. He would have liked to have had more influence going forward, though. Subbed off for Cyrus Christie in the 85th minute.
JASON KNIGHT – 6
It was a first international start for Jason Knight, having previously came on as a sub against Finland and Wales. The Derby midfielder was typically combative in midfield. He created Ireland’s best chance of the game as his driving run in midfield set up Ronan Curtis who shot over the bar. He did give the ball away on one occasion which could have been dangerous, but he got back quick enough to help out defensively.
CONOR HOURIHANE – 5
Put one good ball into the box towards the end of the match which just evaded the onrushing Jason Knight. Otherwise, didn’t have much influence on the game.
ROBBIE BRADY – 6
Normally very composed and reliable on the ball, Brady was sloppy in possession at times tonight. He looked to play progressive passes, but it didn’t come off for him like it has done in the past. He did come very close to opening the scoring, though. He struck from range after making space for himself only to be denied by the post. Replaced by Jack Byrne due to injury in the 77th minute.
DARYL HORGAN – 6
Daryl Horgan made his 3rd consecutive start for Ireland tonight. Made a few good runs down the right as he looked to beat Cicinho on a handful of occasions. Put one good cross onto the head of James Collins who struck over the bar. Subbed off for Josh Cullen in the 67th minute.
RONAN CURTIS – 6
Missed Ireland’s best chance of the match as he was played into space by Jason Knight. Otherwise, though, displayed high energy in the final third at times which nearly resulted in a goal as his cross was nearly deflected into the path of James Collins. Subbed off for Troy Parrott in the 85th minute.
JAMES COLLINS – 6
Earned a handful of fouls and got into good positions but the Luton striker wasn’t rewarded with a goal. He came closest when he connected with a Dara O’Shea cross, but his effort went just wide of the post. Subbed off for Sean Maguire in the 85th minute.
JOSH CULLEN – 6
Recycled and carried the ball well when he came on.
JACK BYRNE – N/A
Showed good intensity after coming on and showed for the ball but failed to create any chances. Played one good ball into the box after nice link up play with Jason Knight but Sean Maguire failed to hit the net.
TROY PARROTT – N/A
Showed some nice touches after coming on and was slipped in towards goal but unfortunately, he was offside.
SEAN MAGUIRE – N/A
The Preston man had one opportunity after coming on as a result of a Jack Byrne cross but didn’t hit the target.
CYRUS CHRISTIE – N/A
Christie made a couple of good runs after coming on down the right hand side, none of which led to any opportunities.