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We have the Republic of Ireland vs Finland Player Ratings. It was a tough night for the boys in green as they were defeated one-nil at home to Finland.
All the characteristics of an Ireland performance were there, determination, grit and a never say die attitude but the problems of where the goals would come from still remained.
The match saw Kenny make some changes in midfield in the hopes of adding some energy and creativity with Robbie Brady, Jayson Molumby, and Harry Arter replacing the previous trio of McCarthy, Hourihane, and Hendrick. The first half was tightly contested with some tough tackling, good pressing, and lots of possession from Ireland but some defensive errors from the Bulgaria game crept yet again as Finland were splitting Ireland open with through balls.
The deadlock was broken in the second half after a midfield mix up saw Taylor drill the ball across the box for a tap in for Finland’s Fredrik Jenson a substitute who had been on only for a matter of seconds. More experienced players of McGoldrick and Mclean were subbed on late into the game to get a goal but it was not enough as Finland held on to win one-nil. The loss leaves Ireland tied third in group four with Bulgaria on one point. Stephen Kenny will have to wait for his first win as Ireland manager when they travel to Slovakia on November eleventh for his biggest test.
Here’s how the boys in green fared against the Fins
Darren Randolf – 6
The West ham keeper has seen his time under David Moyes Limited behind current number one Fabianski but he remains Irelands undisputed number one for his consistency in an Irish jersey and tonight was no different.
Randolf made multiple huge saves throughout to keep Ireland in the game, the first coming in the opening minutes as Ireland was split down the middle leaving striker Teamu Pukki one v one against Randolf, getting down low to make an excellent save with his feet. The next coming in the later stages of the game as Ireland were chasing the last gasp goal.
A cut back from Finlands Alho saw his beautiful shot bending into the top corner saved by Randolf. Overall a good display and solid performance and little he could have done in the way of the goal.
Matt Doherty – 6
Much was expected from Matt Doherty after he underperformed in the Bulgaria game with captain Seamas Coleman breathing down his neck to potentially retake his place at right-back. Doherty’s first half was quiet as he went relatively unnoticed, his passing was very safe with little in the ways of going forward. He kept things tidy at the back with some good interceptions and clearances.
The second half saw him burst into life with some really good timed interceptions leading to some really good counter-attacks for Ireland. He seemed to gel really well with Callum Robinson after O Dowda went off injured and the two linked extremely well together leading to some of the best chances in the half. Good performance overall.
John Egan – 6
John Egan would have liked to build on the performance from Thursday night with the hopes of keeping a clean sheet alongside partner Duffy after their mix up nearly cost Ireland a defeat. Despite the goal conceded, Egan kept it very tidy with some sharp passing and excellent clearances.
Egan had a strong first half snuffing out multiple passes and did extremely well to stop a potential goal threatening through ball in which center-back partner Duffy fell asleep and was caught out of position. The second half saw Egan yet again with some excellent defending making a brilliant slide tackle on striker Teamu Pukki after a through ball left it two v one at the back. However, in the build-up to the goal Finlands Taylor glided past him with ease to set up playing partner Jensen for a simple tap in. Good performance overall despite the goal.
Shane Duffy – 5
Duffy too would have been keen to build on his performance after some instances of falling asleep on Thursday night at the back mostly due to match sharpness issues and lack of game time in pre-season. However the performance tonight was a mixed bag from such a strong performer.
Early in the game, he was caught napping on a few occasions as the ball passed him with ease with multiple through balls. He was saved from some good John Egan defending and a solid save from Randolf. As the half went on he grew more into the game with some good tough tackling and excellent headers out of the box. The second half saw a much stronger performance with some good passing in tight areas and some good composure on the ball as he looked to carry the ball more into the opponent’s half. Overall a good performance but not his best by any means.
Enda Stevens – 4
The first half saw stevens struggling to grow into the game both defensively and in the attacking third. Early on it appeared as though he struggled to communicate with Connolly down his left-hand side as he was left isolated when defending leaving Finland to have a lot of joy on the wing having plenty of shots and crosses. As he went forward a lot of the attacking moves seemed to end with stevens due to a poor pass at the wrong time which either found a Finland player or went harmlessly out of play.
The second half saw stevens become more solid defensively with some good tackles and clearances however his confidence was knocked as his passing seemed to remain an issue with a lot of crosses being fluffed or going back to the defense being recycled rather than going forward. For the goal stevens was marking goalscorer Jensen as he failed to get in front of the striker to stop the cross. Overall a poor performance from one of the Irelands in form premier league players.
Jayson Molumby – 6
It was a strong performance from the young twenty-one-year-old from Milwall as he celebrated getting his first international cap. Molumby was one of the players to replace Thursday nights in midfield three. He had a strong first half showing great energy and physicality with some tough tackling and excellent marking barely letting Pukki out of his sight. Both the first and second half saw him break up multiple attacking Finland moves and set Ireland on the counter-attack. He was part of some good link-up play in the midfield with Brady and Arter getting Ireland on the front foot and up the pitch quickly.
However, his inexperience at the international level seemed to show as he tended to dive in dangerously for nearly every ball he lost resulting in a needless yellow card. Overall very strong performance from a player whom I’m sure well see plenty of in the future.
Harry Arter – 7
Harry Arter came into the midfield having been absent from the International set up since his spat with Roy Keane almost two years ago. He replaced James Mcarthy in the holding midfield role and did a magnificent job.
Arter battled for every single ball, his intensity in the press was a delight to see as on multiple occasions he was seen bursting beyond the front three pressing urging the players to get up the pitch. His sharpness of pass was excellent he was always looking to pass the ball forward at every opportunity and was one of the only players I saw that was shouting looking for the ball constantly.
Even as the game wore on and his midfield partners seemed dead on their feet Arter looked to take the game by the scruff of the neck and make something happen. The only dampener on his performance was the mix up between himself and Robbie Brady which led to the Finland goal however his overall the best performance of the night.
Robbie Brady – 6
Robbie Brady welcomed his first international start after quite a rough few years of on and off injuries with the hopes impressing new manager Stephen Kenny after Kenny praised his to the press during the week.
Brady did not disappoint as from the first whistle he seemed eager to impress with some excellent early balls down the wing to Adam Idah and some early whipped in crosses. The first half saw him along with his midfield partners press very well snuffing out most of Finland’s opportunities and countering excellently. Brady’s range of passing was immaculate as he hit multiple long-range diagonal balls to the opposite wings with ease and troubled the opposition defense with some wicked curling crosses.
However, lack of fitness was obvious as he seemed to disappear in the attacking third for most of the second half. His mix up with Harry Arter started the move that resulted in a Finland goal but overall a good performance.
Adam Idah – 5
It was a frustrating night for Adam Idah as one of the young recruits attempting to prove that his age and inexperience was no obstacle after Thursday’s match saw him fazed out of most of the game.
Unfortunately, this game was no different. He struggled early on to get on the ball as he was frequently muscled off when he did. He resorted multiple times to make runs down the channels or down the right or left-wing but was left isolated and was picked off easily.
He found some joy in the second half interchanging positions with Aaron Connolly on the left-wing when Ireland came out energized which led to some good build-up play but found himself dropping deeper and deeper to receive the ball once players began to tire. Overall a frustrating night for Idah which saw him subbed off after sixty-three minutes.
Aaron Connolly – 6
One of the bright sparks from the Bulgaria game Thursday night Connolly looked eager to get on the score sheet after multiple chances fell his way. The first half saw Connolly taken out of the game by the Finland full-back that marked him excellently, resorting him to pass backward most of the half and by winning fouls where he could from some holdup play.
However, he burst into life in the second half with some great dribbles down the left cutting inside having a few shots, or laying off a pass. He had two excellent chances midway through the half with Brady laying off a pass but Connolly hit the side netting.
The second saw a wonderfully delivered cross from Robinson fall his way which looked like a potential tap in but unfortunately resulted in a miskick fizzing wide of the post. Overall a difficult night for Connolly which should have yielded better reward and saw him subbed off after seventy-six minutes for James Mclean.
Callum O’Dowda – 5
It was a very quiet night for the talented Bristol City winger who had a disappointing night. The first half saw O Dowda starting strong showing quick feet and great pace down the right-hand side with some excellent dribbles winning some corners and throw-ins however his final ball was letting him down. The remainder of the half saw him as the Bulgaria game disappear for a large portion of the half.
The second half saw him become a new player with O’Dowda setting the tone for Ireland looking to get on the front foot with some excellent interceptions and tackles winning the ball high up the pitch creating chances. Unfortunately, a groin problem early in the second half resulted in the night ending early for O’Dowda as he made way for Callum Robinson. Overall performance of what could have been as O’Dowda looked very threatening in the second half.
Callum Robinson- 6
David McGoldrick – 5
James Mclean – 5