Ger McCarthy looks at the players who had a good night in the 1-1 draw against Holland, and those who missed their opportunity.
Duffy formed a composed central defensive partnership alongside his more experienced colleague, John O’Shea. Solid in the air throughout the evening, the Blackburn Rovers defender coped admirably with the attacking threat of Memphis Depay, Quincy Promes and Vincent Janssen. Despite losing Luuk de Jong for the Netherlands’ equaliser, Duffy was a constant threat from set pieces and may have forced his way into O’Neill’s starting line-up for the European Championships.
Arter crunched into Kevin Strootman early on and was yellow carded before the interval, underlining the Bournemouth play-maker’s eagerness to impress his international manager. Bright and inventive whenever offered an opportunity to drift into the final third, Arter slotted into a more disciplined midfield role next to Glenn Whelan and enhanced his chances of travelling to France with an eye-catching display.
The Southampton striker was on the receiving end of some rough treatment and suffered a gash to his knee before being pole axed by a clumsy Jeffrey Bruma tackle. Thankfully, Long recovered from those early knocks to break the deadlock and ensure his name will be the first on Martin O’Neill’s team-sheet later this summer. Watching Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino appeared suitably impressed.
David McGoldrick in the Wes Hoolahan role
Quinn and Arter taking up Hendrick's and McCarthy's narrow positions pic.twitter.com/9YfSrAkTjK— Conán Doherty (@ConanDoherty) May 27, 2016
Playing in a more withdrawn attacking role than the Ipswich Town striker is normally used to; David McGoldrick grasped his opportunity and will have impressed his manager with a quality performance. McGoldrick kept it simple around the middle of the pitch but showed flashed of inventiveness with some probing long-range passes before being replaced by Wes Hoolahan, the player he is likely to deputise for in the near future.
Already assured of his place in Martin O’Neill’s starting eleven, Robbie Brady’s set-piece delivery and assist for Ireland’s goal underlined the Norwich City star’s importance to his country’s chances of making an impact in France.
Too high a cross from Stephen Quinn. I liked the idea, but let's see more pressure in attack. #COYBIG— Eoin Harmon (@Eoin_Harmon) May 27, 2016
The Reading midfielder started wide on the left and was his usual busy self, constantly looking for the ball and attempting to release Jon Walters and Shane Long whenever in possession. Yet, Quinn’s final delivery was poor and although his workrate couldn’t be questioned, the 30-year-old didn’t do enough to suggest he will make Martin O’Neill’s final cut.
The 34-year-old Dundalk shot stopper was a surprise name listed amongst the Irish substitutes prior to kick-off. Drafted in due to Keiren Westwood and David Forde’s weekend play-off commitments, it’s a pity the League of Ireland stalwart wasn’t afforded an opportunity to win his first cap. Hopefully, Martin O’Neill will give Rogers his chance against Belarus.
"Robbie I know you're delivery has been spot on all night, but I'll take over from here" - Darron Gibson #IRLNED— Jack O'Toole (@jackjotoole) May 27, 2016
Unlike fellow substitute, James McClean, Darron Gibson failed to make any impression on the Dutch defence when introduced with 20 minutes to go. One aimless free-kick floated into the Netherlands’ penalty area underlined Gibson’s obvious rustiness and any faint hope of the Everton midfielder making it on to the plane for France has long since evaporated.