Unlike John Egan and Enda Stevens, who both made it to Croker on Sunday, Darren Randolph watched proceedings on television and, as one goalkeeper observing another, was much taken with the performance of the Dublin netminder Stephen Cluxton.
“He is the best around and has been for a very long time,” enthused Ireland’s number one.
“I have not met him but I can relate to him as goalkeepers even though they are different sports. I wish that I would have met him and have a proper sit down, compare notes, and have a general chat.”
With Keiren Westwood missing again through injury, Bournemouth’s Mark Travers has, in Randolph’s opinion, deservedly graduated to first-choice cover between the posts for Ireland for Thurday’s clash with Switzerland.
“In his first game against Tottenham he got man of the match and while I know that it was the end of the season he showed he can play at that level,” said the Bray man.
“For a keeper in general it’s about consistency. His club manager showed faith in him by playing him so be has seen something in him as he works day in, day out with him.
“And from what I have seen, there does not seem to be anything that would faze him if he was to get the chance to play.
“Personally, I think that he is more than good enough.”
Cork native Caoimhin Kelleher, Liverpool’s Irish U21 ‘keeper, is another who has caught Randolph’s eye.
“Caoimhin has also been in a few times and has been on the bench for Liverpool where my old team-mate Adrian is in playing.
“He’s similar to Travers — he would not be on the bench now if his club manager did not think he was good enough. From what I have seen training with him and from reports back from the U21s, again Caoimhin has everything.
“But it’s easy to say that about young players, not just keepers.
“We have seen many young players with promise who have not quite got there. It’s a tricky one. Do you stay where you are or do you go out and get games and then try to make a path for yourself?
“They are both in brilliant positions. But I would advise them that the most important thing is to go and play games. There is only so long you can train for. You are not really going to improve much just by training, you have to go and get games.
“But they don’t need me to tell them that, I’m sure they realise that and that they have people around them telling them that already.”
Middlesbrough’s Randolph ended up flying back to Dublin at the weekend in the company of Robbie Keane, now on the coaching staff on Teeside as well as with Ireland.
“We’ve been playing some good football, we’ve just been unlucky,” said the ‘keeper of his club’s underwhelming start under high-profile new management. “There are positive signs and Robbie is still upbeat and so is Jonathan Woodgate.
“Hopefully our luck will change and we’ll start getting the results.”