Second-half syndrome strikes Ireland again 

The narrow defeat to Les Bleus went to a familiar pattern.
Second-half syndrome strikes Ireland again 

Ireland manager Stephen Kenny during the UEFA EURO 2024 Championship Qualifier against France. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Against France on Monday night, Ireland's tenth defeat in 22 competitive matches under Stephen Kenny followed a familiar pattern.

After breaking even up to half-time, Ireland lost to a second-half strike and came away pointless by the narrowest possible margin.

There are two trends here, almost three years into Kenny's tenure.

First, all 10 competitive defeats suffered by Ireland since September 2020 have been by a single goal (0-1 seven times, 1-2 twice, and 2-3 once).

Second, Ireland have conceded nearly six times as many goals in the second half of Kenny's 22 competitive matches as in the first, turning a first-period positive goal difference (+6) into a post-interval negative (-6).

And in the course of ten competitive defeats Ireland have scored only one second-half goal (by substitute James Collins in the 2-3 loss away to Serbia two years ago).

The worrying fall-off in Ireland's level of performance during matches is captured in one stark statistic: after "winning" the first half of their Uefa Nations League B1 fixtures against Armenia, Ukraine and Scotland last year by an overall score of 5-0, Ireland proceeded to "lose" the second period by a combined score of 3-7.

Despite several encouraging signs against France, such persistent loss of momentum threatens to derail Ireland's renewal project.

Managers are expected to fix problems, and unless Kenny solves Ireland's second-half syndrome the prospect of a bright new era will fade into unfulfilled promise.


P W D L F A 

22 4 8 10 20 20

More in this section

Sport Push Notifications

By clicking on 'Sign Up' you will be the first to know about our latest and best sporting content on this browser.

Sign Up

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up
Cookie Policy Privacy Policy FAQ Help Contact Us Terms and Conditions

© Irish Examiner Ltd