SHAY GIVEN 7
Made one excellent acrobatic save with the score at 1-0, which is more than can usually be expected in such games. It would be easy to switch focus. Given did the hard part.
CYRUS CHRISTE 8
Eased Ireland’s nerves with that fine opening goal and, routine as this match was, that could be key for his own confidence in the future.
JOHN O’SHEA 7
It’s difficult to analyse any defender in a game like this but O’Shea at least ensured it was just as difficult for Gibraltar to get close.
CIARAN CLARK 7
With little to do at his own end, almost did a lot at the other, by brilliantly hitting the bar from a set-piece when at 0-0.
ROBBIE BRADY 8
Not just the source of some supreme set-pieces, but also on the ball a huge amount. In the process, the transformed left-back became Ireland’s most creative player in all areas. Forgiving as this opposition were, this will only aid Brady’s encouraging growth in a new role.
JON WALTERS 8
His typically industrious self, even if he could have been a touch more incisive. The contrast was illustrated in moves feeding Robbie Keane early in both halves. At the start of the first, he opted for a slide-rule pass when a chip would have done. At the start of the second, he powered down the left for the ball to eventually end up at Keane’s feet and that suited him much more. Ultimately, he overpowered Gibraltar.
GLENN WHELAN 6
Since his best qualities are breaking up opposition play and offering defensive leadership and organisation, it is perhaps no surprise that Whelan didn’t exactly do much here. Might have been a match for a more creative central option.
JAMES McCARTHY 7
As ever, kept things ticking over. But, just as he so often plays the same pass, it means we again have the same complaint — it’s hard not to feel he should be taking more command in matches like this.
JEFF HENDRICK 7
Offered a superb ball for Long, and in doing say eventually provided the width that had been missing.
WES HOOLAHAN 8
As has been the case since he first properly broke into the team, the most creative player on the pitch. His ball for Keane on 19 minutes was the moment of the match and it was no surprise his trickery brought a penalty.
ROBBIE KEANE 8
Still leading the line, still scoring. A classic striker’s double of a tap-in and penalty leaves him one behind Gerd Muller on the international scorers’ list.
AIDEN McGEADY 6
Still not looking at his most confident.
SHANE LONG 6
Offered an aerial option that had been missing, as emphasised with that thundering header.
STEPHEN QUINN 6
Replaced McCarthy in style as well as position.
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