Ireland player ratings: Michael Obafemi outstanding again

Malachy Clerkin runs the rule over Ireland after their dramatic 3-2 win over Armenia

Republic of Ireland players celebrate after Robbie Brady scored from the penalty spot. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

1 Gavin Bazunu (Southampton)

Two more goals conceded from outside the box. Did well to save the first effort onto the post but nowhere for the rebound. The fault for the second lies more with Hourihane but even so, this has become an unwanted habit.

Rating: 5

3 Matt Doherty (Spurs)


Willing and incisive down the right, his scheming bought the corner for Egan’s goal. Tried a little Zidane pirouette on the edge of the Armenian box just before the break that tickled the crowd. Shocking goatee, all the same.

Rating: 7

5 John Egan (Sheffield United)

An early goal was vital and Egan delivered it. Already unlucky not to get a better connection on the first corner, he buried Brady’s cross from the second one. Could maybe have got out quicker to close down the second goal.

Rating: 6

Robbie Brady’s late penalty saves Ireland’s blushes against ArmeniaOpens in new window ]

Ken Early: Ireland gaze into the abyss against Armenia but write a happy ending, of sortsOpens in new window ]

12 Nathan Collins (Wolves)

Mad to think that this was just his eighth cap and that he’s still only 21. Led the charge countless times and should have scored at least one in the second half. Could have reacted better for the first goal.

Rating: 6

18 Dara O’Shea (West Brom)

On a night when he didn’t have much defending to do, showed again why his passing out of defence is such a serious weapon. Picked Obafemi out beautifully for the second goal and looks settled in the back three now.

Rating: 7

21 Robbie Brady (Preston North End)

Call it a comeback. Slotted the match-winner with a calmness he must barely have felt after so long away. But even before that, his deliveries brought such a dangerous extra dimension – found Egan brilliantly for the first goal.

Rating: 7

6 Jayson Molumby (West Brom)

Put himself about with vigour and broke up play time and again around the middle. A bit too much vigour, ultimately – he was blessed not to be sent off on a second yellow and was replaced by Hourihane almost immediately.

Rating: 5

13 Jeff Hendrick (Reading)

Needed to be the adult in the room when Ireland were 2-0 up but was nowhere to be seen for what was ultimately three Armenian shots from his neighbourhood on the edge of the Ireland box. Didn’t bring a whole pile in attack either.

Rating: 5

17 Jason Knight (Derby County)

Lovely dropped shoulder to set Obafemi up for a chance he should have scored in the first half. Filled in to break up play around the middle without threatening much thereafter. Tired as the game wore on and replaced in the second half.

Rating: 6

10 Troy Parrott (Preston North End)

There will have to come a point where he brings more than energy and dutiful running. Tough game for him with Armenia camped on the edge of the box but never got a sight of goal and looks a player out of sorts.

Rating: 6

9 Michael Obafemi (Swansea City)

A striker who drills them into the bottom corner from 20 yards is something we could all get used to. Lovely spin to set himself up and fizzing strike for Ireland’s second goal. Missed an early sitter but that made up for it.

Rating: 8

Stephen Kenny as confused as everybody else by Ireland performanceOpens in new window ]


Conor Hourihane had a shocker at both ends of the pitch, presenting Armenia’s second to them on a plate and missing a great chance to make amends soon after. Callum Robinson was bright in what was suddenly an emergency situation. Scott Hogan should have scored in injury-time.

Rating: 4

Stephen Kenny (Manager)

Must take some responsibility for the complacency at 2-0. For all the progress, it’s not a good sign that his team keeps giving away the same sort of goal. That said, for most of the way, it was a professional night’s work.

Rating: 6

Malachy Clerkin

Malachy Clerkin

Malachy Clerkin is a sports writer with The Irish Times