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Ireland 0 France 1: How the Irish players rated in spirited performance at the Aviva

Stephen Kenny’s team put in a good performance and Chiedozie Ogbene was excellent

1 Gavin Bazunu (Southampton) Looked assured and confident between the posts, Bazunu’s regular gametime with Southampton certainly has helped add a layer of composure to his play. There was one stray clearance that went out over the sideline in the first half, but generally his distribution was decent. Had little chance with Pavard’s goal and made strong saves from Diaby and Rabiot during the second half. Rating: 8

12 Nathan Collins (Wolverhampton Wanderers) Must still be wondering how Maignan got a hand on his goal-bound header in the dying seconds. Collins couldn’t have done much more with his well-placed connection from Cullen’s corner, but somehow it was matched by an incredible save from the French goalkeeper. Showed great reading of the danger by stepping in shortly after the half-hour mark to break down a French attack and was generally commanding at the back where he worked well with Egan and O’Shea. Rating: 8

5 John Egan (Sheffield United) Got caught with a ball over the top early on, but luckily the danger was cleared. He marshalled the defence well throughout and made a good block on what could have been a dangerous shot from the edge of the box moments later. Organised the defence well for the most part. Rating: 7

4 Dara O’Shea (West Bromwich Albion) Was overly ambitious with some of his passing but was generally steady in his day-job of defending. He was unlucky with a goal chance late in the first half, the ball pinged across the French box and made its way to where he was positioned at the back post, but O’Shea just didn’t have enough time to get a shot off before he was blocked down. Rating: 7


2 Séamus Coleman (Everton) Rolled back the years here. For a man giving up more than a yard of pace on Mbappé, Coleman appeared to be his shadow whenever the French captain was in possession during the first half – though he did beat him in one foot race during the second half. Still, Coleman kept Ireland’s energy high, taking quick throws and he played a lovely defence-splitting pass inside for Knight midway through the second half. Rating: 8

14 Jayson Molumby (West Bromwich Albion) Worked tirelessly for the team, epitomised by his lung-bursting run to close down a French counterattack in the 20th minute, the midfielder reacted to his defensive tackle by clenching both fists in defiance. The crowd loved it. Played the game like bowling balls on caffeine, plundering around trying to knock down everything in his path. Rating: 8

6 Josh Cullen (Burnley) Recklessly played the ball across the edge of the Ireland box early in the second half, providing Pavard with what would turn out to be an assist for France’s opener. It was a brain-fart moment from a player usually so dependable in such situations. Otherwise, Cullen had been industrious and organised the troops in the middle of the park, but was lucky not to pick up an early yellow card for a rash lunge on Kolo Muani. Rating: 6

17 Jason Knight (Derby County) Knight had two goal chances in the second half, he won a corner with the first but with the second he really should have done better with, after Ogbene squared a neat pass to the Derby County player just outside the France box. But by the time Knight sorted out his feet to get a shot off, France had snuffed out the danger. Rating: 6

7 Matt Doherty (Atletico Madrid) Had a hell of a battle with Kolo Muani throughout. The French player got the better of Doherty early on to get down the flank and pull a ball across the Irish box. But Doherty responded well by putting Muani on the back foot, drew a foul moments later and then in the 26th minute the Atletico Madrid man set off on a scintillating run down the wing, getting the better of three French players and winning a corner. Had less impact in the second half. Rating: 7

19 Evan Ferguson (Brighton & Hove Albion) France were alive to Ferguson’s threat throughout, reacting like moths to a light being flicked on because whenever the ball came in his vicinity the French swarmed around him immediately, bundling him over on a number of occasions, hell-bent to not permit him space or time to cause problems. With such attention, he found it hard to make any major impact and was hauled ashore in the 65th minute. Rating: 6

20 Chiedozie Ogbene (Rotherham United) Ireland’s best attacking option on the night. He set the tempo for Ireland early on, tracking back to dispossess Mbappé in the second minute, ultimately drawing a foul from the French captain. Played a neat one-two with Ferguson shortly after. Hernandez spent most of the evening fouling the Rotherham man. Ogbene chased down what seemed a lost cause just before the break and won a corner off Rabiot and set up Knight for a chance in the second half. Rating: 8


10 Adam Idah (Norwich City) Was caught offside from a Coleman pass shortly after replacing Ferguson in the 65th minute and fluffed an opportunity inside the box with 10 minutes remaining. Rating: 5

11 James McClean (Wigan Athletic) Failed to beat the first man with his delivery from a corner in the final 10 minutes but played a good one-two with Idah soon after and ultimately forced a corner with his shot that was tipped out for a corner by Maignan. Was busy during his cameo. Rating: 6

22 Mikey Johnston (Vitoria) Wasn’t able to reproduce the sprinkles of magic and purposeful dribbles that he displayed against Latvia last week. Rating: 5

8 Alan Browne (Preston North End) Got himself in positions for a couple of chances during the closing minutes but failed to hit the target, though they weren’t exactly simple opportunities. Rating: 5

9 Michael Obafemi (Swansea City) Didn’t have enough time to make an impact after replacing Molumby in the 86th minute. Rating: 5


Stephen Kenny – His team showed ambition and tried to set the tempo early on with a high energy approach. They were camped in their own half for a period during that first half but they did look to create chances and play positive football. Ireland limited France’s goalscoring chances and looked comfortable at stages. Kenny did bring Idah on in the 65th minute, but it wasn’t until the 77th when he really sent in reinforcements with a triple substitution. Rating: 7

Gordon Manning

Gordon Manning

Gordon Manning is a sports journalist, specialising in Gaelic games, with The Irish Times