Eileen Gleeson not resting on her laurels after five-game winning streak

Manager makes constructive criticism of performance after victory over Hungary

The Republic of Ireland interim manager Eileen Gleeson is not being asked about taking the job in a full-time capacity any more.

That situation will be clarified later this month by the FAI director of football Marc Canham.

Instead, performance and results dominate the narrative as Ireland’s dominant Nations League campaign finishes against Northern Ireland in Belfast on Tuesday.

No Ireland manager has six competitive victories in a row. Not even Jack Charlton, whose men’s team won eight on the trot in 1987 and 1988, on a 12 match unbeaten streak that included six friendlies.


Under Gleeson, Ireland have five wins in Group One, scoring 14 goals and conceding one, in a run that is very hard to criticise. But she did all the same, constructively.

“We have to be positive about that,” said Gleeson, following the 1-0 defeat of Hungary in Tallaght. “Are there aspects of performance we’d like to change, absolutely. Is it a learning process, absolutely. Have we people in different positions, yes. Does it bring different moments in the game that we need to be better, yes.

“Did we come away with three points? Done.”

Gleeson, however, was displeased with a malfunctioning new system, that initially had Katie McCabe and Denise O’Sullivan side by side in an attacking shape behind Kyra Carusa. It did not come off as planned.

“Katie was central in the two with the objective of being higher and her in a central role. But because we were so deep we didn’t get the see the benefits of that.

“We had Izzy out wide left, another young player, but when we pulled Katie wide and we brought on another centre forward, Lucy Quinn, I thought we got better.

“We conceded the space we needed to occupy. We put those players [Sinead Farrelly and Quinn] on to stay higher up the pitch, not deeper.

“Sometimes these things happen in a game. It’s a learning process.

“Sinead Farrelly takes care of the ball very well, she gave us good link play in the middle, she created more chances for us, got us in behind more.

“She’s okay,” Gleeson added. “Sinead took a right bang to the head.”

Heather Payne capped off her player of the match display with the sharpest line of the night.

“The best teams out there will always manage to find results on their worst days,” said the Everton winger. “I think it shows we’re growing as a team.”

Gavin Cummiskey

Gavin Cummiskey

Gavin Cummiskey is The Irish Times' Soccer Correspondent