Last night Irish coach Martin O’Neill decided to play with his starting eleven giving plenty of opportunities to fringe players and a number of debuts were made. Here are my player ratings for the Republic of Ireland team that beat Switzerland 1-0:
Darren Randolph – Made four saves last night the most testing coming from a deflected Xhaka shot. The others were fairly routine for a keeper of his level. Overall another good performance from Randolph. 7
Seamus Coleman (C) – Captaining the side last night Coleman put in a usual committed performance. The right hand side of the defence was rarely troubled and he showed his importance to the side once again. 8
Shane Duffy- Making just his second cap last night Duffy was barking orders at his much more experienced defensive partners. Did well to get back from an Irish corner to prevent a Swiss counter-attack and looked solid alongside Clark. His height of 6’4 was key to our goal his knock on towards goal allowed Clark to flick it home. 8
Ciaran Clark – Clark grasped the opportunity to show his worth to O’Neill last night. A constant nuisance in aerial battles for the Swiss and the goalscorer Clark had a good night. Had Duffy’s back when Embolo turned his center-back partner but Clark produced a inch-perfect tackle to deny the Swiss forward. 8
Robbie Brady – Deployed as a left back once again he was the weakest point of the Irish defence. The Swiss saw most of their opportunities come from their right hand side. The left hand side paring of Brady and McGeady is excellent offensively but defensively it is a nightmare. His set-piece delivery was good once again. 7
Alan Judge – Made his first cap for Ireland last night but was played out of position. His tally of 14 goals and 10 assists for Brentford says enough if he was given the chance centrally. He had an ok game. Notably had a mix up in communication with Shane Long which saw Judge head wide from a corner. Deserves to be given more time. 6
David Meyler – Didn’t see much of the Hull man yesterday. Never really got on the ball in midfield as much of the Irish attacks were worked up the wings or via long-balls. Not the worst but far from a superb performance. 5
Stephen Quinn – A man who’s place in the 23 man squad is up for grabs. He was loose in possession last night and his passing wasn’t up to scratch. He needed a good performance last night and started to get frustrated before being replaced with an hour played. 4
Aiden McGeady – Given a start for the first time in quite some time McGeady showed his pace and skill early on and combined well with Brady to win an early corner that would result in the goal. However Brady needs support on the left and McGeady isn’t the player to provided that help. Overall a fairly average performance from McGeady. 6
Shane Long – Looked a constant threat in front of goal. His pace and work ethic ensures defenders never have a moments rest. Was very unlucky not to score when he rose well to meet a cross in the first half only to have his header come back off the underside of the bar. Worked hard last night and made very few mistakes. 8
Kevin Doyle – Made his return to international football last night and put in a good performance until he was struck with a horrific looking injury early in the first half. He pressured the Swiss defence and won possession once or twice. Could be a good partner for Long as the two are familiar from their Reading days. The challenge Doyle faces is making a recovery from that injury in time for the May friendly against the Netherlands. Hard to give a rating but from what I saw a solid 6.
Daryl Murphy- Was introduced in place of the injured Doyle but had little to no impact on the game. Murphy is perfect for long-ball tactics as his sheer size and strength allows him to hold up the ball but intricate and quick passing sees him become useless. He was a constant nuisance for the Swiss center-backs as he likes to throw his weight about.Did well to get away from his maker on the right-wing last night but instead of crossing to the waiting Long he took on a shot that went miles wide. Was subbed off late on in the game. 6
Eunan O’Kane- Handed his debut last night O’Kane was eager to show what he’s got. Had the best chance of the second half to make it 2-0 but his shot was just wide of the post. An energetic performance and certainly one to keep an eye on. 6
Johnny Hayes – Yet another debutante Hayes was full of pace and energy last night. Was pretty impressive and certainly deserves another opportunity on Tuesday. Hayes wasn’t afraid to take a hard knock or two and looks determined. 6
James McCarthy – Brought on to try and patch up the midfield that was failing due to the Meyler-Quinn partnership. Showed his experience and controlled the game when he came on. 7
Wes Hoolahan- Came on late into the game for Murphy. Couldn’t do much with the limited time he was given and possibly should have replaced Doyle in the first half. 6
James McClean- Replaced Shane Long in the dying minutes of the game. His pace caused the Swiss defence problems but never made a clear cut chance. Would definitely have contributed more if given more time last night. Looked dangerous so he gets a solid 6.
The manger- A good win for Martin O’Neill. He used the friendly well to give debuts to fringe players and now faces a challenge in his selection especially in center-back. A win over Switzerland who are ranked 12th in the world looks good. 8
Man of the Match – Shane Duffy – Last night was a night for defenders to shine. Switzerland had most of the opportunities but the Irish defence dealt with them well. An extremely impressive performance from Duffy sees him just pip Ciaran Clark to the award but it could easily be shared between the two.