Ireland vs Denmark at the Aviva Stadium

Safe hands of Darren Randolph Photo: Brian F. Smyth Photography

Ireland 0 Denmark 0 (Full-time)

Martin O’Neill is not himself these days. He’s missing his charisma and wit in any interview recently and the post-match press conference after tonight’s game was no different. He spoke slowly with precision and never once did a smile cross the man’s face. This is not the manager we know. Is Martin under pressure? Roy Keane has already said he hopes to get into management soon, so are these the last days of the dream team?

A goal-less draw with one Ireland strike on target.  The Danes didn’t really threaten either as Martin kept four at the back for most of the game despite starting in a 3-5-2 formation.  Martin said it himself that the Danes dictated the game by keeping possession and said his team gained confidence as the game progressed  and was not concerned with just the one goal bound shot.

James McClean was moved to a left wing back position Photo: Brian F. Smyth photography

This UEFA Nations league is a new way of ranking teams before bigger tournaments. It also gives clubs the opportunity to make drastic changes if needs be.  Ireland’s performance against Poland recently has perhaps alleviated Ireland’s financiers concerns about Martin and his coaching team for the time being at least.

Notable performances were that of Harry Arter and new blood Callum Robinson. Harry seemed to enjoy his role in breaking up the play and it could have been his reckless tackle at the beginning that warned off the Danes. Long was alone up front for most of the game and for once he had a referee that noticed defenders pushing him around and Hendrick put in some good crosses from these free-kicks with Shane Duffy coming close on two occasions. Duffy tested the ref in the last minute of the game when he went flying in the air from a fair shoulder and what looked like the ref had given a penalty turned into a yellow card for Duffy’s theatrics.

Martin says his team are ready for Tuesday’s game against Wales. However he was surprised Shane Long lasted as long as he did in the game so perhaps Aiden O Brien who came on in the last few minutes might get a start.

By Paul Carton 

Online Editor