It’s not easy being green…
Live from a very quiet Aviva Stadium.
Well… the first half wasn’t bad.. Well to be more precise, the first half of the first half. Ireland started well against Serbia. Some good football by the Irish lads was capped off by first, a wrongly disallowed goal by Wes Hoolahan, and a ‘real’ goal from Shane Long after 8 minutes. But as is the usual form of the Irish team, once we go ahead, we cant handle it. Give us a losing start of 2-0 and watch heroics unfold. Let us score first, and you’re guaranteed a win. This is the thing that makes Irish fans get green about the gills.
Maybe it was the rain which started to fall at half time, but the boys in green didn’t seem up for the second half. Right from the whistle, the urgency from the Serbians wasn’t matched by the boys in green.
Shane long showed why he’s nowhere near good enough to play for a top half of the table side, let alone a top 4… The Hull man made some good runs, and scored, but wasted 2 further chances that frankly, to use the phrase, my granny would have scored.
James McClean was his usual effervessant self, some good runs down the wing to create some movements, but untimately was like Dublin’s Luas system… fine running from a to b… but not yet meeting in the middle. His first touch is poor.
At the back, the team definitely missed the leadership brought by O’Shea and/or Dunne. I felt the two centre-halves Wilson & Keogh played ok, but felt that Seamus Coleman had a shocker. Caught in possession a couple of times and taking too much out of it.
Wes Hoolahan was the stand out player for me in the Ireland team. He seemed to be at the heart of everything the Irish team did right, and when he went off in the Second half, the Irish didn’t get a kick. Definitely warrants a role in the starting XI. A mention also for Glen Whealan… his football isn’t always pretty, but he gives 100% every-time.
As for the famous “Landsdowne Roar”, the best fans in the world were very quiet… Maybe shocked at taking the lead and playing some attractive football after the communist-like era of Trap.
Manager Martin O’Neill said he was mostly happy with what he saw.. Given results elsewhere, and judging from where I was sitting, the closest this Ireland team will get to Euro 2016 is working in Murphy’s Irish bar in Paris… Harsh but true.