Ireland top group six as Mick McCarthy’s first home game in his second era ended in a familiar victory.
The style of play reminded you of the times in the lead up to 2002 and now, hope might be rekindled that Ireland can qualify for their fourth European Championship next summer.
Here’s Five things we learnt.
- David McGoldrick can play
David McGoldrick made his Ireland debut in 2014 and was absent from Martin O’Neill’s side for the majority of his period as boss.
Robbie Keane and Shane Long were O’Neill first choice strikers, but McGoldrick was excellent in a roaming role produced by McCarthy.
Deployed as a lone striker, McGoldrick dropped back and roamed around the field, causing problems with the ball.
He lacked the goal, but McGoldrick must start in the Irish team for the next qualifying games.
- Mick McCarthy Era
Nearly 17-years after a depressing night in the Old Lansdowne Road, Mick McCarthy was back in the Irish dug out again under stressful circumstances.
While the crowd protested with tennis balls and chants against John Delaney, the roar behind the boys in green was audible as Conor Hourihane stepped up to score the winner.
The McCarthy era was marred wrongly by his clash with a certain Cork captain, what was forgotten was how good Ireland’s football actually was under big Mick.
The only positive from the dour 1-0 win over Gibraltar was the attempts to play the ball out of the back.
Ireland started with ball to feet and the long ball when it came was a pin point pass from Randolph to McGoldrick.
There was something entertaining about Ireland, the most entertaining team in the 2002, so said FIFA.
- Sean Maguire might be done
Maguire’s admission that he can only play one game in a week, didn’t seem to go down well with McCarthy.
The performance of Maguire in Gibraltar was not good. While not helped by the elements, Maguire made no impact at all.
When Matt Doherty was introduced for McGoldrick moving another sub Aiden O’Brien to centre forward the question is? Does the former Cork City man have a future?
- We Need a striker
While McGoldrick was good on the ball, Ireland need an out and out striker. The chances may have really only been half chances, but a real international forward would have at least tested the Georgian keeper.
Replacing Robbie Keane was bemoaned by Martin O’Neill, but McCarthy commenting that Keane had scored more goals than just about anyone else at international level, it was always going to be hard to replace him.
- Euro 2020 is actually on!
Yes it actually is. Six points from Six, top of the group and importantly Switzerland and Denmark took points off each other.
There’s a long way to go and next up for Mick McCarthy’s army is the trip to Denmark in June.
Dare we dream again.