Ireland 1-2 Norway: Player Ratings
Shay Given 5
Seems a little ring rusty which is something we have never come to expect from Given. A January move is of tremendous importance. Can’t be blamed for either goal, but just seems to be sluggish now and really lacking in confidence.
Stephen Kelly – 6
Can be reasonably happy with his nights work. Took to his task well, and even did admirably well in the centre when moved in, a position he has very little experience in. Will feel very hard done by that the first goal came from the free kick that he gave away. Poor decision by the ref to give the free.
John O’Shea – 5.5
Started the game brilliantly with by coming out of defence, winning possession and putting a nice ball through to Shane Long to win the penalty. A few nervous moments but he looked relatively OK in the centre. Expect him to revert to right back for next game
Darren O’Dea – 5.5
Like O’Shea, started the game well but had some worrying moments later in the game. Poor back header to Given in the second half almost cost us a goal. This is his first game in almost three months so you have to respect him for playing. Hopefully his hamstring injury is not serious.
Greg Cunningham – 6.5
The youngster did well and showed good composure throughout the game. Some bright runs down the wing and was not afraid to get at the Norway defence when possible. Was caught out of position at times, and guilty of ball watching at other times but it was still an impressive night. Future could be bright for this 19 year old.
Liam Lawrence – 5
In great form for his club, but struggled a little last night. Was moved around quite a bit and struggled to settle in the game. Did very well with one dangerous cross that almost resulted in a goal for Damien Duff. Substituted at half time.
Glenn Whelan – 5.5
Seems to be really struggling for form recently in the Irish jersey, no doubt thanks to his struggles at club level. Seemed quite slow on the ball and contributed little going forward. Namechecked by Trapattoni after the match as one of the players that was struggling as Norway got to grips with the game in the second half. Much needed 90 minutes for the player however.
Keith Fahey – 7
Used the ball very well and played a simply fantastic pass to Long in the second half. Was everywhere in the first 20 minutes when Ireland were controlling proceedings. Will have given Trap food for thought before the next fixture.
Damien Duff – 5.5
Pretty average by Duff’s lofty standards. Could have had a goal in the first half but found his effort well saved shortly after Ireland had taken the lead. Good to see him back after he missed the last 4 qualifiers, but we all know Duff is capable of much better than this showing.
Kevin Doyle – 5
Put himself about and he let the Norwegian defenders know they were in for a game early on. Showed some nice touches and did little wrong. Substituted at half time but did well to play considering his hand injury.
Shane Long – 7
His hunger and determination is a joy to watch. Had some smart runs, and was good in the air as per usual. Did very well to win the penalty, then converted it with style. Beginning to show good consistency for Ireland and he will feel quite disheartened is he makes way for Robbie Keane in the next qualifier.
Jon Walters – 6
Wasn’t afraid to put himself about. Held up the ball well but was unfortunately working off scraps for most of the half.
Aidan McGeady – 6
Lifted the tempo of the game completely in his first ten minutes, and seemed determined to net his first Irish goal. did waste possession at times.
Kevin Foley – 5.5
Will be quite disappointed he didn’t start the game, or at least get more game time. Settled in well but he deserved more time to show his Premiership qualities.
Stephen Hunt – 5.5
Put in a couple of dangerous crosses and got straight at the Norwegians when he came on. Good to have him back.
Has opened himself up to an awful lot of criticism by not playing Wilson, Treacy, and to a much bigger extent, Coleman, particularly considering he said they would play. His reasoning for not playing Coleman, that he wished not to lose the game, seems quite silly considering it was a friendly. Kevin Foley, who admirably turns up for every game and rarely gets picked, deserved to play for longer also. In the positives, Trap will be happy with Cunningham, Fahey and Long’s performances. Stepped away from his rigid 4-4-2 in the first half when he changed it to a 4-5-1 and moved Long out to the left wing. This was not to last however and Ireland were soon back to their predictable formation.
Moan of the night
People booing at the final whistle. No need for that whatsoever.