Sometimes in the world of football your hopes can be built up, only to be let down at the very last moment. Whether it be courtesy of the media or the fans, or perhaps even both, many games over the years have been viewed as barnstormers heading in – and they don’t end up living up to the hype. Some would argue that was showcased once again tonight, as Northern Ireland were held to a 0-0 draw by the Republic of Ireland in Dublin.
A slow start
While neither of these sides are strangers to the idea of a draw against their bitter rivals, it certainly felt like a game that was waiting for a goal to kick it up into that next gear. Unfortunately that never came, in front of a crowd that tried their best to keep the Irish spirit alive and well from the first minute until the very last.
While the home side were always viewed as the favourites in this one heading into it you never truly can tell what’s going to happen once you get out on that pitch, and that proved to be the case yet again with Northern Ireland having the better opportunities of the two nations.
Too little, too late
Darren Randolph had to keep out Jordan Jones and Gavin Whyte, who both came close for an NI side that can hold their heads up high in the immediate aftermath of the game. The Republic certainly had their moments too but they were incredibly fortunate to end up with the scoreline that we were left with at full time, with many calling for a rematch – and this time, the locals don’t want to wait so long to see it go down.
Both nations will turn their attention towards what now matters most, which is qualifying for the 2020 UEFA European Championships. They’re certainly capable of getting the job done as they did during Euro 2016, but they need to rediscover that killer instinct that both nations were once renowned for.
Republic of Ireland: Randolph (8), Lenihan (6.5), Duffy (6.5), Egan (6), Coleman (7), Hendrick (6.5), Whelan (6.5), Brady (6), McClean (6.5), O’Dowda (6), Robinson (6)
Northern Ireland: Peacock-Farrell (7), Smith (6.5), Cathcart (6.5), Evans (6), Lewis (7), Davis (6.5), Whyte (6), Evans (6.5), Saville (6), Dallas (6.5), Boyce (6)
Referee: Slavko Vincic
Yellow Cards: Lenihan, Hourihane, Saville
Red Cards: N/A
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