Player Ratings: Hoolahan and O'Kane shine, while McClean answers his critics

Robbie Brady also put in a good cameo in the second half

Player Ratings: Hoolahan and O'Kane shine, while McClean answers his critics

Image: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Martin O'Neill's side produced an excellent performance this evening and, asides from a couple of defensive hiccups, the Irish managerial duo will have a lot to think about ahead of their next friendly with Belarus in May. 

Upon tonight's performances, here's how we felt O'Neill's side got on.

 

Rob Elliot - 5 

Unlucky to pick up the injury in the first half, wasn't at fault for the first goal. Hard to make any concrete judgement with only 15 minutes game time, hopefully the injury isn't too serious.

 

Cyrus Christie - 7

Could have been positioned better for the first goal, but tracked back and was beaten by a smart finish. Looked comfortable on the ball after this, getting forward on a number of occasions. Could be a good attacking outlet to have, looks a great prospect.

 

John O'Shea - 6 

Organised and reliable for the most part. Wasn't a stand-out player in the first half and was subbed off at the break. Need to do more to keep the shape of a new look defence.

 

Paul McShane - 4

Committed high up the pitch to allow the attack for the first goal and also got on the scoresheet for the own goal. Put in some good defensive headers and tackles, but looked unsure. Didn't do himself many favours this evening.

 

Stephen Ward - 5 

Did his best to push up the pitch, but didn't do it quite to the same effect as we've seen Robbie Brady do. It was a solid performance, a man who's experienced at this level. Just lacked a bit of spark or creativity that Brady brought to the role. 

 

Eunan O'Kane - 8 

Excellent performance. Assured of himself on and off the ball, played positive football keeping the move going forward. Looked comfortable getting the ball at his feet and wasn't afraid to have a crack at goal. Slight mistake with a header back to Randolph, but otherwise he's done everything well.

 

Glenn Whelan - 6

Quietly efficient as always. Looked to take the ball of his centre backs to stop the long ball. Negated the threat of Hamsik as best he could and worked well alongside James McCarthy. Good with the ball at his feet, tackling was also very good.

 

James McCarthy - 6 

Similar performance to Whelan. Did his job well to allow the flair players like Hoolahan to shine. Could have communicated better with Ward to avoid the second goal but otherwise did very well in the middle of the park. Looks a very reliable player. 

 

Wes Hoolahan - 8.5

Knitted the performance together. Popped up deep to take possession and was able to spread the ball left and right. Got into the box plenty and had a shot or two. Prevented Ireland from "reverting to type" for long periods, opting to pass the ball rather than go long. Exactly what O'Neill was looking for.

 

James McClean - 8

Answered a lot of the questions asked of him in a forward role. Gave everything he had in the tank, very energetic up front with Shane Long. Will be happy to get his goal from the spot and his switch to a wide berth brought more attacking options from the wing. 

 

Shane Long - 7 

A lot of worried faces in the crowd as Shane Long failed to emerge for the second half. Ireland are running low on strikers and an injury to him would be a massive blow. Earned the first penalty dubiously perhaps but the second was sheer experience, drawing Skrtel's foul. Looked dangerous in the air or with the ball at his feet. Ireland's best striker, so we'll have to wait and see how bad the knock is.

 

The Substitutes

 

Darron Randolph - 5

Can't really be blamed for the second goal. Looked relaxed in goal but simple errors at times, threw the ball straight out of play and cleared the ball off the back off a Slovakian forward. Even with all that, looks likely to be Ireland's number one choice for the Euros, depending on the severity of Rob Elliot's injury.

 

Robbie Brady - 7

The best of the substitutes. Looked interested and active from the get-go. Positive from the dead ball, always looking to go for goal. Quick with the ball at his feet and in the same vein as Hoolahan looks to drive forward.

 

Alex Pearce - 6

Didn't have a huge amount to do in the second period when he came on. Positive in that he didn't lump the ball up from defense, regularly giving it to Whelan or McCarthy. Relationship already with Christie who is also at Derby, could be a good partnership to have.

 

Anthony Pilkington - 6

Physical presence similar to that of Daryl Murphy. Looked to get on the ball constantly, can hold off players very well. Performance fell into the background of some of tonight's big players. Could pounce on a spot depending on injuries to key forward players. 

 

Aiden McGeady - 6

Good game coming off the bench. Replaced Hoolahan but couldn't quite offer the same threat on the ball. A little bit more one dimensional. Still, he looks a threat going forward and can put a good ball into the box.

 

John Hayes - 5

In the same vein as the fullbacks, tried to push forward, but with minimal success. Didn't have that much time to impress.