things we learned

The Irish Mail on Sunday - - SPORTS - By David Sneyd

Right on

The Danes pin­pointed Ire­land’s right side as a weak spot. Si­mon Kjaer played nu­mer­ous di­ag­o­nal balls on top of Cyrus Christie and their best chance came af­ter 11 min­utes when right winger Cal­lum O’Dowda was caught nap­ping. Jens Stryger Larsen’s shot was palmed in the di­rec­tion of An­dreas Cor­nelius and Dar­ren Ran­dolph was alert to make an­other fine save.

Cham­pi­onship class

Ire­land’s best move in­volved Mid­dles­brough (Cyrus Christie), Not­ting­ham For­est (Daryl Mur­phy) and Bris­tol City (Cal­lum O’Dowda) when, down that right side which Den­mark felt was vul­ner­a­ble, Christie showed tremen­dous pace to get the bet­ter of Jens Stryger Larsen and drive into the box where his shot was well saved by Kasper Sch­me­ichel.

Who’d be a striker?

Daryl Mur­phy flogged him­self for 74 min­utes be­fore be­ing put of his mis­ery and re­placed by Shane Long. There were times when the 34-year-old vet­eran was too slow to re­act to break­ing balls but it was hard not to have sym­pa­thy for him con­sid­er­ing how iso­lated he was.

Ire­land’s steel

So of­ten you hear how the mod­ern foot­baller is mol­ly­cod­dled and men­tally weak, but this Ire­land team are res­o­lute and de­fi­ant. Shane Duffy and Ciaran Clark were the en­forcers – the Mitchell broth­ers of the back four with bet­ter hair – who de­liv­ered a vi­tal clean sheet.

The Brady dilemma

This goal­less draw sim­pli­fies things in Dublin. They have to win. A score draw will see the Danes go through on away goals and, on the ev­i­dence of this, vic­tory is not be­yond Mar­tin O’Neill’s side. Set-pieces must im­prove, though, and if Rob­bie Brady can­not find con­sis­tency than the Ire­land boss must look for al­ter­na­tives.

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