Good show­ing from Dar­ren

Bray na­tive steady for Ire­land

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - SPORT - IN­TER­NA­TIONAL at the Aviva Sta­dium

BRAY’S Dar­ren Ran­dolph didn’t have that hec­tic a night at the Aviva Sta­dium last Thurs­day evening against the Swiss but he proved very strong un­der crosses and was calm and com­posed on the ball when Ire­land tried to play it out on a mem­o­rable night for the Boys in Green.

The 32-year-old Middlesbro­ugh goal­keeper has con­ceded just two goals in his coun­try’s five Group D matches to date with Den­mark’s Pierre Emile Ho­jb­jerg and Switzer­land skip­per Fabian Schar the only men to find a way past him.

Ire­land have taken 11 points from a pos­si­ble 15 to lead the pack as the cam­paign reaches its busi­ness end, but Ran­dolph knows that he and the men ahead of him may have to be even more re­silient if they are to achieve their dreams with trips to Ge­or­gia and Switzer­land to come next month ahead of the Danes’ visit to Dublin in Novem­ber.

The Bray na­tive says that the team are get­ting used to a new style of foot­ball un­der man­ager Mick McCarthy but that they’ve shown that they are ready at­tack and cause prob­lems when they at­tack at the other end.

‘There are go­ing to be times in ev­ery game when you’re go­ing to need to de­fend and you’re go­ing to have ev­ery­body be­hind the ball.

‘You’ve seen with us in games in the past, we’ve de­fended for 10 min­utes or whole parts of the game. It’s part of foot­ball.

‘Ob­vi­ously you don’t want to be camped on the edge of your box for the whole game and just invit­ing the pres­sure, but it’s needed at times and I think we’ve shown we’re more than ca­pa­ble of do­ing it when needed.

‘But we’ve shown al­ready we’re out to at­tack and cause prob­lems when we can and take it to other teams.”

The Repub­lic’s pug­na­cious ap­proach to the game may have won them few fans - Swiss keeper Yann Som­mer dis­missed it as ‘very un­pleas­ant’ in the run-up to Thurs­day evening’s 1-1 draw.

And while their meth­ods have proved hugely ef­fec­tive over the years, there is an ac­knowl­edge­ment within the camp that dogged de­fence alone is not enough de­spite man­ager Mick McCarthy’s in­sis­tence that he will ac­cept win­ning ‘ugly’ ev­ery time.

Ire­land, who face Bul­garia in a friendly on Tues­day evening, have scored more than one goal in a game only once dur­ing the cur­rent cam­paign - Rob­bie Brady’s in­jury time strike se­cured a 2-0 win over Gi­bral­tar in Dublin in June - and last achieved that feat in a com­pet­i­tive fix­ture on the road in Moldova al­most three years ago.

It is a de­bate Ran­dolph has ex­pe­ri­enced at club level too with cur­rent Boro boss Jonathan Woodgate at­tempt­ing to take a more pro­gres­sive ap­proach than pre­de­ces­sor Tony Pulis, so far with mixed re­sults.

Asked about the con­trast­ing styles of the two coaches, the keeper said: ‘Un­der Tony, we were a lot more com­pact and de­fen­sive-minded, which en­abled us to stay in games and prob­a­bly nick some goals, whereas now we’re prob­a­bly more ex­pan­sive and open and at­tack­ing.

‘We’ve been un­lucky with a few of the re­sults that we’ve had so far, but there are lots of pos­i­tives to take from the games we’ve al­ready played.

‘We’re get­ting used to a new style of foot­ball that he wants us to play.’

Statis­tics do not tell the full story, but the tran­si­tion re­mains a work in process.

When Ran­dolph met up with his in­ter­na­tional team-mates in Septem­ber last year, he did so hav­ing kept five clean sheets in the first six games of the Sky Bet Cham­pi­onship cam­paign as Boro col­lected 14 points; this time around, his re­turn is just one shutout and six points from the same num­ber of out­ings.

Bray’s Dar­ren Ran­dolph climbs high to claim this ball dur­ing the clash with Switzer­land.

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