herald

Thursday 8 December 2016

Shaun Maloney strikes again as Ireland's Euro 2016 hopes all but vanish

Republic of Ireland 1 Scotland 1

13 June 2015; Scotland players celebrate their equalising goal scored by Shaun Maloney, second left. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; Scotland players celebrate their equalising goal scored by Shaun Maloney, second left. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; Republic of Ireland supporters cheer after their side's first goal. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; Shay Given, Republic of Ireland goalkeeper looks on as Scotland's Shaun Maloney scores his side's equalising goal. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill reacts to the game. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Seb Daly / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; Daryl Murphy, Republic of Ireland, in action against Alan Hutton, Scotland. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; Jonathan Walters, Republic of Ireland, peals away to celebrate his side's opening goal of the game. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; Daryl Murphy, Republic of Ireland, in action against Charlie Mulgrew, Scotland. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; Jonathan Walters, Republic of Ireland, right, celebrates scoring his side's opening goal of the game with teammates. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Seb Daly / SPORTSFILE

A nation holds off on booking French language lessons as, on the back of yet another disappointing home display from the Republic of Ireland against Scotland, Euro 2016 is almost certain to go ahead without Martin O'Neill's team.

There may be an Irish presence in France next year but from Michael O'Neill's side and not that of Martin, as automatic qualification is now gone from the Republic's grasp, with Poland taking a step closer to the finals with a 4-0 home win over Georgia, and even a play-off spot is now unlikely for Ireland.

An inability to hold the lead for longer than 10 minutes, after Jon Walters had put Ireland in front seven minutes before half time, cost dearly as a John O'Shea own goal a minute after the restart earned Scotland the point and keeps the Scots in the hunt.

Three points from the four group games against Germany, Poland and Scotland is a very poor haul for am Ireland side who had real ambitions of qualification before this group started, and the only way that Ireland can get back into contention now is for one of the top three to collapse in the autumn qualifiers, something that's unlikely to happen as Scotland and Poland in particular have looked steady throughout.

The game had been billed as a battle of wits between the two managers more than anything else, and Martin O'Neill was keen to get his stake in early on, with a team selection which Gordon Strachan - nor anyone else - would have predicted.

James McClean, Aiden McGeady and Robbie Keane all started on the bench while Jeff Hendrick - so ineffective away to Scotland in November - and Daryl Murphy - in for his first competitive start at the age of 31 - were given a chance.

And understandably, it took everyone some time to get to grips with the formation and the game itself. The Scots had early threats from Steven Naismith and Darren Fletcher, which didn't really trouble Shay Given, and all Ireland had in response was an off-target shot from Glenn Whelan on 17 minutes.

There was some concern among the home support when yellow cards were shown at two Ireland players in the space of a few minutes, Whelan booked for a clumsy foul on Steven Fletcher and James McCarthy going into the book on the half-hour mark for leaving his mark on Russell Martin.

Those worries eased greatly on 38 minutes when Walters gave Ireland the lead. Murphy had earned the corner by forcing a save from David Marshall, Murphy then got his head to Robbie Brady's corner kick and while Cardiff man Marshall blocked Murphy's header, Walters was on hand to stab home the rebound.

Scotland used the respite of the half-time break well as they drew level within a minute of the restart, Shaun Maloney firing in a shot after a one-two with sub Ikechi Anya and his effort took a deflection off John O'Shea to go past Given.

Home fans looked to the dugout and a change from Martin O'Neill but even at the 68-minute mark, the introduction of James McClean was too late, as Strahcan had made his switch at half time and the Scottish sub, Watford man Anya, had a real impact on the game.

13 June 2015; Marc Wilson, Republic of Ireland, celebrates his teammate Jonathan Walters' opening goal of the game. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Seb Daly / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; Marc Wilson, Republic of Ireland, celebrates his teammate Jonathan Walters' opening goal of the game. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Seb Daly / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; A Republic of Ireland supporter reacts to chants for his side. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Seb Daly / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; Republic of Ireland supporters cheer on their side during the game. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; A Scotland fan reacts to the Republic of Ireland goal during he first half. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin.
13 June 2015; A general view of the game. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; A general view of the game. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; Daryl Murphy, Republic of Ireland,goes up for a high ball with Charlie Mulgrew, Scotland. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; Jonathon Walters, Republic of Ireland, in action against James Morrison, Scotland. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; Scotland goalkeeper David Marshall tips a looping header over the bar. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
Scotland's Russell Martin (centre) points at Ireland's Robbie Brady during the UEFA European Championship Qualifying match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Niall Carson/PA Wire
13 June 2015; Jonathan Walters, Republic of Ireland, celebrates after scoring his side's first goal. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; Republic of Ireland players celebrate after Jonathan Walters scored his side's first goal. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; The two goalscorers Jonathan Walters, Republic of Ireland, and Shaun Maloney, Scotland, vie for the ball. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE
Scotland's Russell Martin (left) and Ireland's Robbie Brady during the UEFA European Championship Qualifying match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Niall Carson/PA Wire
13 June 2015; Republic of Ireland players celebrate after Jonathan Walters scored his side's first goal. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; Robbie Brady, Republic of Ireland, in action against Matt Ritchie, Scotland. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; Pictured is Taylor Lombard, aged 11, from Ardsallagh, Co.Waterford, during the pre-match ceremony. Taylor won a McDonald’s Future Football competition to become a flag bearer for the crucial Ireland v Scotland European Championship Qualifier at the Aviva Stadium. David Maher / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; Pictured is Seán Hickey, aged 8, from Ratoath, Co. Meath, during the pre-match ceremony. Seán won a McDonald’s Future Football competition to become a flag bearer for the crucial Ireland v Scotland European Championship Qualifier at the Aviva Stadium. David Maher / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; Jonathan Walters, Republic of Ireland, celebrates after scoring his side's first goal. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; Jonathan Walters, Republic of Ireland, celebrates after scoring his side's first goal. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; Jonathan Walters, Republic of Ireland, shoots to score his side's first goal. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; Wes Hoolahan, Republic of Ireland, in action against Alan Hutton, Scotland. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; James McCarthy, Republic of Ireland, in action against Alan Hutton, Scotland. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Seb Daly / SPORTSFILE
Rod Stewart watches the action during the UEFA European Championship Qualifying match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin Niall Carson/PA Wire
13 June 2015; Jonathan Walters, Republic of Ireland, shoots to score his side's first goal. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; Republic of Ireland players celebrate their side's opening goal of the game. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Seb Daly / SPORTSFILE

Murphy sparked a reaction from the crowd with a headed effort on 72 minutes and just after that, the home fans rose to acclaim the arrival off the bench of Robbie Keane but the captain was unable to add to his tally of goals.

O'Neill's final change - replacing the clearly-tired Murphy with Shane Long - in the 80th minute was way too late, giving Long no time to make real contribution, the sort of decision we came to expect from Giovanni Trapattoni and more was expected from a man like O'Neill.

McClean went close with a header from another Brady set piece on 83 minutes but the Scottish back four looked solid and prepared, and this hard-earned Dublin draw means the Scots can keep France in mind, but Ireland's future looks very bleak.

IRELAND: Given (Aston V), Coleman (Everton), Wilson (Stoke C), O'Shea (Sunderland, cap), Brady (Hull C), Hendrick (Derby C), Whelan (Stoke C), McCarthy (Everton), Walters (Stoke C), Hoolahan (Norwich C), Murphy (Ipswich T). SUBS: McClean (Wigan) for Whelan, 68, Keane (LA

Galaxy) for Hoolahan, 73; Long (Southampton) for Murphy, 81.

SCOTLAND: Marshall (Cardiff C), Hutton (Aston V), Mulgrew (Celtic), Martin (Norwich C), Forsyth (Derby C); Naismith (Everton), Morrison (WBA), Brown (Celtic), Ritchie (Bournemouth); Maloney (Chicago Fire); Fletcher (Sunderland). SUBS: Anya (Watford) for Ritchie, 46, McArthur

(Palace) for Brown, 84; Berra (Ipswich) for Naismith, 93).

REFEREE: N Rizzoli (Italy).

Promoted articles

Entertainment News