herald

Monday 24 July 2017

McClean endures 'frustrating game' as Brady 'disappointed'

Republic of Ireland's James McClean in action against Iceland's Ragnar Sigurdsson
Republic of Ireland's James McClean in action against Iceland's Ragnar Sigurdsson

Can do - and must do - better was the feeling from the Ireland camp today after a three-year home unbeaten record was lost against an experimental but still superior Iceland side last night.

A first half free-kick from Hordur Magnusson, a team-mate of Callum O'Dowda in a relegation battle for Bristol City this season, won the day for Iceland and inflicted a rare home loss on this Irish side.

There's now a long break to the next batch of international games, with two friendlies to warm up for that mid-June date with Austria, but James McClean admitted that form has to be better than this as Iceland became the first side since Turkey in 2014 to win in Dublin.

"It was a frustrating game to play in, and credit to Iceland, they are not a bad side but we know we can play better," said McClean, now just one appearance short of the 50-cap mark.

"We knew we weren't good enough in the first half, we needed a kick up the backside, and we got that at half time.

"We moved the ball better in the second half but didn't create much and we can do a lot better. We're disappointed but it's not the end of the world, we will go again," McClean added.

It was a big night for Robbie Brady who captained his country for the first time, but also a let-down for the Dubliner as the result, and the performance, did not match his expectations.

"I enjoyed being captain, it was always a dream for me to do it, to captain my country and I am very proud, though the circumstances, in how we lost our own captain to injury weren't good, but I was just disappointed we didn't get the win," said Brady. "It was very disappointing to concede a set piece like that to decide a game, but it's not good enough from us. We move on and we look forward to the games in the summer.

Republic of Ireland's Daryl Horgan
Republic of Ireland's Daryl Horgan

"It's hard to explain how flat we were, the first half wasn't good enough. We were better in the second half but it wasn't enough to break them down." The positive for the Ireland camp was the sight of so many players getting debuts, as first caps came the way of Daryl Horgan, Andy Boyle, John Egan and Conor Hourihane while Stephen Gleeson ended a 10-year wait, almost a record, for another cap after he made his debut under Steve Staunton.

"It was great to get on as I wasn't expecting this, I was at home with the family when the call came to join the squad last week," said Gleeson.

"It was disappointing to lose but I think we were the dominant side in the second half, we had some good passages of play and we deserved something from the game, hopefully I can get more games now."

Promoted articles

Entertainment News