ON A NIGHT which brought defeat to a Dublin which seemed very uninterested in events at Lansdowne Road if the crowd is anything to go by, Wes Hoolahan was one of the few Ireland players to go home with something to show for his efforts.
The Norwich City man was making only his 12th appearance for the senior side and he went home with a cap and a piece of cut glass, the trophy his reward for being Man of the Match in a 2-1 loss to Turkey, and for Wes, getting that bauble was scant consolation for a second successive Ireland home defeat.
“I did alright, I imagine,” he said when asked about his own form, on a night when Hoolahan created Ireland’s goal, for sub Jon Walters, and almost set up two more.
“We lost the game, that’s the really disappointing thing about it. The manager is happy but disappointed we didn’t get the win.
“If we win the game, you might think you played better and we played better as a team. It’s a results business. We need to win. We’re disappointed in there.
“You don’t like to lose a game, particularly after starting so well and creating a lot of chances. They got us with a sucker punch. We found them hard to break down but we still created chances.
“If you play a top team and don’t take your chances, you’ll be punished. If you keep playing the way we’re playing, passing the ball and moving it, we’ll get the goals and go on to win games more often than not.
“It would be a worry if we weren’t creating chances, if we weren’t keeping hold of the ball, or if it looked like we were struggling. They had two chances and they scored from the two of them. That sums up last night, really.
“I don’t know what aspects we improve upon. I thought we played really well. We passed the ball well. We played against a well-drilled Turkish team,” added Hoolahan, upset by the referee’s decision not to award a penalty when Shane Long was felled in the box by Omer Toprak, Lopng running onto a superb through ball from Aiden McGeady.
“If we get that first goal, and obviously if the referee makes that decision, it should have been a red card and a penalty, you imagine you will go on to win the game.”
“On a personal level, obviously you have to keep playing well and give the manager food for thought. Hopefully if I keep playing and do well, I’ll stay involved, “ says Hoolahan, who is committed to the three upcoming games while team-mates like the Stoke City trio miss out for personal reasons.
“I can’t wait. I didn’t play a lot this season. I’m buzzing to get out there and play more games,” says the Dubliner.
Goalscorer Jonathan Walters admits that defeat was hard to accept.
“It is difficult to take when you get beaten and you probably didn’t deserve too.
“We move on and we have tough games coming up where we can test ourselves,” said Walters, who took his tally of international goals to five with his 77th minute strike, a nice finish from the Stoke man.
“Turkey can be very good, they have got players that can hurt you, at 1-0 down you are still in it.
“For goal it was a great ball by Wes, I took a touch wide on my chest, pulled it back onto my right and tried it.
“It was important for me to do that. You are sitting watching the game waiting to come on. It can be easier some times but I just came on and got one,” added Walters.
The 30-year-old steps away from the national team now for a spell. He will miss Saturday’s game with Italy in London as he is at a wedding but he will be back in camp for the two-game tour of the USA.