Thursday, March 29, 2007

Three Points, at the End of the Day

Seanachie, Underachievement's very own Junior Dunphy, is not overly pleased with the Ireland performance at Croker last night though he won't be sending the result back to the kitchen for being undercooked. The first half display was sprightly, if a bit disjointed and it was good to see Duff finally recovering his old form. For much of the second half however there was far too much possession surrendered to a very ordinary Slovakian team and at times it looked as if we were playing in Bratislava, rather than on the Clonliffe Road. The final three minutes of injury time were also unnerving, which, in a home game against opposition such as Slovakia, should not be the case.

But we won, and when Stephen Hunt was introduced midway through the second period he brought a new liveliness to the team. Like Duff, who played down the left in the first half he was kicked at every opportunity, a strange tactic for the Slovaks given their serial haplessness defending set-pieces. Hunt's reading teammates Kevin Doyle and Shane Long were also impressive and a bit more composure from Long would have seen him seal the game from Hunt's magnificent cross. We now have no competitive games left until we travel to Bratislava in September, and, though Stan is still not to be trusted with this team, we are in the strangely serene position of being able to qualify. The Czechs are there for the taking and the Welsh may even do us a favour in Cardiff in June.