Robbie Keane should no longer be in this team. A player long past his prime, unable to get a game at his club, or interest another long enough to keep him, I fear the only reason he continues to get a place on the Irish squad is his past experience. He scored a goal in a World Cup: apparently that makes him untouchable.
But there is only so much the manager and the squad should be expected to watch before it comes to a head. Three gift wrapped chances to get a winning goal. The first, a Fahy cross that really just needed contact to go into the net. Keane, out of position, failed to reach it. A penalty, poorly taken. And a clean run in on goal, only the keeper to beat, from less than ten yards out. Keane puts it over the bar.
As a forward, his primary objective is to score. He isn’t doing that.
A more clinical forward and Ireland would have won this game handily. We have this awful mindset at home to be happy with draws when we should win. We’re happy being “the better team” if when the points get shared.
I’m no longer happy being the better team on the pitch and losing out in the table.
There are silver linings of course: Long looks like a player that could oust Keane if his form holds. Fahy was impressive, the back line was mostly solid, and the long ball tactics were kept to a minimum.
This allowed the midfield to have a greater impact on the game but they only really came right after Green went off injured. His 40 minutes were terrible, and if that doesn’t get Gibson a more permanent place on the team I don’t know what will.
One point from the last six is bad. Though, with the quality of Slovakia being up and down, I would still be confident of a second place finish.