Republic of Ireland player ratings v Wales (October 16 2018)

Tue, Oct 16 2018

Dave Donnelly reports from the Aviva Stadium

On a chilly night in Dublin, it was a much-improved performance from Ireland that will go some way towards mollifying the critics of Martin O'Neill's reign, though another defeat to the Welsh all but confirms Ireland will bow out of Division B.

Darren Randolph: 4

Had precious little to do for most of the game but will regret taking a step to his left in the moment immediately before Wilson struck his free kick, which made it impossible for him to change direction. As ever, commanded his box and assured with the ball at his feet,.

Shane Duffy: 5

Lucky to get away with an early mistake of his own as Tom Lawrence blocked down in the box, and was fortunately to see the ball ricochet off the attacker's hand. Got a head on Hendrick's corner shortly before half time and maybe could have forced a better save from Hennessey, but was always a threat in the air.

Richard Keogh: 5

The captain was solid once again on the left of a defensive three and when Ireland switched to a flat back four in the final quarter.

Kevin Long: 5

Harshly booked in the opening quarter, perhaps to make up for the ref not booking James McClean moments before, but it didn't seem to limit his effectiveness. Afforded a lot more opportunities to get on the ball than he was on Saturday night and provided another option before being replaced by striker Scott Hogan as Ireland chased the game.

Matt Doherty: 6

A step up from his competitive debut against Denmark saw the Wolves right back involved in the attacking areas in which he does his best work. Caught out once in defence as Ben Davies played a one-two with Tom Lwarence to get in behind him, but otherwise gave little change to the Welsh widemen.

Harry Arter: 4

Looked much more assured with a regular centre midfielder alongside him in Jeff Hendrick, though he was still expected to sit in the defensive role which isn't his natural game, however his performance will be overshadowed by the badly-mistimed tackle that gifted Wilson the opportunity to score the game's only goal.

Jeff Hendrick: 5

The Burnley man looked more comfortable in the deeper role in which he'd finished the game against Denmark, and showed some signs he's getting back to his best form around the box. Some neat close control caused problems for the Welsh defence and his set-piece delivery was consistently good throughout.

Cyrus Christie: 6

Central midfield will never be his preferred position and there were instances where his inexperience shone through as he failed to lift his head up to see what was around him, but his speed in closing down and willingness to run at defenders gave Ireland a different option in the midde of the park. Did well to nick the ball off Smith for the early chance but will he rue shooting first-time rather than taking a touch to fix the keeper?

James McClean: 5

Another solid night for the Stoke City man, who was tireless running up and down the left-hand side all night long, but his delivery from wide areas was lacking once more and Kevin Long was definitely the most exercised of the centre-halves in covering wider ground. Was a little unlucky his late volley didn't take a touch on the way through to Wayne Hennessey.

Callum Robinson: 6

The Preston North End striker showed up much better than he did on his debut in Cardiff and looked to be on the same page as O'Brien, which allowed Ireland to press intelligently without leaving themselves vulnerable in behind. Replaced by his Preston teammate Sean Maguire after an hour.

Aiden O'Brien: 5

Worked diligently up front and co-ordinated his work with Callum Robinson quite well, particularly effectively when their press resulted in Smith giving the ball away to Cyrus Christie, from which the midfielder should have scored. Perhaps unfortunate not to be given more than 55 minutes before being replaced by Shane Long.

Shane Long: 5

If the Southampton man was struggling with an injury that kept him out of the starting line-up, there was little sign of it in his 35 minutes on the field. However the sight of the Tipperary man picking up positions out wide and providing crosses in the final period when Ireland were camped around the Welsh area, rather than in the box where he could do most damage, suggest a man not entirely trusting his instincts.

Sean Maguire: 7

The Kilkenny native was everywhere in his half-hour or so on the field, coming deept o receive the ball and spraying the ball quickly to the wing-backs, which Ireland hadn't done often enough until then. Reminiscent of his best at Cork City, though he might be disappointed he didn't give Scott Hogan more of a chance with a knockdown late on.

Scott Hogan: 6

The Aston Villa man has had few chances to impress in a green shirt so far but he got the guts of 20 minutes here and was a busy presence despite the somewhat ad-hoc nature of Ireland's attacking arc. Did well to steer Maguire's knockdown back on target when reaching backwards, and on another day could have broken his duck.