Jack Byrne shows Ireland what he can do and you'd hope Mick McCarthy is planning for Monday 8 months ago

Jack Byrne shows Ireland what he can do and you'd hope Mick McCarthy is planning for Monday

Ireland 3-1 New Zealand

Jack Byrne wants the ball. He's mad for the ball.

He stretches the arms wide and lets out a roar.

You don't have an option really. You just have to give it to him because he's already sizing you up. He's already angling towards the goals.

They say the best players look like they have all day on the ball but that's no coincidence. They take a look around, weigh it all up and like a space invader in its element, they sniff it out and then they hunt it down.

It's an easy game really. All you have to do is give it to him.

With a slick touch and a roll, he's away and within a stride he has the head up and the freedom of the park. That's Jack Byrne for you. That's what he can offer an Ireland team who let's be honest, have been lacking creativity and guile for years. There's a place for him in that engine room.

First few minutes against New Zealand and Jack Byrne was a cut above the rest. The ball drifted around like a magnet to his right leg - that's no coincidence either - as he did what he's been doing in a Shamrock Rovers jersey all year.

Demand and move. Head up and lash it on.

The first touch is deft and the pass is usually inventive. You won't see this fella passing the ball backwards. In fact, he had 34 passes in the New Zealand half in the first 45 minutes. That was more than any other player on the pitch.

For once, you actually felt Ireland had a little bit of control over a game. It sure was a pleasant change from the slapdash game of pinball we're used to seeing around the midfield.

It meant a lot to the lads around the pitch too. Up top, Troy Parrott and Seani Maguire were feeding off the passes and breaks. At least they had something to work with.

Byrne was less influential in the second half and was taken off after 62 minutes but you'd hope Mick McCarthy made that decision with a view to some involvement for Monday's big one against Denmark. God knows he'd make a difference.

And so would a few others. New Zealand took the lead early on but for once, you felt Ireland were going to have the final say. Up front, Seani Maguire was making inroads and showing lively. He really zipped into it in the second half and his peach of a goal will surely put him in the shop window for Monday.

Form is everything. This fella is playing with confidence.

Others to impress include Troy Parrott - who despite not scoring, dazzles with elegance. Lee O'Connor made an impressive senior debut down the right flank and his cross for Callum Robinson's goal was worth watching again.

There's hope for us yet. We just need to give these lads a chance.