Robinson, Coleman and McGoldrick the only ones to impress as Ireland struggle
Republic of Ireland 2-0 Gibraltar
Job done. Just about.
From the moment Mick McCarthy's instructions were heard louder than any other voice on Landsdowne Road, you just got a feeling this was going to be a long night.
That was the very first minute of the game. Ten minutes later, we were well used to it. 20 minutes and we found ourselves trying to work out what he was saying. Just to keep ourselves entertained.
That was about the height of it in Aviva Stadium as an admirable Gibraltar side, full of firemen, bakers, butchers and policemen gave as good as they got.
A subdued start from the Irish team was met with a subdued atmosphere and despite the very best efforts of David McGoldrick, Callum Robinson and Seamus Coleman, they would struggle to snap out of it in an hour and a half of football.
Perhaps the most galling stat of all was noted in the 60th minute with both sides having only one shot on target. Ireland's was a deflection-aided David McGoldrick effort in the 28th minute of the game.
🎥 Here is the goal that has given Ireland a well-deserved lead in @AVIVAStadium #IRLGIB 🇮🇪🇬🇮 #COYBIGpic.twitter.com/JHufDghorE
— Ireland Football ⚽️🇮🇪 (@IrelandFootball) June 10, 2019
And while McGoldrick may have been disappointed not to have been given the goal, he certainly didn't disappoint in his performance. The Sheffield United striker ran himself into the Dublin 4 turf and was deservedly acknowledged with the man-of-the-match award by the game's end.
It wasn't only grit and work-rate from McGoldrick that stood out - he also showed moments of silk and skill that were few and far between out there. His first touch was the best on sight and he constantly showed for ball and caused problems for the Gibraltarians when he got it.
Next best was Callum Robinson. The Preston North End forward who has a sharp burst of pace and a decent touch to boot. He also showed moments of promise up until his substitution.
As ever, captain Seamus Coleman galloped hard down the right wing and created plenty of opportunities from his teammates, though his delivery let him down at times.
Michael Murphy: No more of that socks up to the knees crack
Seamus Coleman: Say no more fam pic.twitter.com/d06XPGm0iS
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) June 10, 2019
Aside from that, there was little to get excited about on a night where Gibraltar keeper Kyle Goldwin's penchant for a kick to touch with his goal-kicks drew the loudest cheer of the night.
He must have hit it over that left sideline five times.
By the end of it, Ireland had four attempts on target. When you consider that this was against an opposition who conceded an average of five and a half goals in their last European qualifying campaign, it leaves plenty to be desired.
The last of those was a diving header from Robbie Brady. We were more excited the last time we typed those words but at least it's job done here.
Ireland move on with another three points.