Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill praised the second half efforts of his side, as they came from a goal ...Sun, Jun 11 2017
Dave Donnelly’s Ireland player ratings from the 2-1 defeat to France
Darren Randolph: 7
The Bray man came into the tournament unsure about how safe his place was, but he's firmly entrenched himself as Martin O'Neill's number one as his calm nature and solidity gives confidence to those in front of him. There remain doubts about his ability as a top-level shot stopper (he might have gotten a stronger hand on Antoine Griezmann's admittedly brilliant header) but he earned his crust with a handful of vital saves, first to keep Ireland in front and, as Ireland tired and began to take more risks, to keep the scoreline respectable.
Seamus Coleman: 6
Ireland's one potentially world-class player has assumed the captaincy in the absence of John O'Shea and Glenn Whelan, and with both players potentially retiring or taking a reduced role in the international team it's a good bet he could fill the position permanently. A quiet character by nature, Coleman exudes an authority that his team-mates clearly respond to, and it's helped raise his own game too, as shown by the fact Dmitri Payet had little or no influence on the game.
Richard Keogh: 4
His steady performance against Italy earned him a justified recall for this game. He was solid in the first half but part-responsible for the eight minutes of madness that lost Ireland a winning position. He was out-jumped by Olivier Giroud for France's second goal, and an untimely slip left Shane Duffy in the unenviable position of having to take a red card for the team
Shane Duffy: 3
The Derryman enjoyed a dream competitive debut against Italy in Lille, but his second was anything but as he went wandering in the lead-up to both goals and wound up leaving the field with a quarter of the game to play after committing a professional foul on Griezmann. However his height and reading of the attack prevented a certain goal for Giroud in the first half and he showed signs he has a long future as this level.
Stephen Ward: 6
The Burnley defender continues to enjoy a renaissance in both claret-and-blue and green shirts, and his attacking prowess ensures Ireland have a threat off either flank, and it was his industry down the left and cross that created the opportunity that saw a penalty awarded within 65 seconds. He still has a tendency to tuck in in defence and perhaps could have stayed wider in a bid to stop Bacary Sagna's cross for Griezmann's first goal, but he was far from the weakest link defensively.
James McCarthy: 5
The Everton midfielder took his sparkling form from the Italy game into this game as he continued to grow into his role in front of the defence. His positional sense and calmness in possession ensured his defenders had only crosses and long-distance efforts to deal with in the first half, but tiredness set in in the second half and France began to have more of the play around the 18-yard box before he was withdrawn shortly after the hour.
Jeff Hendrick: 4
Ireland's outstanding player in the tournament didn't have his most effective performance, though it can partly be put down to a dead leg suffered in a first-half collision with Paul Pogba. Having picked up a silly booking against Sweden, he picked up another needless card for kicking the ball away and would have missed the quarter-final had Ireland made it, and he was another to wilt in the Lyon heat as France took control late on.
Robbie Brady: 6
When Shane Long won that early penalty, it would have been safe to assume the Southampton striker would take it himself, as he has in the past for Ireland, but instead it was the in-form Brady who snatched the ball. Such is the confidence he's in, he sent the keeper the wrong way and smacked the ball in off the post, and he was a constant source of positivity in the Ireland midfield as his driving runs in midfield caused the French defence to back off.
James McClean: 4
McClean's pace was noted in advance as a potential weapon against French right-back Sagna, and he had a lot of joy against the Manchester City man, including one occasion, shortly after France took the lead, when he breezed past and should have put the ball on a plate for Daryl Murphy. On such margins are games won and lost, however, as France broke and Duffy got his marching orders and the game slipped beyond Ireland.
Shane Long: 5
It was another frustrating day for Long as he endured a physical barrage from France's central defenders with little reward, while veteran Patrice Evra put in a masterful shift to prevent him from having his usual free run of the channel. He did win the penalty however as he cleverly dangled just enough leg to tempt Pogba into making an unwise lunge, and competed well for the scraps he had.
Daryl Murphy: 6
While 23 caps and 0 goals is a record the 32-year-old won't like publicised, it does a disservice to the all-round game last season's Championship Player of the Year nominee brings to the table. He dominated Laurent Koscielny and Adil Rami in the air and, had Lloris not been in inspired form, may have bagged his first international goal. Ran himself into the ground and remains in top condition in spite of his advancing years.
Jon Walters: 5
Had one half-chance as he snapped at a shot from outside the area, but had little opportunity to influence the game as Duffy was sent off minutes after his introduction.
John O'Shea: 5
Sent on the shore up the defence following Duffy's dismissal, he did all that was asked for him with his team outnumbered, but will this be the last time we see him in the green of Ireland?
Wes Hoolahan: 5
Gave Ireland a valuable handle on possession after his introduction and ensured there was at least the possibility of an opening appearing, but it wasn't to be.