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How the Ireland players rated against Gibraltar

SoccerBy Kevin Palmer
Keane still scoring goals for Ireland
Keane still scoring goals for Ireland

The Republic of Ireland were expected to sweep the minnows of Gibraltar aside with ease in their Group D qualifier, but they took their time to get the goals they needed in a game played in Portugal.

Here is our ratings on a night when Ireland jumped up to third place in their qualifying group after Scotland's defeat in Georgia.

SHAY GIVEN - The veteran stopper may not have expected to have too much to do against the minnows of European football, but he was required to make a smart save as Liam Walker fired in a fizzing effort from long range after 35 minutes. 7 

CYRUS CHRISTIE - A fine competitive debut for the Derby defender who capped his promising display with a classy goal. This young man will offer fine back-up if first choice Seamus Coleman is unavailable in the right full berth. 8

JOHN O'SHEA - Defending was never going to be a priority against opponents intent on ensuring their embarrassment was not too acute. Ireland need to hope O'Shea re-establishes himself as a regular in the Sunderland side this season. 7

CIARAN CLARK - So close to the opening goal of the game as his header thumped off the Gilbraltar crossbar, Clark has all the qualities required to enjoy a long career at the heart of the Ireland defence. He will face much tougher tests in the remaining three Group D games if selected. 7

ROBBIE BRADY - Ireland need to improve their delivery from set-pieces and Brady is the creator who needs to carve open the chances with a regular supply of quality balls into the box. He offered up a few decent deliveries against Gibraltar, but more is needed from the gifted Norwich star. 6

JAMES McCARTHY - Another international passed this Everton midfielder by and we are still awaiting his Ireland breakthrough. The hype around McCarthy has yet to yield any kind of reward at national team level. 5

GLENN WHELAN - Ireland hardly needed two holding midfielders on a night when they were facing amateur opposition and Whelen did more than McCarthy to try and influence the game in the attacking third. 6

JEFF HENDRICK - The Derby midfielder was given license to influence the game in the attacking third and while he showed flashes of inspiration, he didn't do enough to suggest he is worthy of a start against Georgia on Monday. 6

WES HOOLAHAN - Oozing with energy in the heart of the midfield, Hoolahan deliver his familiar range of classy invention, but the sheer number of Gibraltar players in defensive positions made it hard for the Norwich star to pick out the decisive passes. 6

JON WALTERS - An impressive effort from this always reliable performer, Walters is a good foil for Robbie Keane with his presence in the air and his never-say-die attitude. An off-side goal denied him a first half goal. 7

ROBBIE KEANE - A simple tap-in and a penalty moments later allowed this goal scoring great to take his tally at international level to a remarkable 67. Robbie has been an easy target for critics down the years, but we will miss him when he retires. 7

SUBSTITUTES 

STEPHEN QUINN (replaced James McCarthy 70 mins) - This little terrier of a midfielder will do a reliable job for Ireland and he may be more effective than the disappointing performer he replaced. 6

SHANE LONG (replaced Robbie Keane 70 mins) - The Southampton striker must wonder when Robbie Keane's international story will have a final chapter as he continues to spend his international breaks as a super-sub. He took his late chance to score in some style. 7

AIDEN McGEADY (replaced Wes Hoolahan 77 mins) - The Everton winger needs some game time after a challenging start to the Premier League season and O'Neill now need to decide whether to risk him from the start against Georgia on Monday. 6