Ireland v Poland - How the players rated

SoccerBy Kevin Palmer
Long's late leveller saved Ireland
Long's late leveller saved Ireland

A spirited second half performance from the Republic of Ireland earned Martin O'Neill's men a point in a 1-1 draw with Poland - here are our heroes and villains from a memorable night at the Aviva Stadium.

Shay Given – Martin O’Neill made a bold and some will argue cruel move to drop the reliable David Forde and name the veteran Aston Villa keeper as his first choice for this crucial qualifier and the 38-year-old had little chance to keep out Slawomir Peszko’s fizzing first half goal. 7

Seamus Coleman – A real threat down the right flank as Ireland rallied in the second half, Coleman’s pace and energy send shivers through the Poles, but he missed a big chance to draw Ireland level as he blazed wide when Robbie Keane stepped aside to offer him a chance to fire at goal eight minutes from time. 7

John O’Shea – The talisman at the back for Ireland he was solid against a Polish side whose attacking ambition waned after they snatched a first half lead. He may have struggled for Sunderland of late, but O’Shea never lets Ireland down. 7

Marc Wilson – He played his part in the calamity that was the Poland goal, with his failure to clear up the mess started by Robbie Brady’s uncertainty proving so costly. It remains to be seen whether he is the best option for Ireland at the heart of their defence moving forward. 5

Robbie Brady – The Hull winger was asked to play in a full-back role that he is less than familiar with and you suspect O’Neill wanted him in his team to deliver quality balls into the box. On that score, he failed horribly with woeful corners and free-kicks and as he was to blame for the Polish goal, this was a horrible night for Brady. 4

Aiden McGeady – This enigma looked like he was auditioning to replace the retiring Michael Flatley in Lord of the Dance as he did his little jigs over the ball any time it came his way. A decent first half effort at goal, McGeady was a waste of space and it was no surprise when he became O’Neill’s first replacement. 4

James McCarthy – Lucky to stay on the pitch and he slapped a Polish rival as Ireland’s frustrations grew late on and this was another less than impressive international performance from McCarthy. When will this talented performer prove his worth in a green shirt? 6

Jon Walters – Named in an attack minded Irish side that failed to spark in the first half, Walters got himself involved in the improved second half showing that could have produced a famous victor. 7

Glenn Whelan – He anchored the Irish midfield impressively as the momentum switched in the second half. We all know he lacks quality in a creative sense, but he does a job in a team loaded with players who need a platform to shine. 7

Wes Hoolahan – Anonymous in the first half, Hoolahan showed flashes of inspiration after the break as he started to influence the game and use the ball as we know he can. He needs to get himself into a creative role where he can hurt the opposition more often. 7

Robbie Keane – Isolated in the first half, Keane came so close to scoring the Ireland leveller with his second half header that was diverted onto the post by Lukasz Fabianski. Long’s late leveller will lead to calls for Keane to be dropped to the bench again, but his presence is still useful to Ireland. 6

Substitutes –

James McClean – There is an argument that McClean was Ireland’s most influential player as his introduction in place of the inept McGeady after 68 highlighted the energy and passion that was lacking from the player who took his place in the starting line-up. Great crosses and pace down the flanks. He has to start next time. 8

Shane Long – This striker has been waiting to make his mark at international for a long time and his late equaliser was further evidence that he will eventually replace Keane as Ireland’s lead strike. Maybe Long deserves to start against Scotland in June. 7