Stephen Kenny's Nations League misery continued as Eduard Spertsyan blasted Armenia to a 1-0 victory in Yerevan, with the lack of attacking threat offered by Ireland a real concern.
The midfielder hammered a long-range 75th-minute effort past keeper Caoimhin Kelleher, making his competitive debut for Ireland, to hand the League B newcomers victory and revenge for their controversial Euro 2012 qualifier defeat in Dublin.
Stephen Kenny’s men, who have now not won in 11 attempts since the competition was introduced, could have few complaints on a night when their eight-game unbeaten run came to a disappointing end at a sweltering Republican Stadium.
Ireland enjoyed the upper hand for long periods, but failed to convert dominance into chances as they were beaten by a side ranked 92nd in the world, with Dunne offering up a withering assessment of their display.
“Armenia had a look at the Republic of Ireland in the first half and they thought there is nothing really here to threaten us,” he told Premier Sports.
“The Republic were too narrow, too slow and too predictable. it was a difficult game but try to keep this positive thing going. It is very easy to be negative about them.
“There wasn’t anything creative about the team, it was passing for passing sake and we tried to lob the ball into the box in the end. The players are not fools, they know what it takes to win football games and they are trying to stick to a plan. There is no real threat from the Republic.
“This is not a one-off performance, this is the standard. Anyone that has been half decent we struggle against.”
Former Ireland defender Gary Breen echoed Dunne’s withering assessment, as he suggested manager Kenny cannot deny his side deserved to be beaten.
“A sickening result,” declared Breen. “We have lost in Armenia and a really bad result.
“We were on the similar result in Macedonia under Mick McCarthy but this is a game we should not be losing.
“You cannot say they didn’t deserve it. Their captain was outstanding. It is so disappointing.”
Ireland’s Chiedozie Ogbene suggests the defeat in Armenia was a ‘learning curve’ for Kenny’s misfiring side.
“They had one big chance and they took it,” said the winger.
“Football has taught us a big lesson. It can be a cruel game. We had chances, but we were not clinical enough with the chances we got and we were punished.
“We have to learn from this and see where we went wrong. Maybe this is a learning curve for us.”