near miss | 

Stephen Kenny ‘so disappointed’ as Ireland lose against France

Disappointment from Ireland camp as they push World Cup finalists all the way.

27 March 2023; Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny during the UEFA EURO 2024 Championship Qualifier match between Republic of Ireland and France at Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile© SPORTSFILE

Stephen Kenny cut a downcast figure at the end of a night where his Ireland team walked off the Aviva Stadium pitch disappointed not to have claimed a Euro 2024 qualifying point against recent World Cup finalists France.

"We are so disappointed to lose the game. We wanted to take something out of it and we didn't," reflected the Irish manager Kenny.

"The players gave it everything. The crowd were amazing. There's a real connection between the team and the crowd.”

Kenny added: "We were up against real quality. France pressed us very high, but we dealt with it well. They didn't create many chances.

"We were well in the game for long periods. Their goal was such a spectacular strike.

"I can't speak highly enough of our players. We are just so disappointed that we didn't take a point.

"But this is a campaign and we have six points to play for in June.

"The save from the Nathan Collins header was the save-of-the-season. I felt that Ogbene caused them problems on the right when he grew into the game.

"He gave us a good option. He's a handful for any defence. And overall I thought we performed so well on the night. We gave it everything."

Ireland captain Seamus Coleman also summed up his thoughts after a spirited performance from his team.

"We performed very well. We are disappointed," said the Everton full-back.

"There was such a great atmosphere. The crowd were magnificent.

"France were holding on at the end. But we get no points from that.

"We played really well. We have to take the positives from that. This display will put us in good stead going into the summer games.

"This is the marker that we have set. We have to carry on the momentum now. And that's what we have to do. It's not just about playing France under the lights.

"We showed good discipline. We worked so hard. We were knocking on the door.

"I thought the header from Nathan Collins was in. On another night, that one goes in.

"We kept them to limited chances. We are all disappointed in the dressing-room. But there is such a sense of togetherness in the group.

"We all love playing for the national team and it's something that I never take for granted. It's the best feeling in the world."

Chiedozie Ogbene was named a player of the match and he reflected on a positive night for Ireland.

"There were so many positives to take from the game," said Ogbene.

"We created enough chances. We could have got a draw out of it.

"We were unfortunate. We gave it everything. And that came from our application. The way that we prepared for the game.

"I feel we emerged with so much credit from the match. We gave it everything. I think we should be proud of ourselves.

"We put up such a great display against one of the best teams in the world. Maybe the best team in the world.

"I am happy with the display, but, of course, disappointed that we didn't get the result.

"We'll take so much from this game now and hopefully we can rectify it in the away match.

"The future's bright. Especially after a performance like that.

"We were unlucky with the header from Nathan Collins. In fairness, their 'keeper made some top saves. Especially when the pressure came on them late on.

"We worked so hard out there. We deserved to get something out of it. We knew we were up against such a quality side, but the display shows how much we have come on as a team."

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