Football/Soccer

How the Republic of Ireland players rated against Bulgaria

Bulgaria's Kristiyan Malinov (left) and Republic of Ireland's Josh Cullen battle for the ball during the International Friendly at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PA Photo.
Andy Watters

Mark Travers: Debutant Travers had one early save to make, from Pashov's header. No chance with the second half penalty. 7

Cyrus Christie: Caught in possession in the second half when he dawdled on the ball and was robbed in the build-up to the Bulgaria penalty. Otherwise he was solid defensively got forward up the left but his final ball was often disappointing. 6

John Egan: Skipper for the night, the Sheffield United centre-back looked comfortable on the ball and was commanding in the air. Clumsy tackle on Kraev conceded a penalty. Almost made up for it late on. 6.5

Kevin Long: Burnley defender Long slotted into central defence alongside Egan. Timely block as Mladenov pushed forward in the first half and scored Ireland's second goal with a thumping header. 7.5

Conor Hourihane: The only survivor in the starting line-up from the team that drew 1-1 with the Swiss. He operated as an attacking left back and combined well with Curtis at times. Responsible for set-pieces. 7

Alan Browne: Combative and physical, the Preston midfielder Browne knitted the play well and got forward to score Ireland's opener in the second half. Full of energy, he cleared the danger when Bulgaria pressed forward in the first half. 7.5

Alan Judge: One of the outstanding performers on the night, the Ipswich Town player never gave the ball away and combined well with Cullen and Browne. He was able to get his head up and use his range of passing to keep Ireland pushing forward. 8

Josh Cullen: Impressive debut from the Charlton Athletic midfielder. Cullen covered a lot of ground last night, always looking for the ball. Headed over from a Christie cross, involved in build-up for Ireland's opener. His darting runs between midfield and the Bulgaria back four were a feature of the game. 8

Callum O'Dowda: Bristol City's O'Dowda started briefly on the left wing before switching to the right. Caused left-back Mladenov problems every time he got on the ball. 7

Ronan Curtis: A good shift from the former Derry City star. Smashed a shot wide midway through the first half and came closer just before half-time. On target in the second half and his effort paved the way for Judge's goal. Also a valuable presence in his own box, clearing the danger from Bulgaria set-pieces. 7.5

Scott Hogan: Stoke City's striker Hogan headed over in the first half and was inches away from getting on the end of a Curtis cross late in the first half. Played the assist for Judge opener. 7

Substitutes

James Collins: The Luton Town striker has a good first touch and capped an impressive debut with a fine finish last night. 7

Jack Byrne: Slotted into the midfield in place of Judge and sent a shot fizzing wide. Sliderule pass to Stevens in build-up to third goal, 7.5

James McClean: Replaced Hourihane at left-back for the final 20 minutes. His energy drove Ireland to their win. 6.5

Kieran O'Hara: On for his first senior cap with 15 minutes to go. The Manchester United netminder (on loan at Burton) had very little to do. 6

Enda Stevens: Played assists for Collins goal after replacing Hourihane. 6

Jeff Hendrick: Not on long enough to be rated.

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