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Ireland player ratings: Brosnan stands out in defeat

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The Republic of Ireland went down 2-0 to England at the Aviva Stadium on Tuesday night, making it two defeats from two in their Euro 2025 qualifying campaign.

England’s class showed from the off and despite a spirited second half showing from Ireland, two first-half goals for the visitors saw them home.

Here’s how the Ireland players performed.

Courtney Brosnan – 8

The goalkeeper was needed to deal with a Alessia Russo header inside five minutes and that set the tone for her night. Brosnan cannot be faulted for the goals, instead she prevented England from adding to their lead by making a succession of excellent saves throughout the game.

Louise Quinn – 6

The defender had to do the running from her position in between Caitlin Hayes and Aoife Mannion. She also had to keep an eye on everything, especially Russo. She passed every test, and was unlucky to concede a penalty midway through the first half.

Caitlin Hayes – 7

While Louise Quinn commanded those around her and marshalled the Irish back-five, Hayes was tasked with the dirty work. The defender was careful while tackling and alert to any attempt by England to put together a quick passage of play on the right wing.

Anna Patten – 4

The Aston Villa defender is still getting used to life with the Republic of Ireland. That said, Patten lost her marker for the opening goal and this led to Lauren James scoring. It’s clear that the defender needs to develop a relationship with those around her in defence, something that supporters did not have to worry about when Niamh Fahey was positioned beside Louise Quinn.

Aoife Mannion – 4

Another player who lost her marker. This time it allowed a Lauren Hemp cross to go into the path of Russo. Instead of a shot on goal, the referee judged that the ball hit the hand of Louise Quinn and a second penalty was awarded to England. Thankfully, from an Irish point of view, Alex Greenwood hit the post.

Katie McCabe – 5

The Ireland captain gave it her all, and that ultimately played into England’s hands. McCabe getting forward created space which was targeted by Lauren James and Jess Park, but the full-back retreated each time to stop anything from going on the right wing. Then she was caught ball-watching, and this allowed Lucy Bronze to get in and set up the opening goal.

Captain Katie McCabe has had better nights for Ireland

Ruesha Littlejohn – 4

The midfielder’s night cannot be summed up by a handball that led to the second goal. She struggled to impose herself in midfield, especially when O’Sullivan went forward. Simply put, Littlejohn was just one part of a disjointed engine in the middle of the park.

Denise O’Sullivan – 7

The Ireland centurion had to sit back when Ireland played in their defensive 5-4-1 and she played in her natural position after the transition to 4-3-2-1 in attack. The problem was, Carusa was often double-marked so any pass by the midfielder was redundant and she got no room to shoot from distance. Despite this, O’Sullivan personified energy and technique, but was let down by the system.

Heather Payne – 5

The midfielder ran and tried to bring some spark, but nothing materialised. Payne faded as the game went on, and this led up to her substitution at the start of the second half.

Lucy Quinn – 4

The midfielder was stranded in a team selection that positioned her between attack and defence. She was supposed to be the link between O’Sullivan and Littlejohn, instead she looked stranded, and this allowed England to dominate possession in the middle of the park.

Kyra Carusa – 5

What can be said about a striker who receives no support? Caursa did everything right, she ran and collected passes but there was no one there to give it to. The forward can’t be faulted, when she tried her best without any coherent support structure around her.

Megan Campbell’s long throws once again provided a threat

Substitutions:

Megan Connolly – 6

The Bristol City captain was brought on in the second half and her presence was immediately felt. Ireland looked a lot more secure by playing someone who can operate as a centre back or a holding midfielder.

Leanne Kiernan – 7

The Liverpool striker never once stopped running and pressing in the final third. Kiernan was the catalyst that Ireland’s forward line needed in the first half.

Megan Campbell – 6

Another second half substitute. Megan Campbell did what she always did in a green jersey, and that was causing chaos in the box with her long throws. That was one part of her skill-set she used during her time on the pitch against England.

Emily Murphy – 5

A fairly quiet cameo by the 21-year-old. She still managed to operate seamlessly inside Eileen Gleeson’s team in the second half.

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