Date Time League Season
30 March 2021 7:45 pm Men's Senior 2021

Match Report

Kenny Sends Signal of Intent

Ireland finished off this international series of matches with a draw that drew some comfort from the games that preceded it as Stephen Kenny got a response from his players following the disappointing defeat to Luxembourg last Saturday.

“It hasn't erased it as such, we need to change we knew that something needed to change” admitted Dara O’Shea

“We definitely wanted to get behind the manager we were prepared right for the game and it was just down to us”

In a first half that showed promise, drive and very much something that Ireland would have been expecting from his players. It’s a positive outlay as to what exactly Stephen Kenny brings to the table. The second half in contrast was slow and static in periods but that is typical of a friendly. However, there are serious signs of promise and the early omission of Robbie Brady probably had a few pages of the playbook torn out immediately as a result.

“We've bring up one dimension nation for as far as for long as I remember” commented goalscorer James McClean.

“The managers got his own ideas and they look pretty and I am sure the manager will agree.  So far you know the results haven't been what we have been hoping for. Hopefully, you know after Luxembourg that's a turning point cause here you can show we're really, really trying.”

Ireland started very brightly as a fantastic pass from Hendrick to Shane Long who crossed it into the area with Hendrick striking it from the edge of the box but it was blocked down. Ireland continued to press with an excellent one-touch pass from Daryl Horgan saw Robbie Brady hit an excellent volley that was deflected for a corner. That corner led to the goal.

“That is something that we worked on yesterday. It shows that we can take things from the training. At the end of the day, we are all the players and that's our job we should be prepared” commented O’Shea on the goal

A very well-worked routine saw Daryl Horgan with a clever one-two with Robbie Brady and the Horgan with an excellently weighted pass to McClean who didn’t need a second invitation to smash the ball to put Ireland in front.

Ireland didn’t have much time to breathe as in the next phase of attack for Qatar the referee pointed to the spot after Bazunu looked as if he had taken Pedro down for a penalty, however, the foul was outside the box, the referee had pointed to the spot but changed his decision to a free-kick.

It looked as if Ireland rode their luck and then tried to create some of their own as an excellent forward pass was collected by Shane Long and his effort had to be deflected followed up by an immediate save by the goalkeeper to put it around the post for a corner.

Shane Duffy was called into action twice in quick succession as he cleared the ball and went back to give Bazunu a high five after the young keeper was alert to an attack that saw him clear the ball on the edge of the area. A short pass back from Daryl Horgan set Qatar away however Shane Duffy did excellently block away from the danger.

Qatar was level within eighty seconds of the restart as Muntari scored as the ball broke in the middle of the park and the striker switched onto his right foot and scored with a well-finished effort.

“So early on the second half it was tough for us and it's not OK we need to be resolute and especially at the start of the second half” comment O’Shea.

In contrast, the second half wasn’t as frantic and high paced as the first but Ireland with changes in tow began to look for that all allusive winner that Kenny has been craving. Hatim tried his luck from some way out but it went wide and Mohammad Muntari had another chance to win it but his effort went well over the bar. But it was Ireland in the dying embers of the game that nearly snatched the late win in Hungary.

Callum Robinson had a great chance as he collected the ball at the back post and if given a second more he would have snatched the winner, however, his effort under pressure went well wide. Josh Cullen looked odds on to become the hero as he headed a brilliant effort at the back post but it was saved excellently by Sheeb.

It was honours in what was a morale-boosting performance for Ireland. It was full of pace, direction and intent in the early stages of the contest. This you feel could be a turning point.

“I thought it was a decent game tonight Qatar played good football they were quick on the counterattack, we probably had again had much better chances.” Reflected Stephen Kenny.

“I think a lot of players that did really well and at the same time, I think seven players played there today that come right from the under 21 teams over the last couple of years. It gives us gives us strength and depth and it gives us players with potential who can improve squads. The experienced players add to the team and they did really brilliantly. That was a good display and we deserved to win.”

“I'm happy with the evolution of the squad and the way it's gone overall.” Stated Kenny in what began an impassioned speech in a bullish form that sent a signal out to those who have called for his time at the helm of Irish football to come to an abrupt end.

When he spoke about the disappointment of Luxembourg.
“There's nothing we can do about that now we can just look forward.” Stated Kenny

“I think you know I'm only here only six months before this match and you know tp implement a completely new style completely new. There is a brilliant culture in this team going forward. We just let ourselves down by not being winning we know that we're kicking ourselves. We had been very good against Serbia you know we probably deserved a point.”

“You know I won a league for four years and I am used to winning before this.”

“I was given the job because of my record. I'm happy with the way the players are progressing now at the moment and I have seen people have come out of the woodwork and want to kick us while we're down. That's part of it you have to accept it. I think we're going to formulate a very good squad for the next couple of years and I'm certainly going to be the manager for that I've got to make sure we're even better and that's the way I genuinely feel.”

Looks like Kenny has sent a clear message out to his detractors.

Qatar: Saad Sheeb, Pedro, Basam Al Rawi, Boualem Khoukhi, Kareq Salam, Adbuulkarim Hassan, Hassan Al Haydos (Salem Al Hajri 90), Karim, Boudiaf, Abdulaziz Hatim (Abdullah Al Ahrak 81), Mohammad Muntari (Youssef Adurisag 90), Almoez, Ali.

Substitutes: Mahoud Abunada, Salah Zakaria, Ahmed Suhail, Musaab Kheder, Assim Madebo, Ahmed Fathy, Homam Ahmed, Mohamed Waad, Ahmed Alaaeldin.

Ireland: Gavin Bazunu (GK), Shane Duffy, Séamus Coleman ©, Dara O'Shea, Jeff Hendrick (Alan Browne 83), Cyrus Christie, Robbie Brady (Troy Parrott 21), Daryl Horgan (Jason Knight 57), James McClean (Ryan Manning 83), Jayson Molumby (Joshua Cullen 83), Shane Long (Callum Robinson 57).

Substitutes: Ronan Curtis, James Collins, Ciaran Clark, Darragh Lenihan, Kieran O'Hara, Mark Travers.

  • 90'

    Full Time and Honours even but you have to say that was a morale-boosting performance for Ireland. Pace, direction and intent in the early stages of the game. This could be a turning point.

  • 90'

    Josh Cullen heads a brilliant effort at the back post by what a save from Sheeb!

  • 87'

    Knight gets a yellow card

  • 86'

    What a chance for Robinson, he collects the ball at the back post but it goes just wide!

  • 84'

    Jason Knight comes off for the last sub of the game

  • 84'

    Jeff Hendrick comes off at the end of the game.

  • 84'

    Off comes James McClean

  • 84'

    Ryan Manning comes on for his second cap.

  • 84'

    Josh Cullen comes into the match

  • 84'

    Alan Browne enters the game

  • 84'

    Keith Andrews gets a yellow card from the bench

  • 80'

    The last ten minutes now, throw the dice or hold firm is the thoughts of Stephen Kenny.

  • 73'

    Hatim tries his luck from some way out but it goes well wide.

  • 73'

    While this game is competitive its got a bit quiet and is losing the pace and bite that was there. Kenny needs to really lift his players and it looked as if they had got a bit of a second wind.

  • 68'

    A corner for Qatar goes well wide at the front post, in reality it was a poor effort that didn't trouble Bazunu.

  • 64'

    Callum Robinson from the initial corner got into space after Jeff Henrick laid a ball out to him, he hit a low curling effort that was saved well.

  • 60'

    Muntari is on the break again but his effort goes wide. Ireland have gone into their shell a little bit here.

  • 60'

    Gavin Bazunu does excellently to save well from the advancing Alhaydos.

  • 57'

    A player liked by many here is Jason Knight.

  • 57'

    Horgan had an impressive game.

  • 56'

    Robinson is coming on for Shane Long.

  • 56'

    Robinson is coming on for Shane Long.

  • 55'

    Horgan's corner is sent to the back post but Shane Duffy could not get a connection on it. It's a free-kick as a Qatari player went down in the area.

  • 50'

    Excellent link-up play from Seamus Coleman to Jason Moulmby to set Christie up but he didn't quite catch his effort and the keeper saves with ease.

  • 46'

    And Muntari has scored and we are level, the ball broke in the middle of the park and the striker switched onto his right foot and scores with a well-finished effort.

  • 46'

    And we are back underway!

  • 45'

    Half Time: This has been a good half for Ireland. A positive start, smashing goal from Jame McClean and overall good output from the home side.

  • 45'

    Two added minutes.

  • 44'

    A short pass back from Daryl Horgan sets Qatar away however Shane Duffy does excellently to block the danger.

  • 44'

    Posession Stats: Qatar 57% to 43% Ireland.

  • 41'

    Shane Duffy clears the ball and goes back to give Bazunu a high five after he was alert to an attack and cleared the ball on the edge of the area.

  • 40'

    This has been very positive, Ireland composed and playing with a good pace and attacking poise. This is giving us an insight as to how Ireland will really play under Kenny, some of the attacks have been straight out of the Kenny 'greatest hits' playbook. The best thing is there are key players to come back into this side, it can and will get better.

  • 33'

    And in other news. Luxembourg has taken the lead against Portugal. We will just leave that there.

  • 31'

    Hassan Alhaydos has a shot from distance that went wide, was in a similar position to that of the goal Ireland conceded on Saturday but Bazunu had it covered.

  • 29'

    'GET UP GAV" A Pedro cross is deflected high in the area and under pressure, Bazunu rises highest to collect the ball.

  • 26'

    Long nearly made it 2-0 here after some pressure from Cyrus Christie sees a short pass back nearly saw the striker latch onto it but Sheeb was alert to the danger.

  • 24'

    Almoez Ali was bearing down on goal but James McClean does excellently to tackle and put the ball out for a corner.

  • 21'

    And here comes Troy Parrott, Stephen Kenny is a big admirer of his and let's see if he can make an impact.

  • 20'

    This is so unfortunate, Robbie Brady has had such a positive start for Ireland is having to come off with injury.

  • 18'

    Big chance for Qatar as Almoez Ali heads just wide at the near post following an excellent curling cross from Pedro. A big danger sign from Qatar.

  • 13'

    An excellent forward pass was collected by Shane Long and his effort had to be deflected by a save by the goalkeeper for a corner. The corner however is cleared at the second attempt.

  • 7'

    What a save by Bazunu! Ali was offside but he had to make sure by tipping the ball around the post.

  • 6'

    Bazunu is booked for the foul on Pedro.

  • 5'

    No end to the action here! The referee points to the spot after Bazunu looked as if he had taken Pedro down for a penalty, however, FinalWhistle HQ can confirm it was outside the box, the referee had pointed to the spot but it's a free-kick now!

  • 4'

    Fantastic Ireland are ahead!! A well-worked routine sees Daryl Horgan with a one-two with Robbie Brady and the Galway man passed it to McClean who smashes the ball to put Ireland in front!

  • 3'

    An excellent one-touch pass from Daryl Horgan sees Robbie Brady hits it excellently on the volley and it's deflected for a corner.

  • 2'

    A fantastic pass from Hendrick to Shane Long who crossed it into the area, Hendrick struck it from the edge of the box but it is blocked down.

  • 1'

    And we are underway! Ireland kick us off and the game is underway.

  • Qatar makes five changes for tonights match from their last outing, which was a 2-1 win over Azerbaijan

  • Qatar is like a club side, their manager was brought in and are focused on the World Cup. They live together and have massive support behind them in relation to home support. They want to go into this World Cup fully prepared and not be embarrassed at home. The preparations have shown that this side is no push overs. This is not Oman in any shape or form.

  • This is the perfect game for Shane Duffy, he hasn't played since the 14th of February and will be looking to make a comeback impact tonight.

  • Kevin Doyle speaking on RTE: How ofter have Ireland have a world-class 10? He is explaining that we can't focus on what we don't have and focus on what we do.

  • His record as a manager is as follows: Managed: 53 Won: 29 Drawn: 8 Loss: 16 with a 54.7% average win rate.

  • Qatar are coached by Félix Sánchez Bas. A former FC Barcelona youth coach, Sánchez moved to Qatar in 2006. In 2013 he was appointed manager of the Qatar under-19 side, winning the following year's AFC U-19 Championship.

  • Stephen Kenny on losing to Luxembourg: "(On Luxembourg) We had the lion’s share but admittedly we shouldn’t be losing it. It’s a home game against Luxembourg and we are expected to win. We didn’t deserve to lose but we must do better."

  • The referee tonight is from Hungary. Balázs Berke will take charge of proceedings. Berke has a slight League of Ireland connection as he officiated Linfield's 2-0 win (wait for it) over San Marino side Tre Fiori last year in the Champions League. The scorer of the first goal that night? Current Bohemians midfielder Bastien Hery.

  • Stephen Kenny has rung in the changes for tonight's game. Only three survive from the loss to Luxembourg on Saturday as Bazunu, Coleman and O'Shea retain their places. Shane Duffy, Shane Long, Cyrus Christie, James McClean and as predicted on this website Daryl Horgan are in the starting lineup. Kick-off is at 7:45 pm and we will have the action as it happens.

  • Good evening everyone and you are welcome to tonight's coverage of Ireland vs Qatar which is being played in Hungary.


16Gavin Bazunu Goalkeeper 7'
2Seamus Coleman Defender
4Shane Duffy Defender
7Daryl Horgan 6 Midfielder
10Robbie Brady 19 Midfielder
11James McClean 3 Midfielder 4'
13Jeff Hendrick 8 Midfielder
15Jayson Molumby 17 Midfielder
18Shane Long 12 Forward
20Dara O’Shea Defender
22Cyrus Christie Defender
1Mark Travers Goalkeeper
23Kieran O’Hara Goalkeeper
3Ryan Manning 11 Defender
5Ciaran Clark Defender
6Jason Knight 7 Midfielder 89'
8Alan Browne 13 Midfielder
9James Collins Forward
12Callum Robinson 18 Forward
14Ronan Curtis Midfielder
17Josh Cullen 15 Midfielder
19Troy Parrott 10 Forward
21Darragh Lenihan Defender


Nagyerdei Stadion
Nagyerdei Stadion, Debrecen, Hungary

Ciaran Callan is a part-time sports journalist based in Dundalk, Co. Louth. He has more than 10 year’s experience working with media companies including both extensive radio broadcasting experience along with print and digital media reporting for the SSE Airtricity League as well digital media work with the national sports company eirSport. He joined FinalWhistle in February 2021 as is their main correspondent for Dundalk Football Club.