Martin O’Neill: ‘It’s disappointing for our supporters’

Repubic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill and Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill at the final whistle in Dublin. Pic by Pacemaker.
Repubic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill and Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill at the final whistle in Dublin. Pic by Pacemaker.

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill admitted his side let down their supporters with a poor performance in the goalless draw against Northern Ireland.

The Republic were second best in the high-profile friendly in Dublin and were grateful to man of the match Darren Randolph for ensuring they did not suffer defeat on home turf as he made saves to deny Gavin Whyte and Jordan Jones.

“We didn’t do enough going forward and through a lot of sloppiness ourselves we nearly gave a couple of goals away,” Martin O’Neill said. “Randolph made a couple of good saves but certainly in terms of going forward we should do better.

“I’m not too worried about them putting on a performance for me, I’m the manager and it’s my responsibility so any bad passes made they eventually are down to me, but overall it’s disappointing for our supporters.

“They’ve paid money and we should do better and be able to create more.”

The Republic’s problems in attack only grew on the night as Preston striker Sean Maguire - on as a 66th minute substitute - suffered an apparent hamstring injury and had to be replaced himself.

“It looks as though it’s his hamstring again,” O’Neill said. “That’s going to be really unfortunate. He’s been plagued with those recently.

“It’s a blow for the lad, it’s a blow to us and it’s a blow to his club if that’s the case.

“I don’t know how serious it is at the moment but he’s certainly feeling it.”

The night saw Glenn Whelan make his 85th and most likely last Republic appearance, captaining the side from the start before being replaced with 35 minutes gone.

“First of all, his performances for us have been very, very sound,” O’Neill said in summing up the Aston Villa man’s international career. “I have to say in the time we were together, he’s a good influence on the team, a good strong influence often in a quiet way.

“He’s a good influence on the players even outside the playing field so I’ve been very pleased with him.

“I was delighted to be able to give him his opportunity to say ‘Cheerio’ to the fans if that’s the case.”