Progress with more to do for Ireland: Mick McCarthy’s post match press conference:

Mick McCarthy speaking in the post match press conference said he thought we played some really good football with Conor Hourihane especially and David McGoldrick (Didsy) doing well.

“I know Didsy well, I know what he can bring. He does a great job.”

“I’m delighted with Conor. His free-kicks and corners have been great. I’ve tried to sign but couldn’t.”

“There’s things I insist on from goal-kicks and free-kicks but I also let them play.”

Thoughts on the tennis balls? “It was balls wasn’t it to be fair. I was concerned it’d affect our concentration, that we could have been caught on the break from the free-kick.”

“The fans came to cheer on the team with some coming to protest the FAI but I’m glad that it didn’t affect anything.

“I hoped they wouldn’t throw the tennis balls on the pitch. Paddy Power had odds on me being hit by a tennis ball so when they were thrown on the pitch I was set to volunteer to head them back.”

Asked about Séamus Coleman and Matt Doherty, Mick said: “Séamus is different class. It didn’t work well with Doc against Gibraltar but there’s room for Matt in the team, though I might not play him and Séamus together. I might though.”

Asked was he pleased that the players didn’t back off after the goal, the 60 year-old replied:
“Yes, I was. It was heartening. I told them at half-time not to back off.”

When brought back to Mick’s last match in his first stint as Ireland manager (when he was booed off following 1-2 defeat versus Switzerland), Mick was asked about the different tonight. Did it feel like the good old days?
Mick replied with a smile: “Was it a different atmosphere (back in late 2002)?! It felt like the good new days. I don’t look back. I don’t look back to club jobs either.

“If we’d have nicked one from a free-kick and held on, it wouldn’t have gone down so well, but I’d have taken it.”

When reference was made to Switzerland and Denmark drawing 3-3, Mick said: “Denmark and Switzerland drawing was a good result but we can’t affect what they do.”

Overall, a much better performance and result for Ireland, top of the table with a form of protest conducted against the FAI. This observer isn’t really sure what throwing tennis balls onto the pitch will achieve but, overall tonight is progress with more to do.

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