Macdara Ferris reports from the Aviva Stadium
While Jason Molumby rightly felt proud pulling on the green jersey for the senior Republic of Ireland team for the very first time, ultimately there was disappointed for the Brighton & Hove Albian player as he suffered defeat on his international debut.
Speaking after the 1-0 loss to Finland in the UEFA Nations League game in the Aviva Stadium on Sunday, Molumby felt that the timing of the game – during the players’ pre-season – was the main factor for the loss for Stephen Kenny’s men, coupled with not converting the chances that came the teams way.
“It is disappointing when you make your debut (and lose),” said Molumby. “You want to win for yourself, your team and your country.
“It was a huge moment for me. I tried not to think about it. It will probably sink in in the next few days. It is something I’ve worked hard for all my life so I am very proud.
“I thought we controlled the game for the most part but we just didn’t take our chances. Maybe there was a period in the second half for about 20 minutes when they were on top. Fitness kicked in, maybe we were just lacking that in the end.”
Stephen Kenny made wholesale changes to his three man midfield bringing in Molumby, Harry Arter and Robbie Brady.
However, it was the introduction of fresh legs in the second half that helped the Finns earn the win, with Fredrik Jensen coming off the bench just after the hour mark to bundle home Robert Taylor’s cross.
“They took their chance and maybe they were that bit fitter,” said the 21-year-old midfielder. “It showed in the second half maybe they had that extra edge. A lot of us are behind on fitness.
"Probably not an excuse but it is pre-season for us and a lot of us haven’t played many games. That is my first 90 minutes in six weeks.
“It is going to take a bit of time for the younger lads making the step up and getting used to the pace and then the senior guys getting used to the gaffer and the way he wants to play. It is big changes all round. We need to be patient.”