Andrew Dempsey reports from the Aviva Stadium
Republic of Ireland boss Stephen Kenny has praised his players attitude after they put in a creditable performance on Sunday afternoon at home to Wales in the Nations League.
The Boys in Green – who were missing seven players due to Covid-19 protocols – will perhaps feel unfortunate to leave the Aviva Stadium without a win.
However, Kenny praised his side’s attitude in terms of rising to the challenge that was put in front of them.
“Losing so many of the players before the game as well was a lot to take in really for them (the players),” the Ireland boss said.
“They showed what they were made of by putting in a good performance against Wales who are rising high at the moment. Credit to the players for the way they responded.”
He added: “Without doubt it has been difficult for us (as a backroom team), but it pales into insignificance to the players.
“To get news that you have it yourself, and for a player to find that out and others to be told they’re close contacts.
“They feel perfectly healthy and they could have played today. It was nearly midnight when we found out and we had to change a lot of the stuff of the stuff today and it was an early match.
“We were leaving the hotel early enough, so it had to be all sorted out before breakfast. The players attitudes are brilliant.
“They love playing for Ireland and they showed their professionalism by performing to the level that they did.”
Despite the fall-out of the past few days within the senior set-up and squad – the former Dundalk boss insists that he was proud of his players.
“We’ve a lot of good people at the FAI who are very professional,” he said. “We lost seven players from the squad, James McCarthy and David McGoldrick as well along with the three before.
“There were wholesale changes and we lost three central defenders today alone.
Matt Doherty came in and did brilliantly there and the players showed there’s a bit of depth to what we’re doing at the moment.
“I’m not saying the balance of the team was perfect today, but we lost a lot of pace through players who were unavailable but everyone who played today acquitted themselves really well.
“I think we could have won the game. Considering all that went on before it I think it speaks volumes of the players really.”