Ireland’s advantage in the race for the 2018 World Cup was saved by a late Jonathan Walters equaliser against Austria.
Confidence was high among the Irish fan base going into this one, given the fact that Austria were missing some key players and in relatively poor form in the campaign so far.
However, a pedestrian start was punished on the half-hour mark when defender Martin Hinterigger steered home a corner after losing marker Stephen Ward.
The Boys in Green came back into the match in the second half, and the introduction of Daryl Murphy in the second half injected a bit more directness into the attack, and Jonathan Walters proved to be the hero yet again with a late finish to level it up.
That said, many still feel like Ireland dropped two points on Sunday – very few players were spared the ire from fans.
Stephen Ward and Jeff Hendrick, in particular, might want to stay off of social media this evening:
Stephen Ward having a total mare. Needs to be hooked in at half time
— Mike Aherne (@AherneMike95) June 11, 2017
It’s very hard to believe that we dont have a better left back in the country then Steven Ward ? ?? ⚽️
— Conor McCormack (@ConorMc22) June 11, 2017
Stephen Ward is the worst footballer of all time
— Conor Sutton (@ConorSutton8) June 11, 2017
Jeff Hendrick has to do more. I’ve praised him a lot in the past, but been poor of late. Game passing him by again.
— Craig Hope (@CraigHope_DM) June 11, 2017
Jeff Hendrick is square peg in round hole for Ireland. Neither here nor there
— carl james o reilly (@cjor1172) June 11, 2017
Glenn Whelan really has played very well. Reading of the game excellent, swept up most things. Jeff Hendrick, though, has been AWOL
— Cian Carroll (@CianByNature) June 11, 2017
Meanwhile, the introduction of Wes Hoolahan proved to be a popular one, but the decision to leave him out of the starting lineup still came in for criticism:
hoolahan comes on, 70 minutes too late, replacing arter
— Ken Early (@kenearlys) June 11, 2017
If only we had a player like Wes Hoolahan in the squad.
— Paddy Power (@paddypower) June 11, 2017
Irish Proverb: “Where Was Wes Hoolahan”
— ⭐ amy o’connor ⭐ (@amyohconnor) June 11, 2017
Ultimately though, Ireland remain unbeaten in the group and Austria still have it all to do to claw their way back into contention in the group:
If someone offered us 4 points against Austria at the start of the campaign we’d have bit their hand off. Onwards and upwards #COYBIG
— Matty Condon (@MattyCondon) June 11, 2017