Sheffield United stars David McGoldrick and Enda Stevens react to Republic of Ireland 'heartbreak' as dreams of automatic qualification for Euro 2020 are dashed

Republic of Ireland's defender Enda Stevens (R) vies with Denmark's striker Yussuf Poulsen (L) (Photo by Lorraine O'SULLIVAN / AFP)Republic of Ireland's defender Enda Stevens (R) vies with Denmark's striker Yussuf Poulsen (L) (Photo by Lorraine O'SULLIVAN / AFP)
Republic of Ireland's defender Enda Stevens (R) vies with Denmark's striker Yussuf Poulsen (L) (Photo by Lorraine O'SULLIVAN / AFP) | Getty Images
David McGoldrick, the Sheffield United striker, admitted he “needs to be better” after the Republic of Ireland’s hopes of automatic qualification for Euro 2020 were dashed on Monday evening at the Aviva.

Needing a victory to book their place at next year’s European Championships, Mick McCarthy’s men could only draw 1-1 with Denmark and so must go through the play-offs in March if they are to compete in the finals.

Matt Doherty cancelled out Martin Braithwate’s earlier opener with five minutes remaining, but Ireland couldn’t find a winner as the Danes qualified automatically instead.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

McGoldrick was named man of the match for his country once again, but that was scant consolation after he missed three chances he felt he should have done better with.

Mathias Jorgensen and Henrik Dalsgaard of Denmark battle for possession with David McGoldrick of Republic of Ireland (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)Mathias Jorgensen and Henrik Dalsgaard of Denmark battle for possession with David McGoldrick of Republic of Ireland (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
Mathias Jorgensen and Henrik Dalsgaard of Denmark battle for possession with David McGoldrick of Republic of Ireland (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images) | Getty Images

"I had three chances - a header, skied one and one hit my shoulder,” the United forward said. "I need to do better.

“The result is very difficult to take. We gave it our all. We probably deserved to win the game.

"We didn’t, and it’s heartbreaking. It would've been special but we need to think of March now. We left it all there. We said it beforehand, but we had a little lapse and they scored.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“If this is the only way to qualify, I’d back us here. We’re a tough team to play against and we’ve only been beaten once.

“We haven’t conceded many goals - but we haven’t been free scoring. The Danes don’t want to play us often. We need to take that desire and quality into March and it will be okay."

His teammate at club and country level, Enda Stevens, admitted McCarthy’s men “just fell short in the end”.

“We’re gutted,” said the full-back, who set up Doherty’s equaliser with a deep cross from the left.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"I thought we played well and really pushed, we created chances and it was just the final ball in the big moments that let us down.

“I think all the fans could see we were giving it our all, going right to the death. We’re disappointed to concede in the manner that we did. We reacted well we got ourselves back in the game it was just the final ball that let us down.

"We were pushing for it, we were looking for it, we were playing well and the opportunities were there and ball just never fell for us in the box. When it did, we never seized on it.

“It’s just one of them.”

Stevens and McGoldrick must now pick themselves up ahead of this weekend’s clash with Manchester United at Bramall Lane, while United’s coaching staff face an anxious wait to discover whether John Egan will be fit to join them in the side.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Egan was withdrawn at half-time against Denmark with an unspecified injury, although some reports suggest he was feeling his calf while he suffered a clash of heads in the first half. Fellow Blade Callum Robinson won his latest cap as a substitute.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.