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08th Jun 2019

James McClean hits back at Danes after pre-match comments

Patrick McCarry

A late Shane Duffy goal prevented another Irish defeat to Denmark

James McClean did not have his best outing for Ireland in Copenhagen on Friday but he still managed to play his part in a couple of good attacking moments and pop up for two of his side’s best scoring chances.

Ireland’s goal may have led a charmed existence in the second half but Mick McCarthy’s men still fashioned five decent opportunities themselves. Four of them fell to Shane Duffy and James McClean, with David McGoldrick’s flicked header the other.

The country’s Derry representatives put in whole-hearted performances with Duffy claiming man-of-the-match and McClean trying his damnedest for 90+ minutes in the 1-1 European Championship qualifiers draw.

McClean’s first shot on goal forced a corner but his heavy touch saw him shoot from a very narrow angle and had captain Seamus Coleman bellowing at him for not squaring the ball.

His second was a blast straight at Kasper Schmeichel that needed a touch more composure, but which arrived late in a game that had seen him run from pillar to post yet again.

“On another night,” he reflected, “they go in but, [all things] considered, it’s a good point.”

McClean paid tribute to the “outstanding” Duffy, who headed in the equaliser. In the latter of two interviews, the midfielder touched on some needling comments made in recent days, and months, by the Danes.

“Professionals criticising you and not in a nice way either,” he said of the pre-match comments from the Danes, which focused on Ireland’s relative lack of entertainment value on the pitch.

“We wanted to go out and prove a point. Fair enough they beat us 5-1 (in a November 2017 World Cup qualifier play-off). But we played them five times recently and drew four so they’re not much better than us themselves, are they?”

McClean rarely shies away with expressing an opinion he passionately holds.

Just another added element ahead of the two sides meeting up in Dublin for round six, later this year.