Martin O'Neill

5. Wes Hoolahan

 

Despite only starting two of the four games, Hoolahan was central to Ireland’s attacking play. His man-of-the-match display against Zlatan’s yellow army proves why excluding a player of his qualities from the national setup until recently made no sense whatsoever.

 

 

You’d be hard pressed to find a better cross in the tournament than the one the Norwich City midfielder delivered for Robbie Brady’s dramatic winner against Italy.

 

At 34 years old, the former Shelbourne man may call an end to his international career, which would be disappointing but understandable in order to prolong his club career.

 

The shrewd playmaker has been a key figure for the boys in green since the beginning of Martin O’Neill’s reign.

 

4. Seamus Coleman

 

The Donegal native now looks set to take over as Ireland captain on a permanent basis, with retirement for both Robbie Keane and John O’Shea the likely scenario.

 

At 27, Coleman’s consistent performances in his 37 Ireland caps to date surely stack up well against the likes of ‘Mr. Consistent’, Steve Finnan, and the man the sweet left peg, Denis Irwin.

 

 

The Everton man’s footballing intelligence helped Ireland muster a clean sheet against Antonio Conte’s Italian outfit, while his composure on the ball coupled with his technical process indicate his importance to the Irish side.

 

Coleman showed enormous leadership qualities in Lille, and his rousing speech to his team-mates is that night is testament to this.

 

3. Darren Randolph

 

Randolph proved solid and dependable throughout the tournament. The Bray native was one of only four Ireland players to play every single minute of competitive action in France, along with Robbie Brady, Jeff Hendrick and Seamus Coleman.

 

His composure between the sticks has been impressive and he even managed to pull off a Cruyff turn on Italy’s Simone Zaza.

 

 

At 29, he is still quite young in goalkeeping terms, and may well be Ireland’s man between the sticks for many years to come.

 

However, the West Ham number two could do with racking up more valuable Premier League game time under Slaven Bilic in the coming season, which will be no easy feat.

 

2. Jeff Hendrick

 

Jeff Hendrick’s display against Italy was terrific in both the Italy and Sweden games. While he struggled to make his mark against Belgium and France, his determination to carry on with a dead leg in the latter match epitomised his sheer dedication to the giving everything for his country’s cause.

 

 

Ireland have been crying out in recent years for a commanding central midfielder in the mould of the legendary Roy Keane and, although it would be unfair to make comparisons to the former Ireland stalwart, the Dubliner has certainly added much more power and tenacity to the middle of the park.

 

On the back of an impressive tournament, there has been speculation that Hendrick, 24, could be set for a move to the Premier League, with Everton, Crystal Palace and Bournemouth all being touted as potential suitors.

 

1. Robbie Brady

 

The Belgium fiasco aside, Brady was outstanding in every Euro 2016 match for his country. His early penalty against host nation France saw him become the first Irish player to score twice at a European championship.

 

 

Not to mention his exhilaratingly late headed goal past Gianluigi Buffon which symbolised the determination and vigour that Ireland showcased throughout the 90 minutes on one of the most memorable nights in Irish soccer.

 

Having just been relegated from top-flight football with Norwich, a swift return to the Premier League for the 24-year-old could be on the cards after an impressive display this summer.

 

With Ireland’s tenure at Euro 2016 now at an end, soccer enthusiasts up and down the country will no doubt be gearing up for a brand new season with their local clubs.

 

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