It's a point gained - McCarthy defiant after Ireland's dour draw in Georgia

By Sports Desk October 12, 2019

Mick McCarthy insists the Republic of Ireland's dismal goalless Euro 2020 qualifying draw away to Georgia on Saturday "is a point gained".

Ireland went into the game in Tbilisi knowing a win would have put them in pole position to qualify from Group D ahead of Switzerland and Denmark, who they face in their final two games.

They put in an insipid display, though, and never looked like claiming maximum points from a game in which they registered just three shots on target.

McCarthy was far from disappointed by his side's display, however, and is content with a result that means they remain unbeaten in their qualifying campaign.

"It's a point gained," he told RTE Sport. "They're a very good side and I don't think we've been beaten by them over 10 or 11 games.

"Had you offered me four points from two games against Georgia prior to the competition, I'd have taken it.

"We've come away from home and secured a point that's a good point in my view.

"While we'd like to be better, and we're always trying to be better, I'm happy going away with a point.

"I would imagine most people in Ireland – me, for one – would have thought if we were unbeaten at this stage and had the points we've had, I think we'd have been pleased. I certainly am."

McCarthy introduced Brighton and Hove Albion teenager Aaron Connolly for James Collins with 11 minutes remaining, and the debutant twice came close to scoring late on.

Asked if he should have brought Connolly on earlier, McCarthy said: "Possibly. Possibly. But James Collins has a right old scrap against them two [Georgia centre-backs] and we were picking bits up off him in midfield. What we didn't do is make the most of them.

"Whether Aaron could have done what James did is a different matter. But he's given me some nice headaches because he played really well."

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