On another disappointing night for the Republic of Ireland, Stuart Byrne took issue with the decision-making of Stephen Kenny when it came to his substitutions.
As frustrated Ireland fans watched their team labour to a 0-0 draw with Bulgaria on Wednesday night, Stephen Kenny's reluctance to give Jack Byrne more game-time became a well-voiced bone of contention.
When the Shamrock Rovers midfielder did appear shortly before the 80th minute mark, a few promising moments perhaps demonstrated what he could have done if introduced earlier.
Alas, for the seventh game in succession Ireland went without scoring a goal and Kenny's wait for a win shall now continue into 2021.
"I would be critical of a couple of things that Stephen did tonight," Stuart Byrne remarked post-match, the former League of Ireland defender on commentary duty for OTB Sports alongside Nathan Murphy at the Aviva Stadium.
"I didn't think Daryl Horgan needed to come off [for Josh Cullen on the 67th minute]. I would have taken Ronan Curtis off instead of him.
"I thought Horgan still looked like he had something in the locker and he had certainly produced some quality moments during the game."
"I'm not going say here that it was all great because it wasn't" | 🇮🇪🇧🇬
After another difficult night for Stephen Kenny's Ireland, Stuart Byrne took issue with the manager's substitutions | #IRLBUL @paddypower pic.twitter.com/Fr0X30rxwq
— Off The Ball (@offtheball) November 18, 2020
Despite the frustration of another goalless outing for Ireland, it will not go unconsidered that Stephen Kenny has been bedeviled by absences for this recent run of games.
Be it through injury, Covid-19, suspension or personal reasons, some 14 of the 26 players he selected for games against England, Wales and Bulgaria were made unavailable to him at one point or another.
Yet, as the Republic of Ireland surpassed the 11-hour mark since they last scored a goal, Byrne wondered if Kenny could have been more proactive with other substitutions on the night.
"I felt when he introduced Sean Maguire and Troy Parrott that it was too late in the game," Byrne suggested. "It was the 85th minute and we had no real momentum with us at that time.
"I think if you're going to make those changes they need to be made around the 75-minute mark to give the players a chance to do something."
Keep an eye on OTBSports.com for more post-match reaction and tune in to OTB AM on Thursday morning from 7.30am