The Boys in Green showed plenty of endeavour in the Helsinki Olympic Stadium – Jeff Hendrick had a close-range effort blocked, Enda Stevens hit the crossbar and there were a couple of half-chances – but the end result was a defeat against a Finland side that grew into the contest.
As away performances go, it was was encouraging to see Ireland look to pick their passes and engineer space, but the records will simply show another defeat.
Here is how we rated the away team.
Darren Randolph 5
Got away with an an uncharacteristic spillage against Wales where the visitors denied a penalty, but the fortune ran out this evening in the lead up to Finland's goal. Randolph's short kick-out was picked off by Teemu Pukki and he found Ireland's nemesis Fredrik Jensen, who made it two goals in as many games against the Boys in Green.
Had little to do before that. A first-half Glen Kamara strike was bread and butter to the West Ham stopper, while Pukki spurned his opportunities to break the deadlock in the opening 45 minutes.
Enda Stevens 7
Once again, very hard to quibble with anything the 30-year-old did during the game and it was another assured performance from a player eager to get on the ball as often as possible.
Pyry Soiri got little change out of the Sheffield United full-back and his commitment to attack was very nearly rewarded in the shape of a goal. With a ball bouncing invitingly, his reactive, hooked shot came off the crossbar.
Shane Duffy 6
Often the main hope of an Irish goal, the closest he came to his his fifth goal in a green jersey came in the final 10 minutes, but his header, while on target, didn't seriously trouble Lukas Hradecky in the Finnish goal.
Had a couple of testing moments against Teemu Pukki in particular, though thankfully the Norwich City man didn't have his shooting boots on tonight.
Dara O'Shea 6.5
It was debutant Dara O'Shea who stepped into the space vacated by John Egan's absence and the West Brom man will be pleased with his own performance, regardless of the result.
The 21-year-old, who has played in all four of the Baggies Premier League outings this term, made a number of blocks, most notably on lmari Niskanen on the hour mark, with the ball whizzing past Randolph's near post. Couldn't have done any more to prevent Jensen's goal.
Matt Doherty 7
After his cameo at the heart of the defence last time out, it was back to the more familiar territory of the right flank for the Tottenham Hotspur full-back.
Had to be on his toes against the lively Robert Taylor, but was not afraid to shirk his duties on the overlap, linking up well with Daryl Horgan. A lovely back-heel to get out of trouble near the touchline caught the eye and he bombed forward time and time again after the break. Blasted a shot wide and went close with a header.
Conor Hourihane 5.5
In a week of constant changes in personnel, Kenny had the luxury of selecting an unchanged midfield. The visitors held a numerical advantage here against the Finnish pair of Tim Sparv and Glen Kamara.
Of the Irish trio, Hourihane was tasked with the most defensive responsibility and sat just in front of his centre-halves, though Sparv was perhaps the most influential figure in the engine room. A couple of nice set-piece deliveries posed questions and was more involved than his previous two outings.
Jeff Hendrick 6
Stationed higher up the pitch, the Newcastle man was happy to drop back and pick up the ball to spark an Irish move. A blocked shot in the penalty area after a clever Ireland attack was as close as Ireland came in the first half for an elusive goal.
Replaced by Adam Idah for the final quarter.
Jayson Molumby 6.5
Two fine showings in four days in a green jersey will do Molumby the power of good. His eye for space and threat going forward, evident at U-21 level, has so far translated pretty well, though it is early days in the international engine room. Molumby's vote of confidence by Kenny indicates clearly the path he wants this team to go down and will hopefully grow into the role further.
Another industrious performance, nipping in to break up Finnish moves, though his influence did wane as Finland got on top in the middle of the pitch. Replaced by debutant Jason Knight.
Daryl Horgan 6.5
The former Dundalk man made a good impression off the bench against Wales and was rewarded from the off in in the Finnish capital
The suspended James McClean would have been proud of Horgan's work ethic, leading the press and some efficient tracking back on the Finnish counter-attacks, and on a couple of occasions dropped into full-back position when Doherty had forayed upfield.
Showed his awareness in the first half to lay the ball onto the onrushing Jeff Hendrick when he could have pulled the trigger himself in the penalty area and kept the home defence on their toes. Dipped a little after the break and was replaced by Ronan Curtis on 75 minutes.
Aaron Connolly 7
What a week it has been for the Galway native, and after changed flight seats, close contact tracing, false positives, a flight back to the UK and then a return to Irish camp, just getting back on the pitch was a welcome relief.
This was just his 45th game of senior football between club and country and he was tasked with occupying the left-side of the Irish attack. He roamed throughout and shrugged off a heavy sliding challenge from Tim Sparv to unleash a couple of long-range efforts on goal.
On the counter-attack is where he thrives and had the Finnish defence scrambling in the 57th minute, but couldn't keep his shot on target. Just missed a finishing touch to an otherwise bright night.
Seanie Maguire 5.5
Started right down the middle and was alert to a quick free-kick early in the first half that released him down the left before he pulled the ball into Horgan in the penalty area with the Finnish defence retreating. Was left to rue a heavy first touch when he raced onto Connolly's crisp pass in the penalty area and as replaced in the 52nd minute by Robbie Brady.
Robbie Brady 6
Replaced Sean Maguire shortly after the interval and tried to make things happen.
Adam Idah 6
Got the final 15 minutes when he was introduced for Hendrick, but had little chance to impose himself on the game.
Ronan Curtis 6
Denied an equaliser in stoppage time when his header was was brilliantly saved by Lukas Hradecky
Jason Knight 6
A night to remember for the debutant when he came on in the 83rd minute, even if it was a result to forget.