The wait continues for a goal, never mind a win.

The positives are that it is Bulgaria who are relegated and that goal scoring opportunities were at least created. James Collins had a couple of chances, Ronan Curtis spurned a glorious chance while Robbie Brady went closest to ending the drought when he hit the woodwork.

Still, manager Stephen Kenny just cannot buy a win and he will be concerned at how easily Bulgaria created chances of their own, though they too lacked the quality to take advantage. 

Here is how we rated the Boys in Green in the 0-0 draw.

Darren Randolph  6

On the night he celebrated his 50th cap - Randolph joins Packie Bonner and Shay Given as Irish goalkeepers to reach the half century mark - the West Ham shotstopper had few involvements. The visitors may have only had once shot on target, but it was one more than Ireland, notwithstanding Robbie Brady crashed an effort off the post.

Always alert to the danger, was quick off his line when Galin Ivanov raced through from the right.

Had a huge slice of fortune when he attempted to shuffle the ball beyond the Bozhidar Kraev instead of launching the ball downfield. Managed to recover the situation after an initial heavy touch, but could so easily have gone wrong.

Ryan Manning  6

The most eye-catching name in the team selection, Stephen Kenny handed the 24-year-old his Ireland debut at left-back.

In doing so, the Galway native became the third different player to fill the role in the last week such has been the disruption to the squad. The over-lapping Strahil Popov kept the Swansea player on his toes, but he acquitted himself well without ever becoming a threat in the other half.

Booked for an overzealous first-half challenge and limped off late on, with Cyrus Christie taking his place.

Kevin Long  6

Two games in a row alongside Shane Duffy at the heart of the Irish defence and appears comfortable with the responsibility. More comfortable in possession than his centre-half partner and always plays with his head up for a pass.

Shane Duffy  5.5

The captain nearly put his team in serious trouble when strode out of defence only to see his infield pass go straight to a white jersey. The Bulgarians failed to capitalise on the error, but it did nothing for a player clearly struggling for confidence. Duffy has played 22 games since the start of his season 77 days ago, not that he would ever claim fatigue as an excuse for his recent below-par performances.

The last Irish goalscorer in the reverse fixture in Sofia 76 days ago, he was as usual a target from set-pieces.

Dara O'Shea  7.5

From left-back against Wales to right-back tonight, O'Shea's versatility has allowed him an extended run in the green jersey, though his natural habitat is clearly more in the heart of the defence. Enjoyed a few forays up field and found James Collins with a some pinpoint crosses.

Ireland's most accomplished defender on the night, he showed the value of another centre-half in the penalty area when Bulgaria were on the attack. Another strong showing from the West Brom player.

Conor Hourihane  5

In a state of personnel flux for Stephen Kenny, the experienced 29-year-old has been a constant presence in the middle of the park. Rarely a standout performer, his duties are more understated. Tidier in possession than his last two games, he is a defensive cog with Ireland crying out for a creative spark.

Jason Knight  6.5

A little over a month after his international debut, the teenager was handed his first competitive start. Performing well in a struggling side is nothing new for the Dubliner - Knight has earned decent reviews in a Derby County side rooted to the foot of the Championship - but found the going tough in the engine room.

A blind pass in midfield put his team-mates under serious pressure in the first half, but exerted a greater influence after the break and showed what he is capable of when slipping Ronan Curtis in for a goalscoring opportunity.

Probably didn't expect Conor Hourihane's fizzed cross to reach him just a couple of yards out, a nick off the defender not helping his cause. At the heart of the home side's efforts to snatch a winner.

Robbie Brady  6

Restored to the starting line-up against Wales where he showed fleeting moments of what he can offer in an attacking sense, but failed to make any inroads against the Bulgarians. Dropped deep for possession to offer himself as a linkman, but turned over the ball cheaply on a number of occasions.

Cannoned a blistering shot off the crossbar, while his whipped delivery from set-pieces still appear to be Ireland's best way of finding a breakthrough. Went off clutching his hamstring, replaced by Jack Byrne.

Ronan Curtis  5.5

The second member of the midfield to make a first competitive start, the former Derry City player began on the right before switching across the left during the first half. Capitalised on a misplaced pass in the first quarter with his deflected cross nearly falling into the path of the onrushing James Collins.

Spurned a glorious chance to claim Ireland's first goal in more than 11 hours when played in by Knight, but couldn't keep his effort on target. Made way for Troy Parrott late on.

Daryl Horgan  5.5

Few press the opposition with the same tenacity as Horgan, though his threat in an offensive sense have not been as frequent as Irish fans would have hoped.

Played on the periphery until he switched flanks with Ronan Curtis and then created an excellent opening for James Collins. Horgan's craft to stand up the defender and pick out the striker with the cross deserved better than a close-range effort going over the bar.

Quiet after the interval before being replaced by Josh Cullen.

James Collins  5

Having gone 13 months without an appearance in green, it was a second cap in four days for the Luton striker. After a cameo off the bench in Wales, Stephen Kenny entrusted Collins with leading the line and spoke beforehand how his finishing in training all week had been of a high standard.

Unfortunately, he was unable to replicate that in an empty Aviva Stadium. In the opening 45 minutes, he was inches from connecting with a deflected cross, while he should have at least hit the target from a Daryl Horgan cross.

Collins did well to get across his marker to meet Dara O'Shea's cross in the second half, but his volley nestled into the side netting. Replaced by Seanie Maguire in the 85th minute.


Josh Cullen  6

Slotted into the middle of midfield and was quickly demanding the ball. Cleverly used his low centre of gravity to engineer free-kicks.

Jack Byrne  6

The Shamrock Rovers player had little time to put his stamp on what was a low-tempo game. Probed, but ultimately to no avail. 

Seanie Maguire 6.5

Came on with five minutes to go for James Collins. An industrious cameo and kept the Bulgarian defence honest. Almost connected with a Jack Byrne cross in the final minute.

Troy Parrott  6

An 85th minute replacement for Ronan Curtis. Looked like he was about to steal an injury-time winner, but had strayed fractionally offside.

Cyrus Christie  6

Manning's late injury allowed Christie come on for his 27th cap. Offered himself as an outlet on the right as Ireland pressed for a winner in the dying stages.