IRELAND'S DISPLAY AGAINST FRANCE on Monday night was an emotional rollercoaster that has left fans of the national team feeling proud on Tuesday morning.
Benjamin Pavard's second half strike gave the French their win, but Ireland's courageous display in the Aviva was one that left more fans curiously optimistic more then overtly pessimistic for the rest of the qualifying campaign
Ireland could have levelled it up with minutes to go but Mike Manigan's wonder save from Nathan Collins header ended any hope of a draw in Dublin.
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"I felt we rallied strongly again, and the players gave everything and pushed France all the way," said Kenny after the game and you'll find it hard to argue with the Ireland bosses' sentiments.
France as expected dominated possession at the Aviva in the early 20-minutes, but Ireland with a noisy crowd battled for everything. Jayson Molumby's early challenge to deny France down the flank was a perfect example of this.
Kylian Mbappe tried to outpace both Seamus Coleman and Chiedozie Ogbene soon after, but both Ireland players stopped the French superstar from advancing into the Irish box.
France huffed and puffed throughout the first half and struggled to break down Ireland's backline.
Ogbene, who was excellent in the first half amplified Ireland's hard work by winning a ball heading out of play. The forward won a corner off Adrien Rabiot and this went down very well with the home crowd.
Ireland's plan was working, and fans of the national team would have been delighted with the drive and dedication shown in Dublin.
The players went into the dressing room with their heads held high determined to keep France at bay.
Ireland came out in the second in the same fashion, gutsy, determined and full of energy against the French.
However, France took the lead after Benjamin Pavard smashed in the opener off the bar from 20 yards. It was Josh Cullen with a poor pass in the build-up for the goal.
Despite the goal Ireland refused to let their heads drop. Soon after the brilliant Ogbene managed to get forward and sent a ball across the French box. It reached Jason Knight outside it, but Ibrahim Konate blocked his tame effort.
France always had the opportunity to counterattack Ireland and it was Ireland's keeper Gavan Bazunu who was called into action around the 69-minute mark. France's Moussa Diaby forced the Ireland keeper into a full-length stop. The Southampton keeper then had to deny France once again when Adrien Rabiot was allowed to shoot from distance.
Ireland made three changes in 77 minutes. James McClean, Michael Johnston and Alan Browne came on for Ireland, with Matt Doherty, Jason Knight and Dara O'Shea making way.
Ireland continued to press, and Irish hearts were in mouths when McClean had an effort saved by Mike Maignan late on.
Alan Browne's effort went wide after this, but it was what came after that will be remembered for years to come.
Brown had an effort saved again and from the resulting corner Maignan reacted superbly to keep out Nathan Collin's header.
Collins and the home supporters were left bemused by the save and it felt like that the save was the defining moment in the clash.
Ireland couldn't find the coveted goal, but Ireland and Stephen Kenny can be proud of their performance on the night.
Kenny asked Ireland to take 'risks' before the game and the Boys in Green did exactly that against one of the best teams in the world.
All fans of the national team ever want is for the national team to abandon conservatism and take the shackles off.
If this display is anything to go by, Ireland may have found the formula despite the loss
Could it be a case of Ireland rising to the occasion or will Ireland fail to bring the same intensity and desire when they face Gibraltar and Greece in June.
For Irish fans sake let's hope it's the start of something positive.
Goal scorers: Benjamin Pavard 51 mins(Fra)
Yellow Cards: Randal Kolo Muani, (Fra) Matt Doherty Jason Molumby Adam Idah John Egan (Ire)
Referee: Artur Dias
Republic of Ireland: Gavin Bazunu; Nathan Collins, John Egan, Dara O'Shea; Seamus Coleman, Matt Doherty, Josh Cullen, Jayson Molumby, Jason Knight; Chiedozie Ogbene, Evan Ferguson
France: Mike Maignan; Benjamin Pavard, Dayot Upamecano, Ibrahima Konaté, Theo Hernández; Adrien Rabiot, Antoine Griezmann, Eduardo Camavinga, Randal Kolo Muani, Olivier Giroud, Kylian Mbappé (capt)
Subs: Idah, McClean, Johnston (6), Browne, Obafemi
Subs: Diaby, Kounde, Tchouameni, M Thuram
Player of the match: Chiedozie Ogbene.