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Gleeson and Tesche at heart of victory.

DEMARAI Gray's prodigious talent will once again dominate the headlines but this victory was one forged on the playing fields of Ireland and Germany.

Dubliner Stephen Gleeson, surprisingly selected ahead of David Davis, East German Robert Tesche and Italian Diego Fabbrini all excelled and while the latter's more spectacular talents caught the eye, they should not be allowed to obscure the contributions of the two men behind him.

Tesche and Gleeson stymied their opposite numbers, Kevin McDonald and Jack Price, and in doing so killed the visitors' attacking game at source.

McDonald arrived as the Championship's most prolific assist-maker in 2015 yet he was reduced to a bit part. Price was little more than a peevish irritant often bamboozled by Fabbrini's twisting and turning or Tesche's movement off the ball.

Between them Tesche and Gleeson had more than 150 touches, an unusual amount for counter-attacking Blues, but that was a measure of the control they exerted over the middle of the park.

Fabbrini deserved his standing ovation when he was withdrawn, as did Gray, but it was the Irish-German alliance behind them which made both possible.

briandick

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Stephen Gleeson

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Apr 12, 2015
Words:191
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