BURNLEY midfielder Jeff Hendrick cut a crestfallen figure after the Republic of Ireland came up short in their bid for automatic qualification for Euro 2020.

Mick McCarthy’s men drew 1-1 with Denmark in Dublin meaning it is the Danes who progress along with Switzerland, leaving Ireland to battle their way through the play-offs in March.

Hendrick played the full 90 minutes of his 54th cap in the final Group D fixture with Clarets team-mates Robbie Brady and Kevin Long both unused substitutes at the Aviva Stadium.

Now attentions turn to March’s play-offs with McCarthy confident his side can get the job done.

The Republic turned in arguably their best performance of the campaign on Monday night, but ultimately could not get across the finishing line as Denmark held on in a grandstand finish in Dublin.

Ireland were building a head of steam when they were caught with a 73rd-minute sucker punch as Martin Braithwaite timed his run to perfection to stab Henrik Dalsgaard's cross past the helpless Darren Randolph.

McCarthy, who had sent on striker Callum Robinson for midfielder Conor Hourihane just minutes earlier, said: "We shouldn't have conceded it.

"It's always a kick in the nuts when you concede, even more so when you've made a positive substitution and you're trying to get something out of the game, trying to win the game."

However, Matt Doherty's first senior international goal with five minutes remaining set up a late onslaught during which the home side just could not find the deftness of touch to make the pressure count.

McCarthy added: "I am immensely proud of the players the way they performed tonight, and even more so when we went 1-0 down.

"But it was a poor goal to give away. Doc says it was his man, it was on him, but he has gone and scored the equaliser, so I will forgive him slightly.

"I was giving out to him about the goal and I forgot to congratulate him for the goal he scored, so I will go back in there and do that.

"I'm very disappointed, but very proud of the lads. They were great."