McCarthy saw chance after chance go begging as the Irish totally dominated the Group Eight qualifier, but he refused to point the finger at his players after a night of frustration.
"We ran Lithuania off the park and had a right go tonight and while the result is disappointing I'm satisfied with everything else," McCarthy said. "We played exceptionally well and created enough chances to have won three games, but I won't criticise individual players who miss chances."
Manchester United's Roy Keane and Reading's veteran player-coach, Ray Houghton, ran the game from midfield. But Houghton missed two great chances, including a one-on-one with Lithuania's heroic goalkeeper, Gintaras Stauce. Keane was also defied by the keeper before twice failing to connect with crosses in front of a gaping goal.
McCarthy employed the big striker Niall Quinn in his first international for more than a year and then replaced him with the equally towering Tony Cascarino on the hour - to no avail.
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: Given (Newcastle); Kenna (Blackburn), Staunton (Aston Villa), Keane (Manchester Utd), Cunningham (Wimbledon), Harte (Leeds), Townsend (Aston Villa), Houghton (Reading), Quinn (Sunderland), Connolly (Feyenoord), Kennedy (Liverpool). Substitutes: Cascarino (Nancy) for Quinn, 60; McLoughlin (Portsmouth) for Kennedy, 79; D Kelly (Tranmere) for Townsend, 86.
LITHUANIA: Stauce (unattached); Ziukas (VfL Leipzig), Kancelskis (Kareda Siauliai), Tereskinas (Zalgiris Vilnius), Vainoras (Sokol Saratov), Skerla (Zalgiris Vilnius), R Zutautas (Alania Vladikavkaz), Mikalajunas (Kareda Siauliai), Preiksaitis (Torpedo Moscow), Jankauskas (Torpedo Moscow), Narbekovas (Admira Wacker). Substitutes: Suliauskas (Zalgiris Vilnius) for Preiksaitis, h-t; Buitkus (Kaunas) for Jankauskas, 58; Suika (Silkeborg) for Buitkus, 84.
Referee: J Coroado Monteiro (Portugal).
n The Group Eight leaders Romania, who beat Macedonia 4-2, became the first European nation to qualify for next year's finals.Reuse content