Rep of Ireland v Czech Rep

Rep of Ireland v Czech Rep

IT Wed, Feb 29

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  • 19:05
    Here we are, back in d’Aviva. Time to see what awaits us in Poland in three months time. For those of you hoping it won’t be more of the same, don’t hold your breath, and wise up too, it’s got us this far hasn’t it?

    Did you not hear Trap yesterday? We were wandering around the pitch like drunken zombies before he took over and those who have hauled us out of that stupor into a first major tournament in 10 years deserve some “respect”.
  • 19:06
  • 19:06
    Carl O'Malley here, by the way. Like you care.
  • 19:10
    To be fair to the Italian, he has a point, and he did suggest yesterday a more withdrawn and pivotal role for his captain Robbie Keane will be experimented with tonight. The skipper plays of Shane Long and will be looking to exert the sort of influence he did in his brief sojourn with Aston Villa over the last six weeks.

    The teams in full, then.

    Rep of Ireland (4-4-1-1): Given; O’Shea, St Ledger, O’Dea, Ward; Duff, Whelan, Andrews, McGeady; Keane; Long.

    Czech Rep (4-2-3-1): Cech; Gebreselassie, Sivok, Kadlec, Limbersky; Plasil, Jiracek; Petrzela, Strajner, Rezek; Baros
    Proof, then, for those Keane-haters, that there are a lot more frustrating players in world football. Welcome back Milan Baros.

    That formation was given to me by a highly respected Czech journalist, so blame him if it's not right. We'll confirm its accuracy after kick-off. Probably.
  • 19:25
    In situ, in a decidedly empty Lansdowne Road. Still 20 minutes to go, I suppose, but they're hardly storming the gates outside.
  • 19:26
    The stand, affectionately known to Robbie Keane as the 'Shamrock Rovers End', isn't even nearly full. Ah sure, tis a lovely evening, though.
  • 19:29
    The stadium announcer has just informed the crowd they can follow the game via the FAI's twitter feed. Crikey, they don't even expect the people here to watch the game.

    He's just said it again!
  • 19:32
    Incidentally, here's how Shane Duffy spent yesterday evening, bizarrely opting for Buttercup as his song of choice to formally introduce himself to his Ireland teammates. 
  • 19:36
    The Aviva Stadium is a 'smoke free-zone', in addition to being an atmosphere-free zone and fan-free zone.
  • 19:38

    For all you Anglophiles out there.

    Holland team: Stekelenburg, Boulahrouz, Heitinga, Mathijsen, Pieters, Robben, Van Bommel, N De Jong, Sneijder, Kuyt, Van Persie. Subs: Vlaar, Emanuelson, Strootman, Schaars, Krul, Huntelaar, Wijnaldum, L De Jong, Bruma, John, Narsingh.

    England team: Hart, Richards, Cahill, Smalling, Baines, Gerrard, Barry, Parker, Young, Welbeck, Johnson. Subs: Green, Cole, Jones, Lescott, Milner, Walcott, Downing, Campbell, Sturridge, Carson. 

  • 19:40
    The teams are out and Michael D is on the way to the red...wait orange carp... wait, plastic tarp. Things are tight.
  • 19:46
    No doubt somebody will fudge the numbers later, but the attendance is really poor. The FAI did their bit, too, at 20 quid an adult ticket and a tenner for a chizzler. Nevermind, back to the football.

    Ireland are sporting a new away jersey; brilliant white with a fetching green vertical stripe on the left handside.
  • 19:46
    A nice moment's applause there for the late Eamonn Deacy.
  • 19:47
    1 min: And we're off.
  • 19:48
    Duff's low cross is cleared but O'Shea sends it to the far side where McGeady beats his man easy and stands it up the backpost for Long. His header is comfortably gathtered by Cech. Good start from the homeside.
  • 19:49
    2 min: Corner Czech Republic, though, after Petrzela's shot is blocked. O'Shea heads it clear.
  • 19:49
    George Looking forward Euro 2012!,come on england!,Hard luck Ireland wooden spoon with that group!
  • 19:51

    3 min:  Another corner for the visitors after a neat one-two between Baros and Stajner sees the latter cannon one off Given's knees from a tight angle. Again an Irish head,Long's, clears.

  • 19:53
    Long called offside after being put down the line by Keane. Looked to have kept himself on.
  • 19:53
    Given's kick out charged down by Rezek but the Donegalman gathers the rebound ahead of Stajner. Recovered well there.
  • 19:54
    7 minutes gone.
  • 19:55
    It looks to be settling into a familiar routine here, with the opposition commanding possession and Ireland happy to sit back and look for opportunities on the break.
  • 19:56
    Jaroslav Plasil is down with after being caught napping by Shane Long in an aerial challenge. Keane breaks down the right but his low cross just evades McGeady on the edge of the box.

    Strong tackle by Whelan in midfield earns the approval of the crowd.
  • 19:59

    Ireland denied a corner, it seems, after Duff's excellent cross is deflected away from Keane by a Czech head. Nice running from Long to set that up.

  • 20:00
    12 minutes gone now a bit more and Ireland are piecing things together in attack.
  • 20:02
    14 min:  The Czechs are pretty sloppy in possession themselves, at times.

    A fantastic first touch from Robbie Keane to take down and long ball over the top but his shot was blocked by the legs of Cech. Brilliant skill by the Ireland captain.
  • 20:04
    O'Shea sold a little drop of the shoulder by Baros and pulls the striker down. In a moment of madness known only too well to Liverpool fans, the forward then just kicks the free to an Irishman.
  • 20:05
    18 min:  Keane, in contrast, is showing some lovely touches; lifting the ball over the heads of defenders and generally taking the piss.
  • 20:06
    Duff does well to stay on his feet twice after some enthusiastic tackling from his marker. He'll take a free in from the left.
  • 20:07
    20 min:  It's a good one and O'Shea glances a header just wide of the far post. Some nice deliveries so far from the wide men.
  • 20:08
    St Ledger does well at the other end to cut a throughball and Whelan's on the ground after a slap in the chops from Milan Petrzela. Bit of a fat lip but he'll be grand.
  • 20:12

    34 min:  Darren O'Dea puts in an excellent tackle on Baros in the box after a sustained bit of possession from the Czechs. Good stuff from the Young Player of the Year, there, but Ireland penned back a little at the moment.

  • 20:14
    That might have something to do with Whelan still receiving treatment, of course. Plasil's ball in behind for Rezek is gathered by Given and it's a chance to clear. Straight back to the opposition though. Corner Czech Rep after a tackle by McGeady. It results in a hamrless header over the bar.

    Ireland back to full strength now.
  • 20:17
    Around the grounds: Wales are trailing Costa Rica 1-0 at home, while Germany are one down to France. Giroud after 21 minutes. Elsewhere, it's all square.
  • 20:18
    31 min: Ward concedes a corner after some fancy-danning from full-back Gebreselassie.
  • 20:20
    The 'danger' is cleared by the Czechs, funnily enough.
  • 20:22
    34 min:  It's mexican wave time as O'Dea reads a cross well and heads clear. Keane tries to play some samba stuff, but catches the leg of a defender after turning down the easy option of a pass to Ward in space.
  • 20:23
    James McClean and Seamus Coleman appear to be enoying themselves on the bench, in any case.
  • 20:25
    Andrews is down clutching his knee after colliding with Petr Jiracek. Nothing deliberate there but looked a painful one. The good news is, Paul Green is warming up, but Andrews looks okay.
  • 20:27
    He's more than okay, as he sticks in two great tackles before seeing his throughball to Keane cut out. At the other end, O'Shea does well under pressure to head clear at the back post.
  • 20:27
    40 minutes gone now
  • 20:29
    Man and ball from O'Dea as he covers Ward and stops Gebreselassie. He's looked solid so far.
  • 20:32
    Another cheeky flick over the defender's head form Keane earns a free kick and Ireland try to play it short but lose possession. The visitors break and Rezek cuts inside O'Shea and shoots to force Given into a frantic parry that just avoids Baros on the way in.
  • 20:32
    One minute added time here.
  • 20:35
    That minute was pretty much taken up by an injury to a Czech defender. Nothing to see here.
  • 20:39
    Scores from elsewhere:  It's 0-0 between Ireland's Euro 2012 Group C opponents Italy and the USA, while Northern Ireland are trailing 1-0 at home to Norway.
  • 20:45
    Oh God no!!! There's a woman doorstepping her husband in to marrying her on the pitch. They've been together 22 years!! 

    He said 'yes', for now, but that had the potential to be awful. And they say romance is dead.
  • 20:45
    conor Is the match as dull as I'm imaging? Went to all the home qualifiers and only the Armenia match was in anyway exciting. (Russia was OK I suppose)! Conor
  • 20:47
    It's a pretty poor show, yeah, but then it is what it is; a friendly in which every player on the pitch is frightened to death of getting injured. Our only hope is the introduction of someone with something to prove, somebody who's not on the plane yet. Step forward James McClean or Séamus Coleman?
  • 20:49
    Both seem to be on the pitch with the rest of the subs so no last minute instructions for them. Meanwhile, Stephen Hunt is demonstrating why he doesn't take free-kicks.
  • 20:51
    The teams are back out now, we'll have a look see.

    Nope, no new faces for Ireland, at least, but the Czechs are bringing on Tomas Hubschman for Jirasek, who was a holding midfielder.
  • 20:53
    46 min:  Gebreselassie's ball from the right calmly left by O;Shea as Rezek arrived late. Ireland goal kick.
  • 20:53
    James McClean warms up before tonight's match
    James McClean warms up before tonight's match
  • 20:56
    Booming ball over the top from St Ledger looked to have been handled by Long but it's waved on and heads out for a corner. Duff's ball is comfortably cleared.
  • 20:57
    51 min: GOAL Czech Rep!!
  • 20:58
    It's that man Baros! I take it back. Awful ball watching from O'Shea, St Ledger and O'Dea who all got sucked towards Rezek, who then reversed the ball to Baros in space and the striker lifted over the sprawling Given.
  • 20:58
    conor Ah jaysus
  • 20:58
    That's pretty much what I said.
  • 21:00
    Ireland looked to break back straight away with McGeady, but his cross after skinning Gebreselassie was poor and easy for Cech.
  • 21:01
    conor Are they missing Dunne's organising/ whack the ball off the line skills?
  • 21:02
    It was just poor defending. I don't think you need Dunne in there to stop that you just need one of them to realise three is a crowd. Otherwise they have been reasonably solid.
  • 21:04
    57 min: Shane Long breaks down the left and finds Duff in space on the edge of the box but the winger's curled effort to the top corner is way off target.
  • 21:05
    Old pals Stephen Hunt and Petr Cech share a joke at haf-time
    Old pals Stephen Hunt and Petr Cech share a joke at haf-time
  • 21:06
    58 min:  Czechs go close again after an attempted overhead by Baros finds its way back to Rezek who curls it just wide.

    Two more changes for the visitos. Baros is off for Daniel Kolar and David Lafata on for Staijner. 

    And here comes Hunty!
  • 21:07
    Keane, by the way, almost found Long with a little clipped ball behind the defence but that man Cech cut it out.
  • 21:08
    conor Great pic!
  • 21:08
    Milan Baros applies the finish
    Milan Baros applies the finish
  • 21:09

    Cech looks happy to see him there but he might not be too chuffed when he's barrelling towards him, mad hair n'all, in a minute.

    Hunt's on for Duffer now, while Green has been introduced for Whelan. Calm yourselves now.

  • 21:10
    conor Stephen hunt is a great irish servant but he's not getting his game at all at the moment, surely we should be seeing mcclean, see what he can offer us.
  • 21:10
    64 minutes gone now.
  • 21:12
    Walters and Cox are both warming up now. Still no sign of the two players the crowd would love to see as the Czechs prepare another two replacements.
  • 21:13
    67 min: Vaclav Pilar and Frantisek Rajtoral replace Gebreselassie and Petrzela.
  • 21:13
    Czech Mates: Baros celebrates with his teammates
    Czech Mates: Baros celebrates with his teammates
  • 21:15
    68 min:  O'Dea goes close with a header but it's directed straight at Cech again after a beaut of a cross from McGeady.
  • 21:17
    Andrews is urged to shoot by the crowd and duly obliges but again Cech can gather easily. Both Cox and Walters are coming on now, for Long and Keane respectively. Uugggh. There's a horrible feeling of deja vu about all this.
  • 21:18
    At least Green makes Cech work, down low to his left after the ball broke at the edge of the box.
  • 21:19
    73 min: Walters drops Kadlec with a stiff elbow to the throat. You can't teach that, folks.
  • 21:20
    He's still on, by the way, just a free out.
  • 21:20
    miffed Typical Trap. McClean and Duffy won't get a look in but the real loser is James McCarthy who has to suffer the indignity of Green getting on the pitch while he collects splinters.
  • 21:22
    37,741 is the official attendance. That looks and sounds generous, ahem.
  • 21:23
    76 min:  McClean watch: Never in doubt, He's coming on. Aaaaany miiiinute now.
  • 21:24
    Huge roar goes up for the new boy, who's getting last minute instructions off Tardelli as I type.
  • 21:24
    Something happened on the pitch just there too. Net result: we didn't score.

  • 21:25
    conor 3 off the line clearances and trap will definitely bring him!
  • 21:25
    McClean on for McGeady and that was a helluva reception.
  • 21:26
    He's got 11 minutes to to do something amazing. No pressure, then.
  • 21:29
    All the hoopla has given Ireland a bit of a lift. McClean's touched the ball twice. Each time he's found a teammate. Nothing amazing, mind,I'll let you know when he does something mind blowingly brilliant.
  • 21:29
    Meanwhile, at the other end Lafata shoots well wide after Rajtoral's marauding run.
  • 21:30
    84 minutes gone. 
  • 21:31
    McClean watch: He lost the ball. Thought he had licence to take on a defender. So naive.
  • 21:33

    87 min: GOAL IRELAND!!

  • 21:35
    It had nothing to do with McCLean, let's get that out of the way first. Good tackle from Andrews about 40 yards out. He fed Cox nicely and West Brom man's first touch to bring it around Sivok was lovely. His finish under Cech from a tight angle was even better.
  • 21:36
    Ireland being urged on now and a wonderful ball from the left from McClean is just to far ahead of Cox.

    Final minute now
  • 21:36
    Corner for the Czech as two minutes are added.
  • 21:37
    Daniel Kolar heads over the bar. One last hurrah as Cox forces a throw deep in the Czech half
  • 21:38
    Hunty us robbed but blocks down the clearance and it falls to McClean who lines on up and strikes it well but it's blocked.
  • 21:39
    That's it folks. A draw. Not a belter but not a defeat and a debut for yer man, what's his name?

    Thanks for joining us. Take care.