Ireland v Switzerland

Martin O'Neill's side take on Switzerland in the first of their Euro 2016 warm-up matches

RuaidhrĂ­ Croke Fri, Mar 25
 
LIVE: Ireland v Switzerland

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  • Good evening and welcome to the Aviva Stadium for the clash of Ireland and Switzerland! My name is Ruaidhrí Croke and I'll be taking you through all of the proceedings on this windy Good Friday evening. You can get involved by using the 'Contact Us' button at the top of the blog or you can get me on Twitter @Ruaidhri_Croke.

    After a dreadful start to qualifying which saw Switzerland lose their opening two games to England and Slovenia they managed to pick themselves up and, in the end, ease through in second place behind Roy Hodgson's side. Since then they've had the honour of being drawn with hosts France in Group A. But, given that the other two sides are Albania and Romania, Vladimir Petkovic's side will fancy their chances of advancing.  

    As for Ireland it's an important double header of matches between today and Tuesday's clash with Slovakia as some of the fringe players look to muscle their way into the picture. And what a big night it is for Shane Duffy and Alan Judge. The Blackburn defender wins just his second cap alongside Ciaran Clark in the centre of the defence while Judge makes his international debut.

    What a story it would be if Duffy was to win a place on the plane to France. The 24-year-old had to undergo life-saving surgery just six years ago when he suffered a freak injury to his liver in training.  

    O'Neill has certainly been experimental in his selection this evening with Aiden McGeady and Kevin Doyle both given chances to impress.

    For Switzerland both Gokhan Inler and Xherdan Shaqiri are missing from the party that travelled to Dublin. While Shaqiri is missing with a hamstring problem, Inler has been ommited because of a strict policy enforced by coach Petkovic. The Swiss manager insists on only including players who are playing regularly for their clubs and, given the fact that Inler has only played five times for Leicester this season, he has been left out.

    Ireland: Darren Randolph; Seamus Coleman, Ciaran Clark, Shane Duffy, Robbie Brady; Alan Judge, David Meyler, Stephen Quinn, Aiden McGeady; Shane Long, Kevin Doyle.

    Switzerland:  Yann Sommer; Ricardo Rodriguez, Timm Klose, Michael Lang, Fabian Schar, Valon Behrami, Breel Embolo, Granit Xhaka, Blerim Dzemaili, Admir Mehmedi, Haris Seferovic.

  • The warm-ups are finished, the players are back in the dressing rooms and we await the pre-kick off 1916 commemorative event. Lansdowne Road is, to say the least, sparsely populated. It seems the lure of overpriced alcohol hasn't been enough, even on Good Friday.
  • You can read Emmet Malone's preview of tonight's match here.

    Meanwhile, the sad news that emerged yesterday of Johann Cruyff's death has seen a number of excellent pieces looking back on the life and influence of Europe's greatest ever footballer. Ken Early writes about the flowing-haired Dutchman here, while you can read Brian Kerr's take here.

  • Minute silence: done. Swiss national anthem: done. Passage from the Proclamation of the Irish Republic read by students from Trinity Comprehensive in Ballymun: done. Irish national anthem: done. The famously neutral Swiss must be very baffled by this whole military-infused evening. Anyway, it's kick off time!
  • 1 min: Switzerland get us underway, defending the Havlock Square end.  (Ireland 0 Switzerland 0)
  • 2 mins: Judge has taken up a position on the right wing with McGeady coming off the left, while Meyler and Quinn marshall the middle of the park. Good work from Brady on the overlap has won Ireland an early corner.  (Ireland 0 Switzerland 0)
  • 3 mins: GOAL FOR IRELAND!  (Ireland 1 Switzerland 0)
  • 4 mins: Well that didn't take long! Brady's initial cross was well defended but gave the Norwich man a second chance to put it in the box. His cross was longer than the first, finding the head of Shane Duffy. The centre back did well to nudge it back across the goal where Ciaran Clark was able to nod it past Yann Sommer and give Ireland an early lead.  (Ireland 1 Switzerland 0)
  • 6 mins: The Swiss are certainly no mugs and will have been rocked by that early goal. Michael Lang has had some early joy down the right wing, putting in two good crosses but Clark and Duffy have dealt with them well.  (Ireland 1 Switzerland 0)
  • 9 mins: A good chance for the Swiss goes abegging as Blerim Dzemaili's shot flies over. Quinn was caught loitering in possession on the right wing where Valon Behrami nabbed the ball from him. The former West Ham player fed it inside to Haris Seferovic who found Dzemaili but his right-footed effort was poor and flew into the stand.  (Ireland 1 Switzerland 0)
  • 11 mins: Most of the Irish joy has so far come down the left wing with McGeady proving to be a problem for the visitors. His latest foray to the end line results in a corner which he takes himself. Kevin Doyle's darting run to the near post allowed him to flick it towards goal but his effort was blocked on the line.  (Ireland 1 Switzerland 0)
  • 16 mins: The game has gone quite flat since the goal. The Swiss look to be targeting Brady at left-back with diagonal balls towards Breel Embolo. The latest effort wins a corner which is met by the head of Dzemaili. His header spins just over the bar. That was a close call.  (Ireland 1 Switzerland 0)
  • 21 mins: Switzerland are really coming into the game now and reaping some joy from set pieces. The latest is a corner from the left wing. Lang peeled off and completely lost his marker - Coleman - meeting the ball at the back post but Randolph made an easy save. That's the third Swiss corner that's been won with ease in the Ireland box.  (Ireland 1 Switzerland 0)
  • 23 mins: Judge was really struggling to get involved on the right wing and has now switched over with McGeady. Some bad news however as Doyle has gone down injured in the box after a 50-50 with Klose. This looks to be serious enough, he immediately called for a substitution.  (Ireland 1 Switzerland 0)
  • 26 mins: That's the end of the night for the Colorado Rapids striker and a hugely disappointing end at that. Tonight was his chance to play his way into O'Neill's plans for June but they look to have been shattered now. It's hard to tell exactly what the injury is but it seems to be his right knee that's causing him bother. Klose looked to have caught him with his studs. Daryl Murphy has come on in his place.  (Ireland 1 Switzerland 0)
  • 29 mins: Take note: it's not the Aviva Stadium or, indeed, Lansdowne Road, it's the Dublin Arena from now on. Doyle has been taken off on a stretcher and Ireland have a free-kick on the left wing which Brady will take.  (Ireland 1 Switzerland 0)
  • 31 mins: Brady feeds Judge who puts a good ball into the box but it's defended by the Swiss. Only as far as McGeady, though and he wins a corner. Brady swings in another dangerous cross but again an Ireland player can't get on the end of it. It's good to see Brady's set piece action in good form though, you'd have to imagine that will be a vital asset come June.  (Ireland 1 Switzerland 0)
  • 36 mins: Long does really well to win the ball 20 yards from goal and cuts into the box on the right. His cut back is right into the space on the penalty spot but no Ireland player is attacking it! The Swiss break and Granit Xhaka unleashes a hopeful shot from 25 yards. It's going well wide but clatters off Seferovic, almost wrong-footing Randolph but the Ireland keeper does well to adjust and save.  (Ireland 1 Switzerland 0)
  • 39 mins: Off the bar! Excellent play from McGeady on the right has Rodriguez twisted into something resembling a Curly Wurly chocolate bar. The Sheffield Wednesday winger makes half a yard of space for himself and chips a beautifully weighted ball into the middle where it's met by the head of Long. With Sommer beaten the ball bounced back down off the bar, giving Long a second chance but he couldn't generate any power and the Swiss keeper saved easily. That little but of action was needed to wake everyone up in what's been a dull enough match.
  • 41 mins: We've just had two rare occurences occur at once! A double rare occurence you might say. The first is that a player - specifically Dzemaili - was penalised for diving and the second is that he was shown a yellow card in a friendly! Miroslav Zelinka is certainly taking no rubbish this evening.  (Ireland 1 Switzerland 0)
  • 45 mins: And you wouldn't blame them. Four minutes have been added on after the lengthy stoppage for Doyle's treatment.  (Ireland 1 Switzerland 0)
  • 45+4 mins: HALF TIME!  (Ireland 1 Switzerland 0)
  • A late Swiss attacking flurry ends the first half and Ireland go in in the lead. So, a quick recap for those of you who haven't been paying attention: the two sides have been evenly matched with little created. Bar the goal Ireland have had the best chance when Long hit the bar with a header but it certainly hasn't been a match that will go down in the annals of international friendly history. Both sides' set pieces have been decent, with Brady's in particular causing problems. Time for a cup of tea, back in 10 minutes.  (Ireland 1 Switzerland 0)
  • 46 mins:  The players are back out on the pitch and Ireland will kick off. Attendance tonight is 35,450.  (Ireland 1 Switzerland 0)
  • 49 mins: A long ball over the top allows Murphy to get in behind and deliver a chipped ball into the box. It's just a tad too high for the head of Long and McGeady's follow up is easily cleared.  (Ireland 1 Switzerland 0)
  • 51 mins: Switzerland are awarded a free kick on the right after Judge absolutely flew into a tackle. Rodriguez delivers but Randolph catches with ease and holds onto it.  (Ireland 1 Switzerland 0)
  • 54 mins: There has been a distinct lack of incident so far in this second half.  (Ireland 1 Switzerland 0)
  • 57 mins: Switzerland almost get in behind as Dzemaili feeds Embolo with a through ball. Excellent defending from Clark averts the danger however as he gets across in front of the Swiss to clear, winning a free kick in the process.  (Ireland 1 Switzerland 0)
  • 60 mins: The arrivals of James McCarthy and Eunan O'Kane are imminent as McGeady's latest cross is just a little too close to Sommer.  (Ireland 1 Switzerland 0)
  • 63 mins: Xhaka receives Switzerland's second yellow card for a frankly dreadful tackle on Quinn. The pre-game military infusion has obviously gone to the heads of the Swiss.

    Meanwhile O'Neill makes a triumvirate of substitutions. McCarthy comes on for Quinn, Hayes for McGeady and O'Kane for Meyler.  (Ireland 1 Switzerland 0)

  • 64 mins: Hayes has gone onto the right wing, with O'Kane just inside him. McCarthy is obviously a shoo-in for a ticket to France but what a huge opporunity this is now for O'Kane and Hayes.  (Ireland 1 Switzerland 0)
  • 68 mins: Long's usual game of chasing down even the most lost of all lost causes wins Ireland a throw in on the right. From there it's sprayed across to Hayes who does well to force a corner. The ball in from Judge is dealt with by Klose at the front post and Switzerland avert the danger.  (Ireland 1 Switzerland 0)
  • 74 mins: Now it's Switzerland's turn to make a trio of subs. Gelson Fernandes replaces Behrami, Shani Tarashaj comes on for Dzemaili and Pajtim Kasami (yes, that Kasami who scored THAT volley for Fulham) takes the place of Admir Mehmedi.  (Ireland 1 Switzerland 0)
  • 75 mins: Some good work from Hayes almost gets Long in behind but his touch is a little heavy. The Aberdeen player has been impressive since coming on.  (Ireland 1 Switzerland 0)
  • 79 mins: Daryl Murphy is replaced by Wes Hoolahan. Just 11 minutes to go now but Ireland could really do with a second just to kill the Swiss off.  (Ireland 1 Switzerland 0)
  • Alan O'Sullivan Is that the bald John Hayes?
  • 81 mins: No, I believe he played rugby for Ireland. This is Aberdeen's Jonathon Hayes who has a lovely crop of red hair.  (Ireland 1 Switzerland 0)
  • 84 mins: A chance for Switzerland! Randoph was caught out of his goal after misjudging a long ball through. It was fed across to Tarashaj who tried his luck from the edge of the box but his rather tame effort trickled just wide. Meanwhile, James McClean has come on in place of Long.  (Ireland 1 Switzerland 0)
  • 86 mins: Some beautiful play down the right from Hoolahan there. Flicking the ball from his right foot to his left foot he slipped it through the legs of Klose but unfortunately ran into a traffic jam before he could find McClean.  (Ireland 1 Switzerland 0)
  • 88 mins: The feeblest of all feeble renditions of "Come on you Boys in Green" rings out as McClean runs onto a chipped ball over the top from Brady. The West Brom winger cuts back inside but can't find Hayes with his pass and Switzerland clear the danger.  (Ireland 1 Switzerland 0)
  • 90 mins: A dreadful pass from Fernandes in his own half allows O'Kane to burst through. He decides to take the shot on early from the edge of the box but his low, curling effort skips just wide of the post.  (Ireland 1 Switzerland 0)
  • 90+3 MINS: FULL TIME! IRELAND 1 SWITZERLAND 0.
  • And that, is very much that. Certainly not a 93 minutes that will be remembered for long but a worthwhile exercise for O'Neill, Keane and co, no doubt. Of the fringe players given a chance it was Shane Duffy who most stepped up to the plate. As well as getting the assist for the goal he was solid all night although, in truth, he had little to deal with. Switzerland never created a chance and Ireland can take positives from that. After all, they were in a superior pot to us for the finals draw. McGeady looked dangerous with the ball at his feet as he always does but could still do with improving on his final delivery. Speaking of deliveries, Brady's were as good as ever but his positioning can be questioned on numerous occasions. Much for O'Neill to ponder then before Slovakia visit Dublin on Tuesday. I'll be with you for that one as well but, for now, I'll leave you. Stay tuned to www.irishtimes.com/sport for reports and reaction from tonight's 1-0 win. Bye!