WC Qualifier: Ireland v Georgia

Martin O'Neill's Ireland take on Georgia in Dublin looking for a maiden Russia 2018 qualifier win

Patrick Madden Thu, Oct 6
LIVE: WC Qualifier: Ireland v Georgia

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  • Good evening!

    Saturday marks the one-year anniversary of one of the finest nights in Irish sport, when Shane Long's rasper sank the world champions Germany and helped Ireland towards qualification for Euro 2016.

    363 days on from that halcyon night we stand on the brink of another epic - as Martin O'Neill's side take on Georgia in their second quallifier ahead of the 2018 World Cup.

    Okay, so I lied a bit - tonight won't be quite as exciting. But games like this, as mundane as they might look on paper, are the bread and butter for any side with serious ambitions of making it to major tournaments.

    In a years time we might not be looking back on tonight's game as fondly as the Germany one, but three points will help build the foundations of a successful Irish qualification campaign for Russia.

    We'll be bringing you all of the action from the Aviva Stadium throughout the night, so get the kettle on and get settled.

    Come on!!!



    IRELAND: Randolph, Coleman, Clark, Duffy, Ward, Hendrick, McCarthy, Brady, McClean, Long, Walters.

    GEORGIA: Loria, Kakabadze, Kashia, Kverkvelia, Navalovski, Daushvili, Gvilia, Kazaishvili, Okriashvili, Ananidze, Mchedlidze.

  • It's all change for Ireland tonight, interesting team selection from O'Neill. There's a new pairing at centre half with Ciaran Clark and Shane Duffy coming in to replace Richard Keogh and John O'Shea. There's no place for Wes Hoolahan, but James McCarthy starts - he hasn't played any football for Everton since a recent groin operation and has hardly featured this season.

    Looks like Ireland will be set up in a 4-3-3/4-5-1, with Robbie Brady forming a three in the middle alongside Jeff Hendrick and McCarthy.

  • There is the current state of play in Group D, courtesy of those lovely people at the Welsh FA.
  • Georgia are familiar foes for Ireland and they provided six points during Euro 2016 qualification. Ireland have an unblemished record against the Georgians, with seven wins from seven. Vladimir Weiss's side are no mugs though - they turned over Spain in June, winning 1-0 in Madrid ahead of the defending champions' ill-fated Euros campaign.
  • Crowds clapping in a certain minute of a match to commemorate something is one of those nu-football fads which seem to be getting progressively worse.

    We've reached new levels of absurdity tonight with RTE claiming Ireland fans are planning a minutes applause for Georgian number eight Valeri Kazaishvili (in the eighth minute, naturally) to pay tribute to his winner against Scotland which helped Ireland get to the Euros. Make of that what you will.

  • Ireland receiving an award from Uefa tonight for having the best fans at the Euros. They might want to reconsider if the eighth minute applause actually goes ahead.  
  • Safe to say O'Neill's team selection tonight didn't get the warmest of receptions from Dunphy and co.
  • The teams are out of the tunnel in Dublin, time for the anthems.

    We're underway!

  • 1 min: Bright, indistrious start from Brady, twice tracking well to win the ball back in midfield. McCarthy seems to be playing the deepest of the midfield trio.
  • 3 min: McClean harrying down the left and Kverkvelia takes a tumble as he tries to shepherd the ball out of the play. He wins a free kick rather fortuitously, which as you can imagine the West Brom man is thrilled about.
  • 4 min: Good pressing from Long sees him force Kverkvelia into a mistake but he can't find McClean in the middle. Georgia looking pretty shaky at the back thus far.
  • 7 min: The ball comes to Ward twice and on each occasion he pumps a hopeful long ball up to Long. Hopefully Ireland look to get it down and pass it around a bit.
  • 9 min: Very quiet start in Dublin. Brady looks for Ward with another lofted ball down the inside left channel but the fullback gets squeezed off it.
  • 11 min: Good run from McClean and Ward finds him down the left but he checks back from the byline and is forced off it.
  • 13 min: First bit of space out on the right for Coleman after Long slides him in on the overlap. His lofted cross is headed back towards danger and 'keeper Loria makes a hash of his fisted clearance but the ball drops for a white shirt.
  • 16 min: Georgia are moving it crisply when they get on it. A good spell of possession sees the ball worked out to Kakabadze on the right. His low cross is deflected to Kazaishvili on the penalty spot who shoots just wide on the turn. A warning for Ireland there, they sat far too deep and invited the visitors onto them.
  • 19 min: Duffy blocks a Georgian shot from distance and the visitors have the games first corner, which the Brighton centre half clears with a good header.
  • 21 min: Georgia have had the majority of possession thus far. Not good enough from Ireland, especially at home.
  • In one of the night's other Group D fixtures Wales have gone 1-0 up in Austria thanks to a stunner from Joe Allen.
  • 26 min: Ireland have their first corner of the match. Brady whips it towards the penalty spot and Loria fists it away well.
  • Equaliser is Vienna, Arnautovic with the goal.

    Stoke City 1 Stoke City 1

  • 30 min: Georgian handball just inside their own half and Ireland send the big men forward so Brady can lump it into the box, where Loria wins a free kick under pressure from Duffy.

    Pumping it into the box from halfway already? It's that sort of night.

  • 35 min: A chance for Ireland as they break through Hendrick, the Burnley midfielder powering into the Georgian half and sliding in McClean on the left, but he's dispossessed after excellent cover from Kakabadze.
  • 37 min: Walters tracking back on the right but Navaloski forces a corner. Yikes, the ball is lofted to the back post and dinked back in to Mchedlidze who thunders a header into the cross bar. And then the follow-up comes off Randolph's lefthand post. Ireland treading very thin ice here.  
  • 38 min: First real chance for Ireland. Hendrick crosses for McClean who heads into the ground and it bounces for Walters who hooks a chance over the top with his back to goal.
  • In Chisinau Serbia are beating Moldova 2-0.
  • 42 min: Spell of Irish possession and McClean hangs up a cross which Loria punches away well.  
  • 43 min: Coleman put under pressure by Kazaishvili and the ball bounces back off Randolph, who gets lucky with nobody following up. And then Randolph turns an effort out for another Georgian corner which Long clears.

    And the ball is going to come straight back as there isn't a single green shirt in the Georgian half.

  • 45 min: Long presses and forces a corner right at the end of the half. And there's a foul on the goalkeeper.
  • Right, 15 minutes to erase that half from the memory banks so we can pretend it never happened.
  • They're having a better time of it in Vienna, where Sam Vokes has put Wales 2-1 up on the stroke of half time.
  • The teams are back out for the second half. As D:Ream sang, things can only get better.


  • 46 min: Sharp turn from Coleman and he drives into space down the right, but his cross is poor and easily turned away.
  • 47 min: Brady hauled down in the inside right channel and he is over the free kick in a dangerous position. It's a good ball but well cleared. It's worked out to Walters on the right but his cross is too close to Loria.
  • 51 min: McCarthy on the deck and in some discomfort. Looks like he's taken a knock on the arm rather than aggravate his previous groin problem.  
  • Queue Toor Game seems a bit static. All I see is a guy in a green jersey with a ball stuck to his head.
  • You're not far wrong.

    It's 2-2 in Vienna, a second for Arnautovic.

  • 39,793 in the Aviva for a night they'll never forget.  


  • Seamus Coleman has taken the game by the scruff of the neck and made something happen. Hendrick lays it off to his skipper on the right and he skins the fullback, gets to the byline and works his way into the box. His low cross ricochets back into his path and he manages to scramble it over the line. That's his first Ireland goal and it was sorely needed.


  • Sullivan jamerson Hon the tipp
  • Criodan MVG has just taken the first leg...
  • 59 min: Ireland have a spring in their step now and have the ball in the net again but the flag is up. A great cross from Walters is bulleted into the net by McClean but he was a fraction offside.
  • Rural Spaceman Cool. New pic, please.
  • Any special requests?
  • Criodan A goal is a goal is a goal...c'mon lads stick it to them. Missed the splits unfortunately :(
  • 62 min: A good spread out to the right and Georgia have the ball in the box. Walters flicks it clear and Gvilia tries his luck from distance, his shot deflected behind for a corner which ireland clear comfortably.

    Tadic has put Serbia 3-0 up in Moldova.

  • 64 min: Good ball inside from Brady and he makes a good run looking for the return but Walters' pass is horribly overcooked and is out for a Georgia goalkick. Brady had bags of space there.
  • 66 min: McClean jinks inside onto his right and lets a speculative effort fly. It's straight at Loria who almost conspires to palm it into his own net, recovering just in time.
  • 67 min: Georgia moving the ball neatly but they're a bit too narrow, Gvilia not spotting the man out on the overlap and seeing his shot blocked. The visitors are comfortable on the ball though and Ireland are sitting a bit too deep.
  • 72 min: Better from Ireland. Long makes a good run and the 'keeper thinks about coming for it but quickly drops back. Long slides in Walters who turns and has two men to pick from the byline but crosses straight to a white shirt.
  • 76 min: Should be 2-0 and game over. A great sweeping cross comes to Long who has a free header at the back post. He nods it back across goal and Brady can't turn the header home. Brady is down and in a bit of bother, replays show a nasty clash of heads with Kverkvelia.  
  • Brady is receiving a lot of attention and he's being stretchered off with a neck brace an an oxygen mask. He tried to sit up and appeared conscious but was made to lie back down. Glenn Whelan comes on to replace him.
  • 83 min: Ireland fans doing the Thunderclap for the umpteenth time this evening. Iceland have got a lot to answer for.

    Hendrick is booked for a studs up challenge, meaning he's banned for Sunday's trip to Moldova.

  • 87 min: Randolph hasn't had a huge amount to do this evening and he does well to hold onto a cross from the right after Mchehlidze barges Duffy into the West Ham 'keeper.
  • 90 min: A long ball is flicked on well by mcClean but Walters doesn't have nearly enough legs to get onto it. Georgia break and Ireland are quickly sitting very deep.  
  • 92 min: Ireland hit the bar! The ball is played down the right and Walters lofts it into the box where McClean meets it with a thundering header which pings back off the woodwork. Kverkvelia, who's heavily bandaged after his clash with Brady, does well to flick the rebound clear.
  • 93 min: Long limping off to be replaced by John O'Shea.
  • 95 min: Okriashvili chests one down a long way out and connects nicely with a dipping volley but Randolph gets his body behind it.
  • Coleman gets man of the match. Deserved for conjuring up the only bit of magic we've seen tonight.
  • It's finished 2-2 in Vienna while Serbia have beaten Moldova 3-0.
  • "We didn't play well, we didn't play well at all," says Martin O'Neill in his post-match interview. He's nothing but honest.
  • Right then, thanks for joining tonight. Hopefully Sunday's trip to Moldova will be a bit more exciting - but we'll be bringing you all the action rain or shine.

    Until then, cya!