Irish International action on Tuesday…26/03/2019

Ireland scored the only goal to defeat Georgia in their second European Championship qualifying contest and head Group Four with a maximum six points. There was a significantly improved performance from Ireland in the Aviva Stadium this evening and the victory was fully merited despite a couple of very scary moments. Ireland were quickly out of the blocks, putting pressure on the visitors and created some early scoring chances which were not realised. The breakthrough arrived on thirty six minutes from an exquisite free kick converted by Conor Hourihane, his first goal for Ireland. Just prior to the break there was quite a scare for Ireland with a lack of concentration allowing the visitors a strike on goal which was brilliantly saved by Darren Randolph. Ireland were less dominant for a twenty five minute spell at the start of the second half, with the visitors controlling possession for long periods, but we stayed resilient, save for one long range effort which clipped the post. Lone frontman David McGoldrick was unquestionably our ‘man of the match’ with his excellent control and technique. There were also notable performances from skipper Seamus Coleman and the evergreen midfielder Glenn Whelan. Mick McCarthy made two late changes, with Aiden O’Brien replacing Robbie Brady on seventy three minutes and Matt Doherty coming on for the exhausted David McGoldrick after eighty one minutes.
The stunning news from Basle that Denmark, trailing by three goals with six minutes remaining, recovered to secure a three all draw with their hosts Switzerland means that Ireland top the fledgling Group Four table.
Next up is a visit to Copenhagen to face Denmark on the 7th June before we welcome Gibraltar to the Aviva Stadium three days later.

Group Four             P W D L  F  A  G/D  Pts
Republic of Ireland    2 2 0 0  2  0   2    6
Switzerland            2 1 1 0  5  3   2    4
Denmark                1 0 1 0  3  3   –    1
Gibraltar              1 0 0 1  0  1  -1    0
Georgia                2 0 0 2  0  3  -3    0
Mick McCarthy has named his starting eleven for this evening’s European Championship qualifier against Georgia. The side shows two changes from the starting eleven in Gibraltar last Saturday with Robbie Brady and Glenn Whelan replacing Matt Doherty and Sean Maguire.

Team: Darren Randolph; Seamus Coleman(C), S Duffy, R Keogh, E Stevens; G Whelan; J Hendrick, C Hourihane; R Brady, David McGoldrick, J McClean

Our senior international side take on old foes Georgia in our second contest of the 2020 European Championship qualifying campaign in the Aviva Stadium at 7.45pm on Tuesday evening. Saturday’s contest in Gibraltar was far from beguiling but the three points were claimed,  so we move on and hope for better post match vibes this time.

The ankle injury sustained by Shane Duffy is the only slight concern but against a side that seeks to play constructive football on the ground, his absence should it occur, may not be significant. In light of the conditions, it is difficult to assess the merits, or otherwise, of the individual performances on Saturday last but some changes are likely. The holding midfield role is likely to be more relevant against this opposition which could signal the inclusion of Glenn Whelan in that position. It will also be interesting to see if Matt Doherty is given another opportunity in front of Seamus Coleman with weather conditions expected to be much more appealing. James McClean must also be under pressure, with the greater technical skills of Robbie Brady or Alan Judge offering a challenging alternative. One also wonders if a more physical presence might be employed up front with the possibility of a debut for James Collins. We will also be casting a glance in the direction of the other Group D qualifier taking place this evening in Basle between Switzerland, two nil victors over Georgia in Tbilisi on Saturday, and Denmark.   

Under 19
With qualification for the 2019 European Championship finals in Armenia already secured, Head Coach Tom Mohan gave the remainder of his little or unused U19 squad members an opportunity in their final Elite Stage Group Four contest against mini-tournament hosts Russia in Krasnodar at 2pm (Irish time) on Tuesday afternoon. The players did not let him down, securing a two nil victory with goals from Arsenal defender Mark McGuinness on the stroke of half-time and Bohemian striker Ali Reghba after fifty nine minutes.
With the finals scheduled for July, Mohan and his backroom team will continue to monitor his players, with of course the option of recalling the five players who were unavailable because of their involvement with our successful Under 21 side.
We join hosts Armenia in the July Finals, together with the Czech Republic, France, Italy, Norway, Portugal and Spain.

Group 1             P W D L  F  A  G/D  Pts
Republic of Ireland 3 3 0 0 10  1   9    9
Romania             3 1 1 1  4  5  -1    4
Russia              3 0 2 1  0  2  -2    2
Azerbaijan          3 0 1 2  1  7  -6    1


Under 17 Women
Head Coach Colin Bell saw our Under 17 Women conclude their  European Championship Elite Stage involvement with a one nil victory over mini-tournament hosts Scotland in Ainslie Park Stadium, Edinburgh at 2.30pm this Tuesday afternoon. The winning goal came on thirty two minutes and was scored  by Wexford WFC striker Blessing Kingsley. Ireland finished an excellent second in the Group behind Germany and their performances augur well for the future.

Group 4             P W D L  F  A  G/D  Pts
Germany             3 3 0 0 11  0   11    9
Republic of Ireland 3 1 1 1  2  3   -1    4
Norway              3 1 1 1  2  5   -3    4
Scotland            3 0 0 3  0  7   -7    1