/ Soccer

As it happened: Rep Ireland 1-1 Czech Rep

Updated: Wednesday, 29 Feb 2012 23:18

James McClean impressed in his cameo for Ireland
James McClean impressed in his cameo for Ireland

By Rob Wright

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Republic of Ireland 1-1 Czech Rep
Czech Rep: Baros 50
Ireland: Cox 86

Full-time Ireland finish the game on top, but will be happy with a draw. It was an exciting end to a game that struggled to capture the immagination for the most part but Cox and Andrews in particular will have down their Euro 2012 chances a power of good.

John O'Shea is named the man-of-the-match, but it was Andrews who was the stand-out player for Ireland.

The big question of the night remains unanswered through. Did that lady who proposed at half-time get an answer?

91 mins McClean could see the headlines there. The ball broke to the Sunderland midfielder outside the Czech box, he took a touch and unleashed a rasping shot but Pilar was on hand to block it.

90 mins Rory Houston at the Aviva: "Very nice finish from Simon Cox. A timely reminder of what he can do and that the position as Robbie Keane's strike partner is as competitve as it has been in many years."

89 mins Hunt and McClean push forward in search of a winner but the final touch ball is lacking.

86 mins GOAL Ireland, Simon Cox A sublime finish from Cox! Keith Andrews catches a Kolar in possession just inside the Czech half, nicks the ball off his toe and bursts forward. The West Brom midfielder then slides the ball through to his clubmate Cox inside the penalty area.

Cox is forced wide and just when it looks like the chance might be gone he cuts back inside Sivok and produces a beautifully angled shot that beats Cech at the near post. Great finish.

85 mins Lafata decides to have a blast from 35-yards out and gets it all wrong.

82 mins Two Czech substitutes combine to create a decent chance. Rajtoral makes a burst down the right and cuts the ball back to Lafata. The ball is slightly behind the Czech forward but he swivels and connects, sending the ball just wide.

80 mins Better from Ireland. Jonathan Walters attacks a cross from Hunt and the ball bobbles free to McClean who keeps it alive. The Sunderland midfielder lays it back and another cross comes it, but it's just behind Cox and he can't make a decent connection.

79 mins The second biggest cheer comes as McClean gets his first touch.

78 mins The biggest cheer of the night comes as James McClean makes his senior international debut with Aiden McGeady making way.

Rory Houston at the Aviva: "Only in Ireland would a League of Ireland player be seen as an irrelvance and something not worth bothering over.....until they play six months in the Premier League. Congratulations James McClean. He deserves this chance."

76 mins A great through ball from Keith Andrews splits the two Czech centre-backs and allows Cox to run onto the ball but Cech is out quickly and chests the ball away from the Irish striker.

74 mins Back at the Aviva, the substitutions have slowed what was already a pedestrian affair to a crawl. However, James McClean raises a cheer as he's sent out to warm up.

72 mins Ireland's Euro 2012 group opponent's Italy are currently trailing USA by 1-0 and not looking great by all accounts.

Meanwhile the introduction of Paul Green has some people's backs up. Michael Dunne emails: "Really . . . . Paul Green?! Spain are shaking in their boots. No offence to Green but we have an exciting player that is setting the premier league on fire warming the bench. James McLean has to come on or is this Traps way of saying I'm the boss!"

71 mins Green has a dig from long range that has Cech looking worried, but he manages to gather the ball.

70 mins Another brace of Ireland changes but still no McClean. Simon Cox and Jonathan Walters are introduced for Shane Long and Robbie Keane.

Meanwhile Stuart Pearce's England are trailing 2-0 against the Netherlands.

68 mins Signs of life from Ireland as McGeady pounces on a loose ball on the right and delivers a great curling cross that is met by the head of O'Dea. The Celtic man's header is straight at the goalkeeper and he was flagged offside anyway, but it's something

67 mins More changes for the Czechs as Theodor Gebre Selassie and Milan Petržela exit and Frantisek Rajtoral and Vaclav Pilar come on.

66 mins The Czechs are comfortable in possession and passing the ball around Ireland, who are still struggling to get a foothold into the game.

64 mins Rory Houston at the Aviva: "I saw a supporter walk out after those substitutions. Trapattoni-style stubborness."

63 mins Ireland make their first changes of the evening as Paul Green and Kevin Hunt come on for Damien Duff and Glenn Whelan. Not exactly what the fans would have wanted but Hunt's energy and drive can lift Ireland.

61 mins The fans are at least trying to rouse the team and crys of "Ireland, Ireland" ring out around the stadium, but there's been few signs of attacking intent since they went behind.

60 mins The Czechs make two changes bringing on David Lafata and Daniel Kolar for Jiri Štajner and Milan Baros, while Kevin Hunt looks set to come on for Ireland.

58 mins Long finds himself in space on the left with Keane and McGeady waiting in the Czech penalty area but the West Brom man cuts the ball back to Duff on the edge of the box. Duff takes a touch and blazes the ball over.

56 mins Ireland have been able to offer little but hopeful long balls forward since the goal. Changes are needed now.

55 mins Elsewhere, Croatia - who will face Ireland in Euro 2012 - are currently trailing Sweden by 3-1.

52 mins Rory Houston at the Aviva: "Stephen Ward kept Milan Baros onside to leave the former Liverpool striker was a simple finish, although he showed great composure in front of goal. It'd be a shame to lose the good record in the Aviva but Ireland need to improve."

51 mins Ireland try to hit back immediately and break down the left but McGeady's cross is a poor one and is easily gathered by Cech.

50 mins GOAL Czech Republic, Milan Baros That's schoolboy defending from Ireland. Rezek picks up the ball just outside the Irish penalty area and three Irish defenders are drawn to him. The Czech forward flicks a neat reverse pass through to Baros who is in acres of space, and is able to lift the ball over the on-rushing Given and into the net.

49 mins A teasing long ball forward from O'Shea bounces behind off Long's arm but the referee awards a corner-kick. Ireland load the penalty area but Duff's ball in is a poor one and it's easily gathered by the goalkeeper.

47 mins An early let-off for Ireland as both Baros and Rezek fail to connect with a peach of a cross from the right wing.

46 mins The players are back out and Trapattoni opts against any half-time changes while the Czechs introduce Tomas Hubschman for the injured Jirácek.

20:50 Any indication on how that proposal went by the way?

20:49 Gavin Farrell asks and then answers his own question. Saves me the job anyway: "Why is it that as the home team we are wearing the away kit if there's no clash with the Czechs kit if we wore green? 90 mins of advertising the new away kit?"

20:47 For those asking (you know who you are!) Offaly are currently leading Meath 1-07 0-05 in the Under-21 Championship.

@jacquihurley tweets: Girl proposing to her boyfriend on big screen here! She has balls anyway!!

Half-time The referee blows his whistle to give everyone a bit of a respite. That was pretty bleak stuff and you have to hope that Trapattoni livens things up with a few changes at the break.

It's hard to think of a better situation in which to introduce McClean.

Sean from Texas sums it up fairly harshly but not altogether inaccurately: "People paying money that they can't afford to in order to watch that rubbish? God help us."

45 mins Jirácek looks to be in real trouble after collapsing in a heap with what looks to be a muscle strain. There was no-one near him as he cleared the ball and he walks off clutching his side.

44 mins Rezek makes a positive burst forward down the right and cuts inside John O'Shea before unleashing a shot that has Given scrambling. The Irish goalkeeper does well to palm it away from the lurking Milan Baros and Ireland can clear.

Rory Houston at the Aviva: "Ireland were caught short when McGeady's shot was blocked and Rezek's deflected shot luckily avoided Baros. The much-talked about second-half substitutes will liven this game up, I hope."

43 mins Rory Houston at the Aviva: "You know it's a thrilling game when the TV pictures keeps showing the subs and the mexican wave is poor."

42 mins The Czechs continue to pass the ball around just inside the Irish half without ever looking like breaking down the massed white defence. Ireland for their part are slow in breaking out with much of their play going through Andrews and Duff down the right.

40 mins Good defending from St Ledger who outjumps Milan Baros to clear Rezek's cross to safety. To say the game needs a goal would be an understatement - I'd settle for a decent shot on target right now.

38 mins Rory Houston at the Aviva: "Mexican waves, cow bells and general amusement amongst supporters. That's right, the game is sinking towards mediocrity. Czech Republic are enjoying more of the ball now but they haven't created any significant openings."

37 mins Keith Andrews looks to be in pain after a coming together with Petr Jirácek. The Irish midfielder goes down clutching his knee but is able to walk it off.

36 mins The Czechs, who the stats tell us have enjoyed 61% of the play, really haven't done anything with it.

32 mins The first Mexican wave of the evening ripples around the stadium. It's been a cagey game and the Irish players could do with giving the supporters something to shout about.

30 mins Gebre Selassie wins a corner off Ward, which Plašil wastes, blasting it well behind everyone in the penalty area. Ireland clear.

27 mins Whelan comes back on to held defend a Czech corner. The initial ball in is dealt with but it comes back out to Jaroslav Plašil who delivers a decent cross and while the ball is met but a Czech head, it sails over.

25 mins Rory Houston at the Aviva: "Plenty of chances so far but I don't think Giovanni Trapattoni will be too pleased about the sloppiness in Ireland's own half.

"Ireland are creating more of the chances with Robbie Keane, as always, a danger. Keane and Long's movement is proving difficult for the Czechs."

24 mins An important challenge from Darren O'Dea on Milan Baros stops the Czechs just outside the Irish penalty area. Whelan remains off the pitch as it appears he's receiving stitches for a mouth wound.

22 mins My colleague Micil Glennon feel's it's vital that I inform you that Offaly are currently beating Meath 0-03 0-02.

No, I've no idea why either.

21 mins Glenn Whelan is caught in possession in the midle of the park and loses the ball to Milan Petržela, who looks to catch Whelan in the face. The Irish midfielder goes off for treatment but should be OK.

18 mins Ireland look comfortable so far with Keane seeing plenty off the ball. Keith Andrews wins a freekick out on the right after drawing a foul from Rezek. The cross into the box is a good one and John O'Shea connects but his header goes just wide.

15 mins Rory Houston at the Aviva: "Sloppy play from both sides, with the Czechs guilty of standing off Robbie Keane as he tried to pick out a team-mate in the box. Shane Long showing good movement and Ireland are getting numbers forward."

14 mins Ahh Robbie! Keith Andrews sends a booming long ball for Keane to chase onto and the LA Galaxy striker takes it down brilliantly but he hits his first shot at the goalkeeper before miskicking the follow-up. Should have done better there.

11 mins The Ireland players are appealing for a penalty after Damien Duff sent in an absolute peach of a cross from the right. No-one in a white shirt was able to connect and while Keane appeals for a handball from Gebre Selassie, replays show he had no case.

10 mins It's been a fairly muted opening to the game with neither side willing to over commit themselves.

8 mins Ireland break forward through Robbie Keane, who as expected is playing in a deeper roll, but the Tallaght native cuts his cross back behind Long and the Czechs can clear.

5 mins Given makes a mess of his clearance and blasts a kick against Jan Rezek. Luckily the Irish goalkeeper is able to recover and pounces on the loose ball.

4 mins Rory Houston at the Aviva Stadium writes: "Good start from Ireland as McGeady shows some nice touches on the left side to create that opening. Decent atmosphere considering it is a friendly game and with so many empts seats."

3 mins That's close from the Czechs. Former Liverpool striker Milan Baros receives the ball with his back to goal and sends a a neat angled ball into the path of Jiri Štajner who blasts his shot at Shay Given. The ball goes behind for a corner but Ireland deal with it comfortably.

1 min We're underway and it's a great start for Ireland. From the kick-off they take the game to the Czechs. Aidan McGeady loses his man on the left and floats in a sweet cross that Shane Long heads into the grateful arms of Petr Cech.

That was a real chance.

19:45 There will be a moment's applause for Republic of Ireland, Aston Villa and Galway legend Eamonn 'Chick' Deacy.

19:44 In related fashion news, Ireland are wearing their new white away kit this evening, and as Ireland kits go it's a decent one. Shame that fans won't be able to buy it without a corporate sponsorship logo plastered across the front, but hey.

19:43 There's a disturbing number of leprechaun hats and beards about the place as the anthems ring out - never a good look.

19:37 Both sides make their way out onto the pitch as supporters continue to make their way into the ground.

19:25 Our man at the Aviva Stadium, Rory Houston says: "There is a very relaxed atmosphere around the Aviva Stadium ahead of this friendly. The Irish players are just finishing their warm-up."

19:07 Spare a thought for poor old Sean Clancy who is; "Hosting some clients for dinner at The Celtic Manor Resort here in south Wales, my mind however will be on matters in D4! Suppose you can say that the countdown for the Euros really begins in earnest tonight so a good performance would get us off on the right path."

It's a hard life.

18:44 Michael Dunne emails us: "Living in Saskatchewan, Canada and following your live updates. Hope to see some of the young blood get an outing. We have the makings of a decent team and trap makes us hard to beat. Good combination for tournament football!"

Hard to disagree with that, there's often been the claim that we lack a genuine exciting creative player, which hopefully McClean could be.

18:08 Spotters badge to both Andy O'Farrell and Garrett Carr who point out that Keith Andrews now plays for West Brom. Which he, em....does.

17:55 While Shane Duffy may be in line for his first senior Irish cap tonight, it's unlikely to come as a blow for Louis Walsh that the Everton player will be ruling out a singing career.

New members of the Irish squad are traditionally asked to perform a song for the rest of the squad and, well let's just say that Duffy didn't exactly cover himself in glory as this video, courtesy of balls.ie, proves.

Still it's nice to see the Derry man attempt the Shamrock Rovers' standard "Build Me Up Buttercup." Maybe Stephen Kenny had a word? You do have to wonder exactly who filmed it too. Aren't modern day footballers supposed to have the latest gizmos and gadgets?

17:45 It's an unseasonably balmy evening in Dublin as the Republic of Ireland begin to ramp up their final preparations for Euro 2012.

As expected there are few surprises in Giovanni Trapattoni's team, although he has indicated that he's going to experiment with a deeper role for Robbie Keane. Meanwhile Irish supporters will be hoping to get a glimpse of James McClean and Shane Duffy in the green jersey.

The Czech Republic are a weaker team to the one that finished third in Euro 2004 and are shorn of their injured captain Tomas Rosicky but are still likely to provide a stern challenge for Ireland.

Republic of Ireland: Given (Aston Villa); O'Shea (Sunderland), St Ledger (Leicester City), O'Dea (Leeds United), Ward (Wolves); Duff (Fulham), Whelan (Stoke City), Andrews (West Brom), McGeady (Spartak Moscow); Keane (LA Galaxy), Long (West Bromwich Albion).

Czech Republic: Petr Cech; Theodor Gebre Selassie, Tomáš Sivok, Michal Kadlec, David Limberský; Jaroslav Plašil, Petr Jirácek; Milan Petržela, Jiri Štajner, Jan Rezek; Milan Baroš.

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