Ireland have once again been beaten at the final hurdle of a major competition. Once again it has been by a better side but that doesn't make the defeat any easier. For the third time in five year's the side has lost at the play-off stages. Unfortunately, a fracas at the end of the game in which Tony Cascarino was struck left a bitter aftertaste in the mouth, especially as the game may prove to be the loyal servant's last international outing.

Concerning the football, again Ireland took the game to Turkey from the outset - as they did last Saturday in Lansdowne Road - and for much of the first half unsettled the Turks, so much so that at one point the home crowd began a chorus of whistling targeting their own players. That didn't last long, however, unfortunately for Ireland.

The night hadn't started as though Irish eyes would by smiling at the end and that's how it turned out. Tottenham Hotspur full-back Steven Carr had to be substituted within the first four minutes and was replaced by Jeff Kenna. While it didn't make any difference to Mick McCarthy's side's formation it didn't augur well what with the lack of cover on the bench already and the team requiring all the speed and width it could muster in an effort to break the Turkish hold on the play-off.

To be fair to Turkey it was the other way round for most of the night once they got a grip on the game. Ireland rarely threatened to score and if the Turkish finishing had been better and Dean Kiely's goalkeeping worse the game would have been killed off well before the finish.

In a spell just after the restart and with an Ireland chance already gone a begging Turkey had a number of chances all involving Yalcin. Firstly he held off Denis Irwin, cut into the middle of the pitch and curled a left-foot shot just right of Kiely's goal. Sixty seconds later he spotted the Ireland keeper off his line but the ball bounced just wide. Shortly after the playmaker saw his good work wasted by Buruk as the player was off target for the umpteenth time when he should have done better. Later he was to head against the crossbar with Kiely beaten all ends up.

The Ireland goal was leading a charmed life and even when the visitors created a chance, Quinn could only fire a tame shot, which posed Ipekoglu no problems.

Ireland were in desperate need of a goal and brought on Damien Duff for David Connolly with Rory Delap moving forward. That move didn't increase the strike rate any so with 11 minutes to go Tony Cascarino came on – with both himself and Quinn still that one goal short of Frank Stapleton's international record – instead of Jeff Kenna and the team reverted to a 3-4-3 formation. To score at that stage would have been a grave misjustice but that wouldn't have bothered many.

Instead though, Turkey had another great chance which the Charlton 'keeper saved. Then Kilbane's cross come shot caused Ipekoglu some problems but he managed to palm the ball over his own bar.

Turkey deservedly held out to win on the away goals rule only for the after whistle events to mar their achievement. Police had to come on to the pitch to disperse the troublemakers and protect the players, in many cases from each other, as they left the field.