Ireland 0-0 England

Ireland and England played out a largely uneventful 0-0 draw in this afternoon’s international friendly clash at the Aviva Stadium.

It was the first time the sides met in Dublin since the infamous abandoned encounter in 1995 when Ireland were leading 1-0 before the game was called off due to crowd trouble.

But this time the game reached its conclusion with both sides enjoying a decent work out ahead of their upcoming Euro 2016 encounters.

And while two Daryl Murphy’s chances and a snap-shot from second-half substitute Jonathan Walters could have won it for Ireland, the draw was probably a fair result with England dominating the second half of this end-of-season friendly.

Ireland started well in front of a far-from-full stadium and immediately put England under pressure, breaking down the right flank from the kick-off showing their intent and winning a corner.

Robbie Brady resumed his role at left back but was early into his attacking action as he overlapped Aiden McGeady and won another corner, but again England dealt with the danger and cleared.

In fact, England were looking sharp when on the ball with some neat passing across midfield and eventually found some space in the eighth minute as Rooney turned on the edge of the box, but Glenn Whelan spotted the danger and prevented the England striker getting his shot away.

McGeady and Brady had a tough time linking in the first half of the recent Euro 2016 clash with Poland, however, they were enjoying plenty of space on the left wing with Phil Jones getting little cover from Raheem Sterling who was facing the wrath of the home support.

And the Everton midfielder showed great feet again in the 13th minute as he jinked his way down the left side of the box before delivering a fine cross, which the incoming David McGoldrick almost got to at the near post.

Ipswich front pair McGoldrick and Murphy were looking comfortable at this level, with the former looking for the ball to feet at every opportunity before earning a free kick in the 16th minute, which gave Brady a chance to deliver the set piece.

Brady’s ball was whipped towards the back post and Jeff Hendrick was arriving unchallenged with the goal gaping, but Rooney got back to cover and managed to get a toe on the ball to take it past the arriving Irishman and out for a corner.

It took 27 minutes for the first real opportunity to materialise as England failed to deal with a high ball on the left side of the box. A neat header from the dropping ball put Murphy through on goal and his first-time effort flew past Hart but just past the wrong side of the post.

And again Murphy had a chance to open the scoring in the 36th minute as another pin-point Brady set-piece was driven into the danger zone and while the Ipswich man was unmarked,he could not direct his free header on target.

England were still enjoying plenty of possession but were finding little space in the final third and their best opening came from a fine bit of refereeing to allow the play to continue after Sterling was upended.

Phil Jones raced down the right and played a great ball at pace across goal but the danger was read by John O’Shea who got across to clear.

England’s only real chance of note from the opening period came a minute before the break as Adam Lallana cut in from the left and drilled a fine shot with his right foot but the ball flew just past the upright with Westwood untested throughout.

On the stroke of half time, McGeady again led the charge as Ireland broke up the left. The Everton winger pulled the ball back for the advancing McGoldrick and his well-struck effort was deflected wide for a corner.

England survived a couple of scares from the resulting corners and the sides went in level at half time with Ireland certainly enjoining the better chances, if not dominating possession 

Roy Hodgson’s half-time team-talk must have hit the right notes because it was a much hungrier England side that emerged in the second half and their early pressure almost paid dividends twice in the opening four minutes.

Rooney played a fine ball to the back post, which was cleared, before the Manchester United striker was put through in acres of space but his first touch was awful and the ball ran through to Westwood.

Seamus Colemam then won Ireland a free after a typical maraudingexcursion down the right flank and this time Brady’s excellent free kick was turned around the near post by Hart.

England kept the pressure on and further efforts from Sterling and Rooney failed to really test the Ireland goal, with the Manchester United striker’s free-kick well read by Westwood who made the save look standard.

Rooney then had England’s best chance as Sterling clipped a delightful ball to the back post but the striker could not direct his header on goal with good pressure exerted by two Ireland defenders.

The steady stream of substitutions were now preventing the game from maintaining any flow or intensity with both managers apparently happy with what they had seen thus far.

But the most of unlikeliest of impact subs arrived in the 61st minute as Shay Given replaced Westwood, who had enjoyed a very quiet afternoon.

Given stood over the free-kick from deep inside his own half and with his first touch, launched a hopeful ball deep into the England half.

The England defence failed to deal with the aerial challenge and the dropping ball fell perfectly for Walters who unleashed a terrific effort but it was straight down the throat of Hart and the England keeper beat the ball away, and the arriving McGeady could not control the rebound and the ball was cleared.

Rooney and England sub Ross Barkley linked well as England raced forward with twenty minutes to play, and the Everton midfielder rolled a tempting ball towards the back post but James McClean tracked James Milner’s run all the way and saw the ball out to safety.

Harry Arter almost enjoyed a dream debut just moments after coming in to make his senior Ireland debut as the Bournemouth man picked the ball up in midfield and ran at the England defence before letting fly.

The gifted left-footer has made such moments his trademark all season in the Cherries’ Championship-winning season, however, this time the ball flew wide with Hart untroubled.

Given had to get down well to his left with eight minutes remaining to pull off a decent stop from substitute Andros Townsend in what was the last real chance, as both sides eased down through the gears with important points up for grabs in next week’s qualifiers.

Republic of Ireland: Keiren Westwood; Seamus Coleman, John O’Shea, Marc Wilson, Robbie Brady; Jeff Hendrick, Glenn Whelan, James McCarthy, AidenMcGeady; David McGoldrick, Daryl Murphy.

England: Joe Hart; Phil Jones, Gary Cahill, Chris Smalling, Ryan Bertrand; James Milner, Jordan Henderson, Jack Wilshere, Raheem Sterling, Adam Lallana; Wayne Rooney.