The Georgians arrive in Dublin this week hindered by injuries to key attacking players but emboldened by recent strong showings against Ireland. 

Many of them are well familiar with the arrivals lounge at Dublin airport at this stage. This is the seventh time the two teams have met this decade, with Georgia avoiding defeat in the fixture for the first time in Tbilisi eighteen months ago. 

They made rather more use of the inaugural Nations League campaign than Ireland, topping their group D pot ahead of Kazakhstan, Latvia and Andorra. With Ireland heading in the other direction, they could yet meet in the next installment of that competition, as if constantly being drawn together in qualifying groups wasn't enough.

However, they suffered a 2-0 reversal at home to Switzerland in their opening Group D game. According to Alastair Watt, a Scottish journalist based in Tbilisi, this has cooled any building excitement. 

Watt spoke to the RTÉ Soccer Podcast this week and said Georgian optimism is tempered by injuries to key attacking players. 

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"(Goirgi) Chakvetadze was their star player in the Nations League, a nineteen year old wide player who's playing in Belgium. He's out injured. And he was outstanding in the Nations League. But he missed the game on Saturday and he's missing the game on Tuesday which I think really reduces Georgia's chances of getting anything from it.

"Also, (Jano) Ananidze, an attacking midfield player. Ireland have played Georgia so many times that name probably rings a bell. But he's out as well. 

"So, they're a wee bit thin on the ground in terms of attacking players."

Notwithstanding these niggling annoyances, the Georgians have taken heart from recent qualification campaigns, in particular previous draws with Wales and Austria. 

And while they have yet to take a point in Dublin, they were close enough to doing so in both 2015 and 2016, 

"If you look at the last World Cup campaign, Georgia got a couple of good results on the road which they haven't done much in the last 20 years.

"They got a draw away in Wales and could have easily won that game. A draw away in Austria, where they were probably a little bit unlucky there.  

"The last couple of times they've played in Dublin, they've been pretty tight affairs and Ireland have just managed to nudge it over the line. 

"Having got that point against Ireland in Tbilisi the last time, there's a feeling they can compete more evenly and get a result. I think they'll still be outsiders to even do that. 

"The fact that the Irish squad, at least from the outside perspective, made up of lesser known names. It's not like many of the Georgians will know many, or even any, of the Irish players. Which wouldn't have been the case in the 90s and the 2000s when there would have been a lot of household names there. 

"Overall, Georgia should perhaps have two or three draws over the years against Ireland, rather than having won any games. So I don't think they've been really hard done by.

"But they tend to give Ireland a game. It's not a game that they're fearing anyway." 

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Follow Republic of Ireland v Georgia (kick-off 7.45pm) with our live blog on RTÉ Sport Online or the RTÉ News Now app, watch live on RTÉ2 or listen live on RTÉ 2fm