Republic of Ireland v New Zealand, Aviva Stadium, 7.45pm


Live on RTÉ2 from 7pm. Commentary from George Hamilton and Jim Beglin. Analysis from Damien Duff, Lisa Fallon and Stephen Kelly in studio with Darragh Maloney. It is also live on Sky Sports Football.


Live blog on RTÉ Sport Online and the RTÉ News Now App from 7pm


Live commentary with Adrian Eames and Pat Fenlon from 7.40pm on RTÉ Radio 1 Extra. 

Friendlies eh? Like Christmas songs in November, they are tolerated as a precursor to something more enjoyable rather than truly embraced.

However, given that the real business of the international break is Monday's daunting, do-or-die Euro 2020 qualifying clash with Denmark, Thursday's meeting with New Zealand might end up being the highlight of the week.

Manager Mick McCarthy has promised that U-21 stars Troy Parrott and Lee O'Connor will make their senior debuts while there will be a second cap for Shamrock Rovers playmaker Jack Byrne.

Despite Aaron Connolly's absence due to a groin injury, the fans' appetite will be whetted by the prospect of seeing some developing talent in action.

Though don't expect to see any of the team's more established players being risked ahead of Monday, especially with the likes of David McGoldrick, Darren Randolph, Glenn Whelan and Matt Doherty returning to full fitness after recent injuries.

Beating 'the All Whites' wouldn't be quite the same feat as toppling their rugby equivalents - New Zealand are ranked 121st in the world, 85 places below Ireland.

The peak of the country's footballing exploits came in 2010 when they reached the World Cup for the second time.

Chris Wood (L) in action for New Zealand during the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup

Remarkably, New Zealand were the only unbeaten team in the tournament, doing a good impression of Ireland at Italia 90 by recording three draws, including one against reigning champions Italy.

The game in Dublin will be New Zealand's first since they beat India in the Intercontinental Cup in June 2018, a staggering 525 days ago; Ireland have played 13 games in that time.

West Ham defender Winston Reid, has been off the field even longer; he has spent the last 20 months working his way back from a knee injury but has declared himself fit for tomorrow.

New manager Danny Hay will be able to call on the likes of former Ipswich defender Tommy Smith and ex-Marseille midfielder Bill Tuiloma, the duo among five players based in the MLS. Seven are in the Australian A-League.

By far their most recognisable name is Burnley striker Chris Wood, who has 24 goals in 54 caps and has already scored five times in the Premier League this season.