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When are Ireland's key matches in 2015 and what chance do they have of winning them?

The pivotal Euro 2016 qualifiers plus a big friendly with England are happening in the coming months.

Updated at 10.11

29 March, 19.45 – Aviva Stadium – Ireland v Poland

Poland Scotland Euro Soccer Source: AP/Press Association Images

THE TEAM’S ONE pre-summer game — a loss, having already been defeated by Scotland last November, would be catastrophic. Throughout his career and particularly at Celtic, Martin O’Neill always seemed to conjur fantastic performances out of his sides at home, and he’ll need to do so again against Robert Lewandowski and co.

Prediction: Draw

7 June, Time TBC – Aviva Stadium - Ireland v England

Britain England Slovenia Soccer Source: AP/Press Association Images

Yes, it’s only a friendly, but these type of ‘local rivalry’ matches tend to feel like competitive fixtures. Moreover, an improbable win over England would surely do wonders for the Irish team’s confidence, irrespective of the circumstances.

Prediction: Draw

13 June, 17.00 - Aviva Stadium - Ireland v Scotland

Soccer - UEFA Euro 2016 - Qualifying - Group D - Scotland v Republic of Ireland - Celtic Park Source: Lynne Cameron

The Irish team were already beaten 1-0 by Gordon Strachan’s side at Celtic Park, so it’s hugely important that they pick up at least one point if not all three on this occasion. Especially depending on the Poland result, the outcome here could prove decisive, with a loss potentially all but ending Ireland’s hopes of second spot in the group.

Prediction: Ireland win

4 September, 20.45 – Estadio do Algarve, Faro - Gibraltar v Ireland

Germany Gibraltar Euro Soccer Source: AP/Press Association Images

Gibraltar make a mockery of the suggestion that there are ‘no easy games’ in international football and Ireland should win well on this occasion, as they did in the reverse fixture between the sides. That said, Gibraltar did manage to restrict Germany to just four goals recently, so perhaps this fixture won’t be quite as easy as expected for the Irish team.

Prediction: Ireland win

7 September, 19.45 - Aviva Stadium - Ireland v Georgia

Soccer - UEFA Euro 2016 - Qualifying - Group D - Scotland v Georgia - Ibrox Stadium Source: Jeff Holmes

The notion that Georgia were an awkward team to face was discredited somewhat when Poland thrashed them 4-0 last November, after Ireland laboured to a 2-1 victory there in September. It is hoped that it will be far less painstaking for Martin O’Neill’s men when the sides meet in the Aviva, as anything other than three points would likely jeopardise the Boys in Green’s qualification hopes.

Prediction: Ireland win

8 October, 19.45 – Aviva Stadium - Ireland v Germany

Germany Gibraltar Euro Soccer Source: Michael Probst

A daunting tie, particularly for those who remember Germany coming to Dublin and winning 6-1 back in 2012, indicating the Giovanni Trapattoni era was on its last legs in the process. Though Ireland claimed a hugely credible 1-1 draw in Gelsenkirchen back in October of last year, a repeat result seems an equally big ask — particularly given that Germany are as unlikely to be as depleted as they were on that night.

Prediction: Germany win

11 October, 19.45 – National Stadium, Warsaw – Poland v Ireland

Poland Montenegro Soccer WCup Source: Czarek Sokolowski

The final game of the campaign sees Ireland meet Poland for the second time in 2015. The fact that world champions Germany came unstuck away from home against the Poles is a measure of the challenge facing Ireland. It seems likely that — at best — Martin O’Neill’s side will need something from the game, so another nervy backs-to-the-wall away performance could be in store for Irish fans.

Prediction: Draw

Overall prediction: Ireland to qualify for Euro 2016 via the playoffs

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About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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