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Flashback: Kennedy stunner earns Ireland vital World Cup qualifying victory over Yugoslavia

Ireland have met Yugoslavia/Serbia six times over the course of their history.

Mark Kennedy celebrates scoring Ireland's winning goal in the 1999 encounter.
Mark Kennedy celebrates scoring Ireland's winning goal in the 1999 encounter.

THE IRISH TEAM has played Serbia or (their previous incarnation) Yugoslavia six times over the course of their history, and at least three of these encounters were memorable occasions for one reason or another.

Their first meeting was in 1955, when Ireland lost 4-1, however more memorable than the game was the fuss that surrounded it — Archbishop McQuaid was furious when the FAI arranged the game without his consent, and he called for a boycott of this match with a communist country. Nonetheless, the game still went ahead as planned with over 20,000 people filling Dalymount Park and ignoring McQuaid’s protestations in the process.

The sides met again in a friendly just prior to the 1988 European Championships, while just over 20 years later, Giovanni Trapattoni’s first official international in charge of Ireland ended in a 1-1 draw with Serbia, with Andy Keogh grabbing a late equaliser after Marko Pantelic capitalised on a Paul McShane mistake to put Serbia ahead after 75 minutes. They were to meet once more during Trap’s tenure — a 0-0 draw that epitomised the consistently unremarkable performances of the side post-Euro 2012, with the game taking place less than two months after the competition ended.

Nevertheless, the most memorable matches were surely the Euro 2000 qualifiers during Mick McCarthy’s Ireland reign and in particular, the game at Lansdowne Road.

It was an impressive Yugoslavia side that had reached the last 16 of the 1998 World Cup and were only beaten 2-1 by Holland after Edgar Davids scored an injury-time winner.

They also boasted a number of top-class players, including Dejan Stankovic and Predrag Mijatovic.

Having lost 1-0 in Belgrade after Mijatovic scored a 64th-minute winner, goals from a then-19-year-old Robbie Keane and a 70th-minute stunner by Mark Kennedy helped Ireland prevail 2-1 in front of a buoyant home crowd.

It was arguably the most important result of McCarthy’s reign as Ireland manager at that stage, and created considerable optimism that the team could qualify for the Euros in Holland and Belgium.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be, as a last-minute equaliser by Goran Stavrevski prevented Ireland from automatic qualification against Macedonia in their final qualifier, while they would eventually be knocked out on away goals by Tukey via the play-offs.

Source: sp1873

Source: sp1873

 

Ireland team in 1998 away qualifier v Yugoslavia: Given; Irwin, Staunton, Breen, Cunningham; McAteer (O’Neill, 83), Roy Keane, Kinsella, McLoughlin (Cascarino 72), Duff; Quinn (Connolly 72).

Ireland team in 1999 home qualifier v Yugoslavia: Kelly; Cunningham, Staunton, Breen, Irwin (Carr 64); Kennedy, Kinsella, Roy Keane (Carsley 68), Kilbane; Quinn (Cascarino 78), Robbie Keane.

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Paul Fennessy

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