This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
Dublin: 4 °C Monday 24 February, 2020


51,591 Views 45 Comments

Good evening and welcome to The42′s live minute-by-minute coverage of Gibraltar v Ireland.

Kick-off is at 7.45pm so you still have 25 minutes or so to make your cup of tea and get settled.

By this stage, you’ve probably heard the big news from Georgia – the hosts have beaten Scotland 1-0 to blow Group D wide open again.

Valeri Kazaishvili is our new national hero. Here’s his goal:

Source: WEBFOOT/YouTube

It means that Ireland can leapfrog the Scots into third place tonight with a win in Faro.

TEAM NEWS: Here’s how Ireland will line out and, as per usual, Martin O’Neill has shaken things up a bit. Cyrus Christie and Ciaran Clark both start in defence with Jeff Hendrick getting the nod in midfield.

Hoolahan, Keane and Walters – yes please!

IRELAND: Given; Christie, O Shea, Clark, Brady; McCarthy, Whelan, Hendrick; Hoolahan, Keane, Walters.

A quick word on Seamus Coleman. Martin O’Neill has confirmed that the Everton defender has a tight hamstring but it is precautionary and he is expected to be fit for Monday’s game.

It’s still 20°+ in Faro – no wonder this lot look like they’re having a ball.

Sarah Wall Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Here’s the Gibraltar team:

J Perez, Garcia, Barnett, R Chipolina, J Chipolina, Sergeant, Walker, Bardon, K Casciaro, L Casciaro, JP Duarte

The RTÉ panel opened with a brief discussion on goalkeeper Jordan Perez which went something like this:

Brady: “He’s the keeper that played against us in Dublin, isn’t he?”

Sadlier: “Yeah.”

Brady: “Yeah, he’s hopeless.”

Let’s hope that doesn’t come back to haunt the lads.

Cornelius Collins: Just told the missus we should look at going to France on holidays next summer. Come on Ireland don’t let me down!!

Let’s not get carried away just yet…

The bookies are normally fairly shrewd when it comes to their money. They make Ireland four-goal favourites tonight, FYI.

While you’re waiting for kick-off, here are some of Tommy Martin’s pre-match thoughts:

In a week in which even the All-Ireland hurling final has struggled to draw down its rightful share of the public’s attention, with Mayo v Dublin and rugby matters rudely butting in, a qualifier against Gibraltar is many miles off-Broadway.

But these two games are the last chance for O’Neill and his squad to somehow repossess the psychic energy of a qualifying group which has drifted away from Ireland. Positive performances and helpful results elsewhere — essentially, a major Scottish stumble — and October might get interesting.

There are roughly 3,500 fans in the Estadio Algarve. About 3,000 of those are Irish!

We’ve had the anthems so let’s have your predictions.

Richie Sadlier says 6-0 on the basis that Gibraltar are, erm, awful.

Are you as bullish?

1 min – Robbie Brady shows a nice turn of pace in the opening minute but Robbie Keane’s touch is a bit loose and Gibraltar put a stop to things.

3 mins – All Ireland so far but we’re still waiting for our first shot on goal. Weso chases a long ball down the channel and wins the corner.


The ball breaks to McCarthy on the edge of the box but it comes off a Gibraltar player and is out for another corner … which comes to nothing.


Hoolahan tries to flick the ball past Casciaro into the box but it comes back off the striker’s hand and Ireland will have a free in a dangerous position.


GREAT SAVE! Jordan Perez — the keeper derided as “hopeless” by Liam Brady moments ago — does brilliantly to get across and turn Robbie Brady’s free around the post.


Hendrick squeezes the ball towards goal but Perez gets a hand on it to deny Walters.

A moment later, Keane does brilliantly to head back across goal into the danger zone but there’s no Irish man there to finish.


Great pressure by Ireland. Christie is fouled and it leads to the first yellow card of the game for Kyle Casciaro.


OFF THE BAR! Brady rasps in a free kick and Clark is unmarked, but his header rattles back off the bar. Ireland are getting closer and closer.


GOOOOOO… OFFSIDE! Robbie dinks the ball towards the Gibraltar goal and Walters pounces to score with a diving header. He’s offside though, it won’t stand.


Keane tries to slip the ball through to Walters but there are too many bodies packed in front of the Gibraltar goal and it’s cut out.

Flag 16Mins

The latest from Germany — Thomas Muller has put the hosts 1-0 up against Poland


No goal yet. At what point do we start to get worried?


Walker whips in a free towards Shay Given’s goal and Ciaran Clark has no choice but to slide across and turn it behind for a corner.


SIDE NETTING! Great chance for Ireland as Hoolahan rakes a beautiful cross to the back post. Keane lets it come across his body before volleying with his right… but it’s into the side-netting.

That was a great chance.


Two balls on the pitch but Ireland win a corner with the one that matters.

Flag 21Mins

More from Germany — It’s now 2-0 thanks to Mario Gotze.

A German win and an Irish win would leave Ireland just two points behind Poland by my maths.


Ireland take a short corner, Brady whips in the cross, and Duarte has a fistful of John O’Shea’s jersey. O’Shea goes to ground but the referee is having none of it.


Robbie Brady is limping a little bit. Looks like he rolled his ankle as he sent in a cross.


Gibraltar having one of their better spells here — and by that, I mean they’re in possession.

Flag 26Mins

GOAL! Gibraltar 0-1 Ireland (Christie, 26′)

There’s the breakthrough — and it’s Cyrus Christie on his competitive debut for Ireland.

It’s a great goal as he takes a throw, plays a neat one-two with Hoolahan, and then weaves his way past two Gibraltar defenders into the box.

The finish is a beaut as well, bending off the outside of his boot and into the bottom left corner.

It couldn’t come quickly enough for Ireland.


Walters very nearly catches Perez off guard but he tips it over the bar.


Cyrus Christie has scored at one end — and he may just have prevented the equaliser at the other end. Bardon’s cross is set for Erin Barnett but Christie gets his head on it and flicks it behind.


Walker tries his luck from all of 40 yards. It’s well struck but Shay Given was always behind it.

Flag 41Mins

Another goal in Frankfurt — and it’s another Bayern Munich player. Robert Lewandowski makes it Germany 2-1 Poland with just over five to play in the first half.


Jon Walters looks to be fouled by Joseph Chipolina and grabs the ball as he goes to ground. The referee decides that’s a deliberate handball and books Walters.


Half a chance for Ireland but Robbie Keane’s header is wide. They’re making tough work of this so far.


Into injury time at the end of the first half…

Flag 45Mins

HALF TIME: Peep peep. Ireland take a slender lead into the break.

Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO


Back in five.


We’re back underway again.


Big penalty shout for Ireland in the first minute of the second half but the referee awards a free against Robbie Keane instead.


Brady whips in another cross but it has a smidge too much pace and Ciaran Clark can’t get there at the back post.

Flag 49Mins

GOAL! Gibraltar 0-2 Ireland (Keane, 49′) This ain’t pretty — but it doesn’t really matter at this stage. Jon Walters attacks from the left and his cross is toe-poked by Barnett onto the post.

It comes off Perez’s back and trickles across the line where Robbie Keane is waiting to tap it in from two yards out.

That’s international goal 66 — and it looks like he enjoyed it as much as the 65 others.



Hoolahan fouled in the box by Walker — and Robbie will have a chance to make it three…

Flag 51Mins

GOAL! Gibraltar 0-3 Ireland (Keane pen, 51′)

Of course he wasn’t going to miss that! Perez goes left, Robbie goes right, and the skipper’s on course for another hattrick.


Ye can all relax now…


SUB: Gibraltar make the first change — Jake Gosling on for Kyle Casciaro.


Gibraltar aren’t exactly sitting back and accepting their lot here. They’re not creating too many chances either, mind, but they’re playing a bit in Ireland’s half.


Walters flicks the ball on and James McCarthy gets in behind Bardon. The ball won’t quite sit for him so he does well to get his volley on target, and Perez does just as well to save.


Another good run by Christie who carries the ball to the edge of the box. He lays it off to Hoolahan but doesn’t quite seem ready for the return and Gibraltar cut it out.


DOUBLE IRELAND SUB: Stephen Quinn and Shane Long on for James McCarthy and Robbie Keane.

No hat-trick tonight for Robbie — he’ll have to wait until Monday night to equal Gerd Muller’s record.


Robbie Brady has to put in a last-ditch challenge to deny Sergeant a clean shot on goal after he bundled his way past Ciaran Clark. Good hustle.


It looked like Aiden McGeady was about to come on … but now he’s not. End of dispatch.


Sitter! Hoolahan skips past Chipolina in the box but his shot is deflected and bobbles across to Walters who has all day and all night to get his shot on target. He can’t get his feet right though and, off balance, scuffs his effort badly wide.


IRELAND SUB: That’s Hoolahan’s last action – he’s replaced by Aiden McGeady. Another good night for Weso, in so far as anyone really has a “good night” against Gibraltar.

Flag 79Mins

GOAL! Gibraltar 0-4 Ireland (Long, 79′) Gibraltar must be getting tired. That’s the only explanation I can come up with for the sorry excuse for defending I’ve just seen.

Hendrick gets to the byline and crosses. For some reason, Erin Barnett completely ignores Shane Long, allows him to steal in in front of him, and head unchallenged past Perez.

If you saw it in the Phoenix Park on a Saturday, you’d have a conniption.


Update from Frankfurt: Gotze has another and it looks like Germany are on their way to three points. They lead Poland 3-1.

If it all stays the same, Germany will go top, Poland will be second, and Ireland will be two points back in third.

Game well and truly on, Ger.


Ireland push on in search of a fifth but Whelan dinks a fairly harmless ball over the top.


We’re into stoppage time in Faro.


McGeady sticks it up at the back post but Walters and Clark get in each other’s way and it floats wide. That’ll probably be Ireland’s last attack.


Job done. Ireland move into third place and things look a little bit more rosy than they did at 5pm this evening.

Here’s how the table looks now, although it will change again once Germany’s win over Poland is confirmed:


That’s it from me for now but stay with us across the evening where we’ll have lots more reaction and analysis.

Thanks for reading.

About the author:

Niall Kelly