Coleman celebrates his goal. Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Captain Coleman caps milestone with first-ever goal for Ireland in narrow Georgia win

The full-back scored the only goal of the game on his 40th appearance for his country.

Ireland 1
Georgia 0

SEAMUS COLEMAN MARKED his 40th international appearance with his goal for Ireland in a 1-0 victory over Georgia tonight.

After a less-than-convincing first half in which the away side will count themselves unlucky not to have scored, the 27-year-old full-back, skippering the side, struck on 56 minutes.

And, as they did when teams met at Lansdowne Road a year ago, the Boys in Green only needed a single goal to get the job done.

Martin O’Neill opted to bring Shane Duffy back into the team after missing the draw with Serbia through a one-game suspension picked up in the Euro 2016 defeat to France.

Ciaran Clark of Newcastle United was preferred to John O’Shea and Richard Keogh as Duffy’s central defensive partner.

James McCarthy was deemed fit enough to start despite missing the past six weeks after undergoing groin surgery and the Everton man sat at the base of what appeared to be an energetic midfield which also featured Robbie Brady and Jeff Hendrick — with James McClean and Jon Walters occupying the wings and Shane Long leading the line.

Republic of Ireland v Georgia - 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying - Group D - Aviva Stadium Ireland's starting line-up. Brian Lawless Brian Lawless

Brady looked to set the tone from the start by putting himself about to win back possession on a couple of occasions and Ireland could have been awarded a penalty in the first five minutes.

A mistake by Georgia defender Solomon Kverkvelia gifted Shane Long the ball and, bursting into the box, the striker was challenged late by the Rubin Kazan centre-half.

French referee Tony Chapron was unimpressed by appeals, however.

The visitors began to grow in confidence as the first half went on and Valeri Kazaishvili wasn’t far away after some patient play by Vladimir Weiss’ side.

As the first 45 minutes drew to a close, Ireland were afforded a major let-off. Tornike Okriashvili’s clipped cross was headed onto the crossbar by Levan Mchedlidze with Darren Randolph beaten, before captain Guram Kashia’s follow-up came back out off the post.

Moments later, Walters hooked a shot over his head and over the bar after McClean’s knock-down wasn’t dealt with.

But Georgia were to end the half much stronger. Kazaishvili out-muscled Coleman and latched onto a long ball but he could only poke straight at Randolph.

Mchedlidze then stung the hands of the Ireland number one as O’Neill was left scratching his head at his team’s uninspiring performance heading into the break.

Seamus Coleman and Darren Randolph with Valeri Kazaishvili Darren Randolph saves from Valeri Kazaishvili. Morgan Treacy / INPHO Morgan Treacy / INPHO / INPHO

Ireland emerged from the interval unchanged and added some much-needed urgency to the game straight away.

And they made the breakthrough on 56 minutes with a goal created by a combination of brilliance and persistence from their captain.

The full-back stormed past Giorgi Navalovski down the right flank and attempted to square a pass from the end-line. Continuing his run, Coleman got a bit of luck as the ball ricocheted back into his path to allow him to walk it over the line.

McClean then thought he had doubled their advantage after heading home from Walter’s cross but the West Brom winger was ruled offside.

There were worrying scenes with 14 minutes on the clock as Brady clashed of heads with Kashia and appeared to be left unconscious. After a lengthy stoppage, the Dubliner was stretchered off the pitch to be replaced by Glenn Whelan.

Brady looks set to miss Sunday’s meeting with Moldova along with the suspended Hendrick, who picked himself up a yellow card late on.

With seven minutes of injury-time to be played, McClean crashed a header off the crossbar but Ireland head to Chisinau sitting joint-top of the group alongside Wales, Austria and Serbia with four points from their first two matches.

IRELAND: Randolph; Coleman, Duffy, Clark, Ward; McCarthy, Brady (Whelan 79), Hendrick, McClean, Walters; Long (O’Shea 90).

GEORGIA: Loria; Kakabadze, Kverkvelia, Kashia, Navalovski (Kobakhidze 89); Daushvili (Katcharava 90), Gvilia, Kazaishvili, Okariashvili, Ananidze (Skhirtladze 74); Mchedlidze.

The42 is on Snapchat! Tap the button below on your phone to add!

LIVE: Ireland v Georgia, World Cup 2018 qualifier

McCarthy passed fit as Ireland name strong team to face Georgia

Your Voice
Readers Comments
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.