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Dublin: 5°C Tuesday 13 April 2021


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Good evening! And welcome to our live coverage of tonight’s international friendly between Ireland the the USA live from Landsdowne Road.

It’s back to Dublin for the Boys in Green tonight as Martin O’Neill’s side return to the Aviva Stadium for the first time since that awful, let’s never mention it again 5-1 defeat to Denmark which ended our hopes of making it to this summer’s World Cup.

We won’t we playing in Russia in a few short weeks, but we’ve plenty of friendlies to console us. They’ll have to do.

Following that drab 2-0 defeat to France midweek which ended with almost apocalyptic rainfall, we face the United States tonight hoping to return to winning ways and, well, get the ball down and play some football.

Here’s hoping.

Let’s begin with the team news for tonight’s game.

Martin O’Neill has handed Shamrock Rovers playmaker Graham Burke his first international start, while John O’Shea captains his country for what will be his last ever appearance for Ireland (I’m not crying, there’s just something in my eye…)

Elsewhere Colin Doyle starts in goal for what will be just his fourth cap, while it’s largely normal business elsewhere, with the always-impressive 19-year-old Declan Rice named in midfield.

IRELAND: Colin Doyle, Shane Duffy, John O’Shea (c), Kevin Long, Seamus Coleman, Declan Rice, Jeff Hendrick, Callum O’Dowda, James McClean, Graham Burke, Jon Walters.

USA: Bill Hamid, DeAndre Yedlin, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Matt Maizga, Jorge Villafana, Wil Trapp (c), Tim Weah, Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie, Rubio Rubin, Bobby Wood.

Fans are continuing to arrive at the Aviva while the players and backroom staff have a survey of the pitch. Kick-off tonight is at the peculiar time of 8.08pm.

Why 8.08pm? Well, there’s been no official reason — but most people seem to think it’s something got to do with US television advertising. A good excuse if ever there was one.

Roy Keane Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

John O'Shea

The McKinley family from Longford

Some pre-game reading ahead of kick-off:

The man himself: John O’Shea warms up ahead of his 118th and final appearance for Ireland.

What a servant he has been for his country — consistent, class, reliable and always demanding the highest level of himself. He will be sorely, sorely missed in the years to come.

John O'Shea during the warm up Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Right with just under half an hour to go before kick-off, how do we see this one going? Let us know below.

Poll Results:

Ireland win (536)
Draw (185)
USA win (136)

Martin O’Neill has paid tribute to John O’Shea ahead of kick-off.


A decent spell of possession for the USA inside the opening five minutes sees the opening shot of the game fly high and over the crossbar. Ireland counter via James McClean at the other end, who tries to pick out Callum O’Dowda put his end product leads to nothing.


Tim Weah seeing a lot of the ball and looking very, very lively down the right wing. The young forward is full of energy and linking up constantly with his team-mates, asking all sorts of questions of this experimental Irish back three of Long, O’Shea and Duffy.


Chance! Ireland’s first proper chance comes from the man of the night O’Shea. A corner flashed across the box sees the defender knock a header towards goal, but it flies just narrowly wide of the bottom corner. Close.


Close! Jon Walters is inches away from giving Ireland the lead. The ball falls to the Stoke forward a good 25 yards from goal, he tries an audacious volley but it narrowly bounces wide of the bottom corner. A good spell for the hosts now.


A good attack from the USA sees DeAndre Yedlin pick out Bobby Wood with a dangerous cross. The Hamburg forward can only muster up a tame header, which lags well wide of the target. Still, a counter full of speed and vigour for the visitors.


It’s a very tame atmosphere at the Aviva Stadium this evening. The weather is glorious but the lack of any competitive angle to this game has been reflected in a depleted crowd. The match is being played at as slow stride, and it very much has the feel of a friendly.


Chance! Tyler Adams with a strike from distance following a pair of dangerous corners from the USA. His effort was all but destined for the back of the net but at the last second was deflected over the bar by team-mate Rubio Rubin inside the box.


Approaching half an hour on the clock and nothing to separate the sides.

John OÕShea with his daughter Ruby and son Alfie Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

James McClean and DeAndre Yedlin

Callum O’Dowda and Tim Weah


A decent spell for Ireland sees Burke link up well in the final third, with the ball played out wide to James McClean on the left. He gets his head up and picks out a cross but it flies easily into the arms of goalkeeper Bill Hamid.


Cameron Carter-Vickers is shown a yellow card for a late, rash challenge into the side of Jon Walters. The first booking of this evening for a challenge you don’t often see in a friendly. Very feisty.


Shot! Rubio Rubin cuts inside following a promising passage of play on the edge of Ireland’s box. Tim Weah made the move possible with some more dangerous dribbling on the left, with Rubin then lashing a decent effort which forced Colin Doyle into a low save.


Substitution: A loud chorus of applause breaks out as John O’Shea departs the field for the final time. After 118 appearances the defender has reached his Ireland retirement, being replaced by Darragh Lenihan off the bench.


Another dangerous cross from James McClean forces Matt Miazga to put the ball out for a corner at the far post. Another corner is forced as a result, and a third in a row sees Shane Duffy rise high and head over the bar.


A real chance to break the deadlock for Ireland as a free-kick is drawn following a foul by DeAndre Yedlin on Callum O’Dowda. Graham Burke fancies his chances from 20 yards out right on the edge of the box, but his powerful drive hits the wall and bounces away.



There will be just one minute of stoppage time to come at the end of the first half.


Annnnd Bobby Wood puts the US ahead right at the end of the first half in stoppage time. A free-kick into the box was headed back across goal where the Hamburg forward was first to the ball to prod it into the bottom corner outside the reach of Colin Doyle. 1-0 to the United States!


That was a real sucker punch right at the end for Ireland. There hadn’t been a huge amount of action to talk about but Bobby Wood’s strike in stoppage time has injected some life into this friendly.

It’s been a game played at a slow pace but still with some decent action at either end. Ireland have been a bit one dimensional, however, constantly getting the ball wide to James McClean before crossing to no-one in particular.

The US, meanwhile, have showcased quite a bit of attack and vigour on the counter. Tim Weah is full of energy and direct running, while on the opposite flank Rubio Rubin has impressed when cutting inside from the left flank.

More action to come shortly!


SECOND-HALF: We’re back underway for another 45 minutes!


Right out of the blocks Tyler Adams is shown a yellow card for the US. Adams and Callum O’Dowda both went down sliding for possession, but the Bristol City man came out worse and his counterpart receives the booking.


The game has been crying out for a moment of quality since half-time. It’s been very lethargic between both sets of teams, exchanging and losing possession easily at either end with fouls aplenty breaking up any play that promises to produce an attack of note.


Now then — an attack from Ireland comes down the left wing via James McClean. The West Brom winger gets the by-line and provides a low cross into the box, but it’s deflected wide for a corner.


Ireland are level and it seems that Graham Burke has his first goal for his country on just his second appearance. We say ‘seems’ as there is some discrepancy about it — a Darragh Lenihan shot looked all but destined for the bottom corner before appearing to take a slight deflection off the Shamrock Rovers man. Regardless, it’s 1-1!


And just like that, Burke’s evening is over just seconds after scoring. The playmaker is replaced by Preston man Daryl Horgan off the substitutes bench.


A hectic few minutes but it’s worth taking a moment to reflect on just what that goal will mean to Graham Burke. League of Ireland representation in the Ireland squad has been an ongoing debate all throughout the past week or two, but putting that aside it’s worth giving the Shamrock Rovers man a huge amount of credit.


The US have rallied well since conceding. But three shots in quick succession has failed to bring the visitors back into the lead — the third of which came closest.

Tim Weah took the ball down unmarked at the back post, his powerful volley flying just inches over Colin Doyle’s crossbar.


Goal! But it’s not going to count… Darragh Lenihan reels away in celebration but his header was deemed offside by the linesman. The Blackburn Rovers man has had the ball in the back of the net twice in the space of a few minutes, but neither has yielded him a goal.



Another good chance for Ireland and this game now has a bit of swagger about it. Jonathan Walters storms down the right wing before delivering a dangerous cross into the box. Goalkeeper Bill Hamid is first to the ball, though, and gathers well with a decisive catch.


Chance! The US almost draw level. Weston McKennie takes the ball down expertly inside the box before producing a stunning volley which forces Colin Doyle into a snappy save.


Substitution for Ireland: Enda Stevens replaces Shane Duffy.


Breaks at both ends how. The US find a gulf of space just inside Ireland’s half which is exploited by the pace and running of Weah, however his offload only finds a green shirt.

At the other end Daryl Horgan gets on the end of a stray Jonathan Walters’ cross, before cutting inside and crossing himself — but it’s easily cleared at the first hurdle.


Substitution for Ireland: Harry Arter replaces Jeff Hendrick


A good counter down the left flank sees Horgan feed an Enda Stevens overlapping run. The Sheffield United defender provides a low cross, but yet again it’s deflected wide for a corner.


It’s been a significantly better second half, however the last few minutes have been played at a much slower pace as we approach full time.

The substitutions off the bench from O’Neill have injected a lot more energy since the break, as a result producing a much more competitive game as players try to impress and create chances at goal.


Substitution for Ireland: Alan Judge replaces Callum O’Dowda



GOAAAAAAL. Ireland take the lead in the 90th minute and it’s a brilliant moment for Alan Judge, who is literally just after coming on off the bench. The Brentford man has suffered through an injury-plagued season but has a moment to remember for his country here today.

The goal was made possible thanks to some silky dribbling by James McClean inside the box. He beat his man with a drop of the shoulder before Judge took over possession to curl the ball into the back of the net. 2-1 Ireland!


That’s all she wrote! As friendlies go, this game had it’s ups and downs but ultimately ended on a positive note, and more importantly a winning note. The first half lacked any real quality, with Bobby Wood’s goal giving the US the lead right before half-time.

Ireland stood up in the second half and performed significantly better. Graham Burke scored his first ever goal for his country on a magnificent day for the Shamrock Rovers man, before Alan Judge whacked in a brilliant winner in the 90th minute.

This game, though, will be remembered mostly for the departure of John O’Shea, who captained his country on his 118th and final appearance. A legend leaves with a legacy which will not be soon forgotten.

Plenty more reaction to come shortly, thanks a million for joining us!

About the author:

Aaron Gallagher


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