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Dublin: 5 °C Monday 24 February, 2020


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IT’S OVER TO Philadelphia’s PPL Park where Ireland play their penultimate summer friendly.

As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the game. E-mail, tweet @thescore_iepost a message to our Facebook wall, or leave a comment below.

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Ireland 1-1 Costa Rica

GOOD MORNING YOU, most loyal of Ireland fans, who have passed up the opportunity to get some shut-eye after a long week in order to check in on how the Boys in Green are faring on the first of a two-game US tour.

We’re 55 minutes away from Ireland v Costa Rica at PPL Park — the home of MLS side Philadelphia Union.

You have to say, it’s looking well…

We’ll bring you team news when we get it but, before that, a few lines from Martin O’Neill’s press conference yesterday on facing tough opponents in this set of end-of-season games.

“We’re playing some friendly games, and we’ve chosen the opposition, so this conversation was going to come up at some stage because we haven’t been able to win a game or two,” O’Neill said, when asked about the importance of winning friendlies.

“My own view is that we should have won the past three games. The Serbia game we missed some great chances, likewise against Turkey and the Italy game, which I just played back last night, we definitely should have won.

“If we can the level of performance up at this stage, accepting the fact that eventually when you step into the Euro Championships the results are the be all and end all.”

Having lost out to Serbia and Turkey before a respectable draw against Italy in London last Saturday, Ireland could do with a victory to get some momentum going ahead of a meeting with Portugal on Tuesday and September’s Euro 2016 qualifiers.

Costa Rica, in Group D with England, Italy and Uruguay, are in need of a win themselves with just one from four so far in 2014. Their most recent defeat saw them beaten 3-1 by Japan last week.

The team news is in and there’s a senior debut for Everton centre-half Shane Duffy who starts in a back four with Stephen Kelly, Richard Keogh and Marc Wilson in front of David Forde.

Paul Green and Glenn Whelan make up the midfield with Stephen Quinn and Anthony Pilkington, impressive against Italy, likely to occupy the wings.

Captain Robbie Keane returns to partner Kevin Doyle up front.

Ireland: Forde, Keogh, Wilson, Kelly, Duffy, Whelan, Green, Pilkington, Quinn, Keane, Doyle.

The Costa Rica team is: Keylor Navas, Heiner Mora, Giancarlo Gonzalez, Oscar Duarte, Michael Umana, Junior Diaz, Marco Urena, Joel Campbell, Jose Miguel Cubero, Celso Borges, Bryan Ruiz.


Must be off-season for the Dodgeball championships…

The pitch looks to be getting a good watering as the players prepare to take to the field.

Anthems are out of the way and we’re set to kick off. Ireland in their away black strip, Costa Rica wearing all-white.

Ireland Costa RIca

The opening three minutes have seen Costa Rica with the majority of the ball before Robbie Keane attempts a long range effort to catch Navas off his line but it’s wide.

Arsenal’s Joel Campbell, on loan with Olympiacos last season, already looking lively.

Kevin Doyle wins a free-kick after being fouled by Gonzalez and, although the first delivery is cleared, Wilson then whips a ball in from the left which Doyle heads narrowly wide.

Paul Green hasn’t had the greatest of starts. The midfielder has given away possession a couple of times and just went crashing into Cubero.

Ireland win a free on the right side and it’s Whelan to take. He clips the ball to the far post and it is headed forward where Navas punches away.

Costa Rica get numbers forward and Cubero has a pop from 25 yards which is blocked by the head of Green.

GOAL! Ireland 1-0 Costa Rica (Kevin Doyle) 

Doyle does well initially to get ahead of his man and win possession before seeing his cross sent clear. The ball is recycled and Wilson steps inside to cross with his right for the Wolves man to score with an excellent header.

Campbell attempts to find Ruiz but Duffy is on-hand to snuff out the danger.

Giancarlo Gonzalez has been caught by the elbow of Doyle as the pair went for a header. The Columbus Crew defender receives treatment but looks okay to continue.

Here’s the goal (apologies about the quality):

Keogh has to be on his toes to stop a through-ball reaching the run of Diaz.

Borges tries his luck from distance but it’s high and wide.

Costa Rica are growing in confidence and come close when Forde can only palm a cross as far as Borges, who looks to hook the ball in but his shot is slightly too high.

Meanwhile, there’s bad news for Marc Wilson who has just gone off injured for James McClean.

RED CARD FOR COSTA RICA – Gonzalez is given his marching orders after bursting Doyle open with an arm to the head. It’s clearly retaliation for Doyle’s earlier aerial challenge.

A Borges free-kick is misjudged by Forde and Duarte arrives at the back post to head off target.

Half-time: Ireland 1-0 Costa Rica

And we’re back for the second half. Costa Rica bring on Patrick Pemberton (worth checking his passport?) for Navas in goal, Ireland unchanged.

It opens up for Ireland on the edge of the box as Keane drops a shoulder and plays in Quinn. The Hull midfielder’s attempted cut-back doesn’t find a black shirt and an interception is made.

Urena breaks into the Irish box and checks inside before firing over. Then a well-timed challenge from Stephen Kelly is needed to stop Ruiz.

And Campbell has just had a strike on goal saved by Forde during what has been an encouraging spell for the Central Americans.

James McClean, playing left full-back and tasked with marking Campbell, is having a tough time and just picked up a yellow card.

Campbell continuing to cause all sorts of problems for Ireland. He sets off on a mazy run which nearly creates an opening.


GOAL! Ireland 1-1 Costa Rica (Celso Borges) 

Campbell plays in Ruiz and Forde arrives late to bring down the Fulham attacker. Borges makes no mistake from 12 yards.


Just seconds after Costa Rica equalise, Mora delays a clearance and catches Quinn late in the box. Ireland are awarded a penalty of their own and Robbie Keane steps up to take…

His low strike down to Pemberton’s right is SAVED, however!

Ireland's Robbie Keane misses a penalty Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Jeff Hendrick is on for Paul Green and Aiden McGeady replaces Pilkington, meanwhile.

Campbell has been undoubtedly been the man-of-the-match so far and McClean simply can’t handle him. His latest effort forces Forde into a decent save after some trickery in the channel.

Kevin Doyle is being withdrawn as I type with Shane Lon takes his place for the final 20 minutes.

Costa Rica captain Bryan Ruiz is the next man to make way. Christian Bolanos of FC Copenhagen takes his place.

A cross from McClean is flicked goalward by Long but Pemberton saves. Long then attempts to tee-up Quinn but finds a defender in the way.

Urena off, Randall Brenes on.

Long shifts the ball to one side and fires a shot towards the near post where Navas bats behind for a corner.

Two more Irish substitutions – Keane off for Wes Hoolahan and Quinn makes way for Simon Cox.

James McClean will be glad to see the back of Joel Campbell. He has just been withdrawn with Diego Calvo introduced.

Two minutes of added time to play.

Hoolahan creates an opening and finds Long but he drags the strike a good distance wide of the mark.

Full-time: Ireland 1-1 Costa Rica

So Ireland record a second consecutive draw in a week. Holding Italy was looked upon in a positive light but, when you consider they were outplayed at times against ten men in the second half tonight, this performance won’t as pleasing.

It was encouraging to see the team play out from the back more often than not but David Forde didn’t have a night to remember and James McClean looked a weak link in an unfamiliar role at full-back.

That’s my lot, we’ll have more reaction and analysis in the morning. Go get some sleep!

About the author:

Ben Blake