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GEORGIA ARE IN town for a meeting with Ireland at Lansdowne Road.

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Ireland 4-0 Georgia

Good afternoon and welcome along. It brings me great pleasure to report that the weather in Dublin 4 is extremely pleasant (for a change). Those who turned up early were rewarded with a 2 for 1 as Sheriff YC defeated rivals Kilbarrack United in the FAI Junior Cup final.

Having played a large part of the match with a man down after David Browne was sent off, Sheriff held out for a 0-0 draw and won a dramatic penalty shootout 5-4 to retain the cup.

Sheriff’s Joseph O’Neill in the face of John Meleady after he misses a penalty for Kilbarrack in normal time. Credit: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

In this afternoon’s main event, Ireland take on Georgia in a warm-up for Friday’s World Cup qualifier with the Faroe Islands. We’re 45 minutes away from kick-off.

Team sheet has just arrived on my desk here.

Ireland: Keiren Westwood, Paul McShane, Richard Keogh, Damien Delaney, Marc Wilson, Andy  Keogh, Wes Hoolahan, James McCarthy, James McClean, Simon Cox, Shane Long.

Georgia: Giogi Loria, Ucha Lobjanidze, Akaki Khubutia, Zurab Khizanishvili, Dato Kvirkvelia, Guram Kashia, Murtaz Daushvili, Jaba Kankava (c), Jano Ananidze, Alexander Kobakhidze, Nicholas Gelashvili.

Giovanni Trapattoni named an experimental starting XI yesterday with the big news being the inclusion of Wes Hoolahan alongside James McCarthy in midfield. After scoring at Wembley on Friday, Shane Long is handed the captain’s armband for the first time.

Georgia’s manager is follicly-challenged former Newcastle United striker Temuri Ketsbaia.

Credit: Press Association

Who remembers the time he celebrated a goal by attacking the advertising board?

YouTube credit: julienlsk

The teams are about to emerge from the dressing room and the Aviva Stadium is looking extremely bare. Will be interesting to hear the official attendance number.

After a minute’s applause for Tony Grealish, the former international who recently passed away, we’re about to kick off. Ireland wearing their new black kit, Georgia in all-white.

Georgia create an early chance when Nicholas Gelashvili theronto a long ball and shoots across goal from an acute angle with Westwood in no man’s land. Decent effort.

Marc Wilson ventures forward from left-back and tries his luck from distance but it flies over. James McClean’s cross is taken off the head of Shane Long before the Tipperary native makes contact on the second attempt – this time it is Andy Keogh who sends in the delivery.

Long picks up a loose pass from the Georgia backline and races through on goal. The West Brom striker looks certain to score but his shot is too central and Loria makes the block. Super chance.

Wilson is determined to get his name on the scoresheet today. The Stoke defender blasts another strike from out left which goes a few yards past the far post.

RED CARD FOR GEORGIA! Goalkeeper Loria is off for taking down Long and Ireland have a free-kick on the edge of the box.

Credit: INPHO/Donall Farmer

The play is held up for a few minutes as substitute stopper Omar Migineishvili comes on for Jano Ananidze to make his senior debut.

It’s McClean with the free-kick and he forces Migineishvili into a brilliant save with his first touch of the ball.

The biggest cheer of the afternoon so far is for Richard Dunne, who is warming up on the sideline. The veteran defender hasn’t played competitively since Euro 2012.

With the extra man, Ireland are in control here but have been guilty of a series of misplaced passes in the opposing half.

GOAL! Ireland 1-0 Georgia (Richard Keogh)

Ireland are ahead. Long wins a free-kick 25 yards out and McClean stands over it. His cross is a good one and is met by the head of Richard Keogh, who scores his first goal Ireland.

There will be two minutes of added time before half-time.

Half-time: Ireland 1-0 Georgia

The League of Ireland mascots have a dance-off to Gangnam Style during the break. The winner? Hooperman.

The second half has just started and Ireland skipper Robbie Keane is on for Andy Keogh with Simon Cox being move to the right. Long holds onto the armband.

GOAL! Ireland 2-0 Georgia (Simon Cox)

Wes Hoolahan picks out McClean with an excellent pass, who fizzes a ball across the goalmouth. Cox arrives late from his wide position and sidefoots over the line.

Sub for Georgia – Daushvili makes way for Irkli Dazaria.

That is class from Hoolahan. The Norwich schemer threads a terrific pass through for Long, whose early shot is saved by Migineishvili.

Wilson cross for Long but he can’t keep his header down from 8 yards out. Irakli Maisvradze comes on for Gelashvili.

Ireland are beginning to play some decent football and a great move ends with Cox volleying narrowly wide.

And here comes Richard Dunne. Wearing 28, centre-half makes his first appearance since the defeat to Italy last summer with Wilson making way.

Aiden McGeady has also joined the action – taking the place of James McClean.

Derby duo Conor Sammon and Jeff Hendrick join their club mate Richard Keogh on the field with James McCarthy and Shane Long being withdrawn.

Substitute number 5 for Georgia: George Podkhadze on, Dato Kvirkvelia off.

20 minutes on the clock.

Hoolahan is given a great reception as he leaves the pitch for Stephen Quinn, making his senior debut.

GOAL! Ireland 3-0 Georgia (Robbie Keane)

On his 125th appearance, Ireland’s record goalscorer adds another. A terrible mistake gifts Sammon possession and he squares to Keane, who strokes home from a couple of yards out.

GOAL! Ireland 4-0 Georgia (Robbie Keane)

Hendrick has impressed since coming in and he sets Keane up for his second of the night with a strong run and smart pass. The LA Galaxy man rolls the ball into the bottom corner.

Full-time: Ireland 4-0 Georgia

It’s a win against poor opposition who played the majority of the game with 10 men. Some impressive performances and a good chance to give several player who have been on the fringes.

Next up, the Faroe Islands on Friday. That’s all from me, we’ll have post-match reaction later this evening.

About the author:

Ben Blake