Access exclusive podcasts, interviews and analysis with a monthly or annual membership

Become A Member
Dublin: 8ยฐC Monday 8 March 2021


68,568 Views 93 Comments

We’re just over an hour away from kick-off, as Ireland look to build on an encouraging start to their Euro 2020 campaign.

Though there will be stiffer tests to come, 10 points from 12 would be an excellent position to be in at the halfway stage of qualification.

Anything other than a win would be disastrous, although any inclinations towards complacency will surely be abated by memories of the last time the sides met, as Ireland were made to sweat amid difficult conditions to earn a 1-0 victory last March.

McCarthy has gone with a relatively attacking line-up and the crowd at the Aviva will certainly be expecting more than one goal tonight.

A reminder of how the group looks ahead of this game as well as Denmark-Georgia, which is kicking off simultaneously.


Speaking on RTÉ, Liam Brady is disappointed with the absence of Matt Doherty from tonight’s starting XI.

The Ireland legend believes the in-form Wolves star could have been tried out as a Glenn Whelan-style holding midfielder in tonight’s match.

The Ireland team bus broke down on their way to the stadium.

“It’s the first time the bus has broken down in 960 odds games [as a manager], so it’s not such a bad average,” Mick McCarthy tells RTÉ.

The FAI have spoken to Mick McCarthy ahead of the game.

A seat reserved in tribute for the late RTÉ Sport Radio reporter Pat McAuliffe A seat reserved in tribute for the late RTร‰ Sport Radio reporter Pat McAuliffe. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Good start from Ireland, as they have two corners in quick succession.

Goldwin flaps at the second one and Duffy eventually heads over from Hourihane’s cross at the second attempt.

Moments later, Hogan plays McGoldrick through, but the Sheffield United striker fires over from a tight angle.


Ireland are probing patiently, while Gibraltar are getting bodies behind the ball.

One or two over-anxious final passes have been misplaced, with Jeff Hendrick the most recent culprit.

Meanwhile, Gibraltar are forced into an early change – Bardon replaces Casciaro, after the latter pulled up with a hamstring strain.


Coleman finds Hogan with an incisive pass.

The Aston Villa striker turns away from his marker, but fires his subsequent shot from the edge of the area well wide.


Scott Hogan is caught offside and looks frustrated.

He seemingly wanted Enda Stevens to play the through ball quicker.

Meanwhile, in the group’s other game, Kasper Dolberg has put Denmark 1-0 up against Georgia.


After a decent start, there is an air of frustration creeping into this game from an Irish perspective.

The ball has been given away far too cheaply by the hosts at times.


Hendrick plays through Hogan who again is marginally ruled offside.

It’s a dangerous game that the Gibraltar defence are playing, and you’d think sooner or later, the 27-year-old will time his run correctly.

Moments later, Robinson delivers a good cross in that narrowly misses the head of the lively Hogan.


Olivero is booked for a late challenge on Hourihane on the edge of the area, earning Ireland a free kick in a dangerous position.

However, the Aston Villa man’s subsequent free kick goes straight into the wall.

For once, the Irish team are totally dominant in possession, with 74% of the ball in the opening stages.



Ireland are ahead and it’s McGoldrick who scores what could be his first international goal if it’s officially awarded to him.

The ball breaks kindly for Coleman down the right, and the Everton man picks out McGoldrick on the edge of the area, and the striker’s shot is diverted in after a wicked deflection off Chipolina.


Very close! It’s another Coleman cross and Robinson’s flicked effort is deflected just wide.

There is a real sense of momentum about this Irish display now following the opening goal.


Here’s a look at the opening goal…


McGoldrick crosses low and Hogan collides with Goldwin, after the latter prevents the former from slotting home.

Ireland have upped the tempo and are playing better football in these last few minutes.


Scott Hogan with Kyle Goldwin Ireland's Scott Hogan with goalkeeper Kyle Goldwin of Gibraltar. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO


Gibraltar win a free kick, after Duffy takes out Tjay De Barr.

That’s not the first sloppy foul the Brighton defender has given away. He needs to be careful.


The opening goal has been officially given as a Chipolina own goal, so McGoldrick’s search for a first international goal continues.

As I type, Robinson’s curled effort from the edge of the area goes narrowly wide.


Ireland break, with Hogan in plenty of space down the left.

The Aston Villa man’s final ball is disappointing, however. He tries to thread a ball through to McGoldrick, when he would have been better off looking for an unmarked Robinson at the far post.



So half-time and while it’s been far from inspirational stuff, Ireland deservedly hold the advantage.

The stop-start nature of the game has not helped, but Ireland could do with being more clinical in the final third.

Robinson and Hogan have probably been the most threatening attackers, but it is a fortuitous own goal that sees the hosts lead.

Gibraltar have been stubborn as expected, while offering almost nothing in attack.

“Some decent stuff, but a lot of bad stuff,” according to Liam Brady on RTÉ.


The second half has begun…


Stevens puts the ball straight out of play, as it continues to be a scrappy affair.

Ireland continue to look like the only side interested in scoring, without threatening unduly.


Robinson plays Coleman down the right, but Chipolina is well placed to cut out the Everton man’s cross.

That right-hand side has been Ireland’s best attacking outlet throughout this game.


Callum Robinson reacts to a missed chance Ireland's Callum Robinson reacts to a missed chance. Source: James Crombie/INPHO


Good link-up play between McGoldrick and Coleman. The latter’s cross finds Hogan, but it’s a tame header from the striker.

Meanwhile, a rare Gibraltar attack sees Walker register their first shot on target, but it’s deflected into Randolph’s arms.

Down the other end, Coleman’s cross ricochets off McGoldrick, but it’s an easy save for Goldwin to make.



A few last-ditch blocks stop shots from Hendrick and Robinson hitting the target.

It feels like Ireland could do with a change, as it’s not working especially well at the moment from an attacking perspective.


Gibraltar make a second change.

Pons is replaced by Britto.


Good link-up play between McGoldrick and Hogan sees the latter force a decent save from Goldwin at his near post.

It’s Hogan’s last act of the game, as he’s replaced by Preston’s Sean Maguire.


Enda Stevens is booked for a late challenge on Tjay De Barr.

Meanwhile, Duffy and Maguire are receiving treatment, after clashing while going for the same ball from a corner. It looks like both will be fine to continue.


McClean’s cross goes straight into Goldwin’s arms.

The Stoke winger has not been at his best tonight.


So close! McGoldrick’s shot from the edge of the area clatters off the post.

Somehow, the Sheffield United man still hasn’t scored an international goal.


Ireland make another change.

Robinson, who has been one of Ireland’s better performers, is replaced by Robbie Brady.

The Burnley winger makes an immediate impact, as his dangerous cross is nervously cleared out for a corner by Chipolina.


Gibraltar make a final change.

Jolley is on in place of Hernandez.


James McClean and Tjay De Barr Ireland's James McClean and Tjay De Barr of Gibraltar. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO


McClean gets pulled back as he hits a shot off target, but the referee doesn’t spot the infringement.

Moments later, Duffy heads wide from a Hourihane corner.


McGoldrick finds space but his shot is tame, and it deflects comfortably into the Gibraltar goalkeeper’s path.

Ireland very much look like a side who are struggling for confidence in front of goal.


McClean hoists a ball into the box and Keogh appears to be taken out by Jolley, as he tries to head the ball.

The referee decides not to award a penalty, however.


David McGoldrick may still have to wait to open his international account, but he has the consolation of the man-of-the-match award tonight.

It’s been slim pickings in terms of standout performers tonight for the home side.


Keogh meets Brady’s corner, but it’s straight at Goldwin.

At least it’s a third shot on target of the night for Ireland.



Hourihane sweeps a diagonal ball to McClean.

Goldwin misses the winger’s cross and Brady heads home at the far post.


Right, that’s all from me.

We’ll have more reaction to follow.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

About the author:

Paul Fennessy


This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel