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We went minute-by-minute LIVE from the Aviva Stadium for tonight’s Euro 2012 warm-up match between the Republic of Ireland and the Czech Republic. James McClean was there — were you?

As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts on this evening’s action. E-mail niall@thescore.ie, tweet @thescore_iepost a message to our Facebook wall, or leave a comment below.

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FT: Republic of Ireland 1-1 Czech Republic

Evening all, and welcome to the Aviva Stadium for this evening’s Euro 2012 warm-up match. It’s the Republic of Ireland versus the Czech Republic and — as they say on Sky Sports — IT’S LIVE!

The teams are out on the pitch below me warming up, and I’ve just been handed the team-sheet. Let’s do this.

First things first. We’ll start with the one which you probably already know. Giovanni Trapattoni has made three changes to his Republic of Ireland team from the one which lined out for the second leg against Estonia here in November. Shane Long, Darren O’Dea and Aiden McGeady all start.

Republic of Ireland: Given, St Ledger, O’Shea, O’Dea, Ward, McGeady, Whelan, Andrews, Duff, Long, Keane (c).

And here’s how the Czechs will line out in Dublin tonight. Chelsea stopper Petr Cech and ex-Liverpool and Aston Villa striker Milan Baros are likely to be the most recognisable faces for fans of the Premier League.

Czech Republic: Cech, Gerbreselassie, Kadlec, Limbersky, Sivok, Petrzela, Rezek, Stajner, Plasil, Baros, Jiracek.

Tonight’s opposition are getting ready for their own trip to Poland and Ukraine this summer. Michal Bilek’s side have been drawn in Group A with Poland, Greece and Russia. They’ll fancy themselves to get out of that group I bet, where a slightly tougher quarter-final against either Germany or the Netherlands is likely to await.

In the comments below, Emmomac has commented on the fact that James McClean is yet to be mentioned. Much like the commentator’s curse, I feel compelled to say something about the Sunderland winger now.

Of course, if you’re watching this on Sky Sports as well as checking in with the liveblog, you’ll have noticed that they’ve already had a rather lengthy interview with Mr McClean. We’re expecting him to make an appearance at some stage in the second half — hopefully he gets a run for more than the last 10 minutes.

We’ve had the dignitaries and we’ve had the national anthems. All that’s left for us to do is to play a game of football.

Ireland line out in a 4-4-1-1 with captain Robbie Keane playing in a withdrawn role behind Shane Long — “the Totti role”, as Trap described it.

The Czechs are playing what looks like an attacking 4-5-1, with Petrzela and Rezek pushing on behind Baros.

Showtime — we’re off and running.

Only 37 seconds gone and Ireland have the first chance of the evening. Aiden McGeady is full of tricks out on the left and he hangs one up at the back post for Shane Long. Long’s not under too much pressure but his header’s straight at Cech. That’s an excellent chance missed.

The Czechs string together a nice passing move and they’re very nearly in at the other end. Stajner plays the ball into Baros from deep and nips in behind Stephen Ward’s back to collect the return. He fires a shot in at the near post but it comes back off Given’s legs and behind for a corner.

Another nervy moment at the back for Ireland as Given’s attempted clearance comes straight back off Rezek. It falls kindly though, and the keeper pounces on it before the lurking Stajner can capitalise.

Shane Long is certainly making himself useful in these opening minutes. He’s alert to the quick free-kick and uses it to link up with Duff out wide on the right. The cross is another tempter, but it flies past Robbie Keane and behind for a goal-kick. Keane seemed to be put off by Kadlec’s jump in front of him, but the defender didn’t touch the ball, despite Robbie’s protestations.

A brilliant cross-field pass from Keith Andrews finds Keane in behind the back of the Czech defence. His touch is perfect, but Cech is out to narrow the angles quickly and saves with his feet.

I know we’re only 17 minutes in, but Keane is playing as well as I’ve seen in a long time. He looks sharp, his touch is good, and he really seems to be settling into that deeper role off the main striker. Very encouraging.

Another half-chance for Ireland. Duff whips in a free-kick from the right and O’Shea gets up to beat Kadlec, but his header flashes by the back post.

Glenn Whelan rejoins the action after spending four or five minutes on the line getting treatment for what looks like a bust lip. Petrzela caught him with an elbow-forearm combo by accident, but it all looks to have been taken care of now and Ireland are back to full strength.

32 minutes in, and here comes the first of the Mexican waves. It’s not that bad, is it?

The Czechs have grown into the game in the last 10 minutes or so, and Ireland are spending a lot of time dropping deep to defend their own area while the midfield trio of Plasil, Jiracek and Stajner work the ball back and forth in front of them. So far, so good for Ireland but I’m sure they’d like to be on the ball a bit more.

A couple of minutes to go before half-time and it’s more of the same from both sides. Ireland are dropping so deep that both Gebreselassie and Limbersky are able to push on to within about 25 yards of goal without a care in the world.

Shay Given has to be alive as Rezek cuts back inside John O’Shea and fires in a powerful right-footed shot. Given gets down to make the save, but he can only push it back out in front of him and he’s a little bit fortunate that it misses Baros, the lone Czech forward in the box.

HALF TIME: Ireland 0-0 Czech Republic

Our referee Manuel Jorge Neves Moreira de Sousa (to give him his full title) blows for half-time. It’ll be interesting to see what changes, if any, Trap makes at half-time. McGeady has done alright out on the left, so I’m not sure if we’ll see James McClean straight away.

I’m off to warm my hands. Back in five, but do send in your thoughts to niall@thescore.ie or via Facebook or Twitter. I do like a bit of half-time reading.

We’ve just had a lady propose to her boyfriend of 22 years on the pitch at half-time, what with it being 29 February and all that. Mark Ogden from the Telegraph sums it up better than I can:

We’re back underway here. Just the one change at half-time, and it’s not for Ireland. Jiracek is off and Hubschman is on to replace him. James McClean is still nicely snug in his trackie on the bench.

GOAL! Republic of Ireland 0-1 Czech Republic (Baros, 50′) Oh dear, oh dear. The first real chance of the second half and the Czechs take full advantage. The Irish defence is all over the shop with nobody coming to close Rezek. He holds the ball up until O’Shea gets drawn out of position and then swivels to play Baros in with a lovely pass. Ward is playing him on by a yard or two and, as the rest of the Irish defence throw their hand in the air and look around for a flag, Baros slips it past Given.

Miguel Delaney has described that as “possibly the worst goal that Ireland have conceded under Trapattoni.” He’s normally right about these things.

Long springs the offside trap and has plenty of time out wide on the left. Instead of crossing to Keane in the box, he pulls it back to Duff on the edge of the area, but his curling effort is high and wide.

Two more changes for the Czechs. Kolar and Lafata on for Stajner and the goalscorer, Baros.

Trap is preparing his first change of the evening and it looks like it’s going to be… Stephen Hunt. Hold your fire, McClean fans.

It’s actually a double substitution for Ireland. Whelan and Duff go off, Green and Hunt come on.

And just in case anyone needed reminding, the Sky cameras cut to a shot of James McClean and Shane Duffy chatting away on the bench.

Two more changes for the Czechs: Rajtoral and Pilar on for Gebreselassie and Petrzela.

Nothing much else to report…

Oooh, that really could’ve been the equaliser for Ireland. It’s McGeady again who provides the cross, finding Darren O’Dea who jumps uncontested six yards out only to head the ball straight at Cech. Almost a carbon copy of Long’s chance in the first minute.

And there’s another chance for Ireland — Keith Andrews with a daisy-cutter from almost 30 yards out. Straight at Cech.

Cox and Walters come on to replace Keane and Doyle up front for the final 20 minutes. Walters’s first contribution is to win a long ball, teeing it up for Paul Green who forces Cech to get down to stop his shot from the edge of the box.

The fresh legs have given Ireland a bit of zip up front. Walters stands his ground against Kadlec, but the Czech centre-half goes down like he’s been shot. Which he hasn’t, obviously. That would be serious.

Tonight’s attendance is 37,741. Not too shabby for a friendly.

Some suspect defending by Ireland there. The Czech right-full Rajtoral makes an absolute monkey out of Hunt inside the box, and then just as it looks like the danger is cleared, Andrews tries to back-heel the ball to safety. Silly stuff.

As the Pixies once sang, “Here comes your man”. James McClean is on to replace Aiden McGeady for the final 12 minutes, and it sounds like every single one of the 37,741 in the ground tonight is on the feet. He looks nice and relaxes as Alan Kelly gives him a pat on the shoulder and sends him on his way.

And another huge roar as he takes his first touch in an Irish jersey and drives at the Czech defence. He must be loving this.

That was a real chance for the Czechs to put this game to bed. Again it’s Rajtoral who drives on from the back, this time showing Ward a clean pair of heels in the area. He cuts the ball back to Lafata, but his first-time shot is a yard or so past Shay Given’s left upright.

GOAL! Ireland 1-1 Czech Republic (Cox, 86′) And finally the breakthrough comes. It’s a chance out of nothing, as Andrews nicks the ball away from the substitute Kolar about 20 yards and plays it through to Simon Cox. He takes just one touch, an absolute doozy which brings him back inside Tomas Sivok, before sliding it past Cech. Wonderful stuff by Cox.

We’re in to the first of two minutes of added time.

James McClean steps on to a loose ball in the middle of the pitch and for a moment, it looks like we could be in for a real fairytale ending. SHOOOOOOO-it comes back off the defender.

FULL TIME: Republic of Ireland 1-1 Czech Republic

That’s the lot. It’s a result that most of us would’ve gladly accepted 10 minutes ago, but the first quarter aside, Ireland weren’t overly impressive tonight.

In defence, they looked well-organised and resilient for the most part, but there were some very obvious lapses in concentration, particularly for the Czech goal. How they will fare against a team with a bit more attacking nous is another matter completely.

John O’Shea is your man of the match, but Simon Cox will probably grab most of the headlines. He took his goal superbly, and definitely did his chances of a seat on the plane no harm.

We even got to see James McClean for a bit.

I’m off to see what Signor Trapattoni has to say for himself. Stay with us for more reaction and analysis of tonight’s performance.

About the author:

Niall Kelly

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