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Dublin: 5°C Wednesday 2 December 2020
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Ireland warm up for Scotland showdown with a scoreless draw against lacklustre English

We’ll need more than this next week.

Martin O'Neill shouts instructions from the sideline.
Martin O'Neill shouts instructions from the sideline.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Ireland 0 England 0

AFTER AN EVENT-packed week for Irish football, the Boys in Green and England managed to play out a game that was almost devoid of any incident this afternoon.

Both sides have more pressing issues in the coming days — Ireland welcome Scotland to Dublin and England are in Slovenia. But Martin O’Neill and Roy Hodgson surely hoped for more intensity from this warm-up game ahead of their respective Euro 2016 qualifiers.

Jack Charlton was presented to the crowd before the kick-off and was moved to tears by the stadium’s standing ovation.

The England anthem was then jeered by a section of the crowd before we kicked off and we witnessed a soporific affair which was worthy of the Sunday lunchtime billing.

O’Neill will be happy that Daryl Murphy looked industrious if wasteful. Harry Arter was introduced to make his senior bow. And Robbie Brady had a better day at the office than last time out.

England failed to match the standards of their nine-match unbeaten run since the World Cup last year and will need improvement to maintain their 100 per cent record in Group E next weekend.

Ryan Bertrand made his first England start at senior level, while Ipswich Town duo Murphy and David McGoldrick paired up front for Ireland with Robbie Keane not involved due to LA Galaxy commitments.

Both sides knocked the ball around with confidence, but it took 26 minutes for the first goalscoring opportunity to be created and it came the way of Ireland.

Murphy is still waiting for his first international goal, but the striker came close with a left-footed effort from inside the penalty area that Joe Hart got a fingertip to a full stretch, but a goal-kick was awarded.

Adam Lallana cut in from the left and let fly with a rasping right-foot drive that was off target two minutes before the end of the first half.

Wayne Rooney spurned a golden chance to move just a goal short of Bobby Charlton’s record tally of 49 England goals three minutes into the second half but a heavy touch on the edge of the area let him down.

Harry Arter with Ross Barkley Ireland's Harry Arter with Ross Barkley of England. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Half-time substitute James McClean caused panic in the England penalty area when he delivered a dangerous free-kick that was bundled behind by Hart.

It’s another draw between the sides — that’s five and an abandonment in the last six — and England haven’t beaten Ireland since 1985.

But a draw will be no good for the Irish come next Saturday.

More to follow 

Jack Charlton was moved to tears by a standing ovation at Lansdowne Road

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