06.02.2013 at 19:45 Aviva Stadium
Republic of Ireland
2 - 0
Referee: Sebastien Delferiere (Belgium),
Paul Mc Shane
James Mc Carthy
James Mc Clean
Boruc (Szczesny 46);
Republic of Ireland 2 Poland 0
Stats Debut for Richard Keagh Jeff Hendrick and Conor Sammon
The Republic of Ireland got 2013 off to a winning start at the Aviva Stadium when goals in either half from Ciaran Clarke and Wes Hoolahan gave them a well deserved win over Poland.
The Polish community in Ireland turned out in their thousands, in scenes that were reminiscent of Irish trips to America in the past, but they had little to shout about on a night when Giovanni Trapattoni's new-look team produced an extremely encouraging performance ahead of the crucial FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Sweden and Austria.
The 43,100 who packed into the Aviva Stradium for the first senior international of 2013 saw the Polesdominate the early exchanges but for all their possession they found it difficult to break down an Irish side that worked hard defensively.
The Poles best chance of the first half came in the 29th minute when midfielder Szymon Pawlowski released striker Robert Lewandowski, who looked suspiciously offside. The flag didn't go up as he bored down on goal but David Forde came off his line quickly and made a great block as the Borussia Dortmund player tried to shoot past him.
Either side of that opportunity were two other chances for Poland which came as a result of poor clearances by Forde. The first, after 18 minutes, saw a shot by Ludovic Obraniak deflected for a corner and the second, after 37 minutes, saw the Ireland goalkeeper redeem himself with a superb one-handed save from Lewandowski.
Robbie Brady volleyed across the face of goal in the 22nd minutes before Ireland opened the scoring after 35 minutes from their first corner of the game. The ball was whipped in from the left by James McClean, Ciaran Clarke headed the ball goalwards and Shane Long flicked it on only for Polish goalkeeper Artur Borus to parry. But the rebound fell to the feet of Clarke and he side-footed the ball into the net from ten yards for his first senior international goal.
The Poles made three changes at half time, including the introduction of Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szezesny for Boruc, while Trapattoni brought on Paul Green for Glenn Whelan in midfield.
Sxezesny was called into action very quickly as three minutes into the second half he was forced to make a superb finger-tip save to touch a stinging drive from James McCarthy over the crossbar.
A little later he dived at the feet of Sammon after a mistake by a defender had given the Derby County striker a great opportunity to mark his debut with a goal only for his touch to let him down.
Wes Hoolahan was introduced after 62 minutes in place of Shane Long and was later joined by Jonathon Walters and Jeff Hendrick who came in as replacements for Brady and McCarthy respectively in the 71st minute.
Hendrick, making his senior debut, took only five minutes to make an impression with a piece of sublime skill and vision that created Ireland's second goal. A free-kick from the left by McCarthy was half-cleared by the Polish defence and Hendrick showed tremendous awareness in controlling the dropping ball on his chest and then picking out Hoolahan on the opposite side with a pin-point pass that the Norwich player ran on to and controlled beautifully before shooting left-footed past the keeper.
There will still time to give Richard Keogh his international debut when he came on as a substitute for Clarke while Belgian referee Sebastien Delferiere booked Poland's Kamil Glick and Ludovic Obraniak and Ireland's James McCarthy and Greg Cunningham during the game.
Trapattoni will have every reason to be pleased with a performance which yielded a win, a clean sheet, some excellent individual performances and a boost in confidence ahead of next month's tricky double-header.
Republic of Ireland: David Forde; Paul McShane, John O'Shea, Ciaran Clark, Greg Cunningham, Robbie Brady, James McCarthy, Glenn Whelan, James McClean, Shane Long, Conor Sammon. Subs: Paul Green for Whelan (46), Wes Hoolahan for Long (62), Jeff Hendrick for McCarthy (71), Jonathon Walters for Brady (71). Simon Cox for McClean (81), Richard Keogh for Clarke (85)
Poland: Boruc (Szczesny 46); Perquis, Glik, Boenisch (Grosicki 46),, Wawrzyniak, Lukasik (Mierzejewski 76), Krychowiak, Blaszczykowski, Obraniak (Milik 60), Pawlowski (Wasilewski 46), Lewandowski,
Referee: Sebastien Delferiere (Belgium),
Assistants: Yves De Neve (Belgium) & Gregory Crotteux (Belgium)
Fourth Official: Neil Doyle (Ireland).
From Sky Sports
Ciaran Clark and Wes Hoolahan scored their first senior international goals as Republic of Ireland beat Poland 2-0 in a friendly in the Aviva Stadium to end a two-match home losing run.
Clark scored the opener ten minutes before the interval against the run of play after Poland could only partially clear James McClean's corner.
Earlier Robert Lewandowski had a great opportunity to put the visitors ahead when played in one-on-one with David Forde but the Ireland keeper got down well to block with his legs and clear the danger.
Hoolahan then made sure of the win with an accomplished finish on 76 minutes after fellow substitute Jeff Hendrick had picked him out in the box.
The scoreline in Dublin perhaps flattered Giovanni Trapattoni's men, who were decidedly second best before the break.
However, goalkeeper Forde responded to the challenge of being brought into the starting line-up with a series of important saves to keep them in it.
Trapattoni praises new players
Then soon after the restart, James McCarthy sent a side-footed effort towards goal, only for substitute keeper Wojciech Szczesny to make a fine fingertip save.
As the game wore on, the hosts grew in confidence and finished strongly to remind their fans of the heady days before a disastrous Euro 2012 campaign when they were difficult to beat.
They might have extended their lead with 62 minutes gone when defender Damien Perquis sliced McClean's cross straight to Conor Sammon. He homed in on goal, but took a heavy touch as he prepared to shoot and Szczesny pounced to intercept.
But Hoolahan made no mistake 14 minutes from time after controlling the ball on his chest before volleying past the helpless Szczesny to seal the win.
While Trapattoni will restore his tried and tested players to the starting line-up for next month's crucial World Cup qualifiers against Sweden and Austria, he will do so confident that his options appear to have increased.