17.11.2007 at 15:00 Millenium Park
2 - 2
Republic of Ireland
Referee: Oleh Oriekhov (Ukraine)
European Cup Qualifier / PROG-match
Wayne Hennessey (Woves),
Neale Eardley (Oldham Ath),
Joe Ledley (Cardiff City),
Danny Gabbidon (West Ham),
James Collins (West Ham),
Chris Gunter (Cardiff City),
Carl Fletcher (Crystal Pal),
Jason Koumas (Wigan Ath,
Freddy Eastwood (Wolves),
Simon Davies (Fulham),
Carl Robinson (Toronto.)
Paul Mc Shane
Aidan Mc Geady
David Edwards (Luton T)for Fletcher (37 mins), Jermaine Easter (Wycombe W) for Eastwood (58 mins) and David Cotterill (Wigan Athletic) for Eardley (81 mins)
Steve Hunt -> Liam Miller (60)
Darren Potter -> Andy Reid (87)
Saturday 17th November
2008 UEFA Championship Group D Qualifier
Wales 2-2 Republic of Ireland
The Republic of Ireland were denied victory in Cardiff by a late Wales penalty goal in their final Euro 2008 qualifier.
With two minutes of the tie at the Millennium Stadium remaining, Ukrainian referee Oleh Oriekhov awarded a spot-kick after Paul McShane was adjudged to have brought down Welsh substitute David Cotterill illegally in the box. The incident arose after the pair became involved in a chase for the ball from the half-way line.
Jason Koumas, by far Wales’ best player on the day, blasted home the penalty to Shay Given’s right, sending the goalkeeper the wrong way.
Conceding late goals away from home has cost Ireland before in this campaign, notably in Bratislava in September when a replica occurred. Ireland, holding onto a 2-1 lead with the seconds ticking away, lost the lead with a last-gasp leveller.
The goal was a blot on an otherwise enjoyable afternoon for the Irish, working under the management of caretaker manager Don Givens for this concluding Group D match.
Ireland’s strike partnership of Robbie Keane and Kevin Doyle had a fruitful day, both finding the net. Givens was keen for Aiden McGeady to carry his stellar club form with Celtic into the game and he produced the goods by setting up numerous chances from raiding bursts down the flank.
Wales manager John Toshack deployed Freddy Eastwood in a lone striker’s role, allowing Koumas to have greater freedom as the fifth midfielder.
The Wigan Athletic man was the key player for the hosts, not alone for his two goals, but also stirring them into a late rally when defeat looked a distinct possibility.
He headed his team into the lead after 23 minutes with a goal that, it has to be said, came against the run of play.
Robbie Keane tested Wales ‘keeper Wayne Hennessey with an early shot from 30 yards after two minutes and four minutes later, he availed of a superb cut-back from McGeady to apply a header from eight yards but once more Hennessey dealt with the danger comfortably.
A flowing move from Ireland in the 11th minute culminated with the ball landing at the edge of the penalty area where Andy Reid unleashed a first-time shot that was charged down by Carl Robinson, who had to be substituted as a consequence nine minutes before the break.
Wales began to click too and fashioned an opening shortly afterwards. Chris Gunter was released down the left before whipping in a cross from the left to the unmarked Joe Ledley. The Cardiff City man steadied himself and attempted to shoot from close-range but his effort was scuffed and Jason Koumas latched onto the loose ball and lashed wide of Shay Given’s post from the right.
A similar passage of play led to the opening goal after 23 minutes. Ledley paced beyond Steve Finnan before he found Koumas was a delicate cross and the midfielder guided a header back across goal and into the far corner of the net beyond from a dive of Shay Given.
Carl Fletcher ballooned a shot over for Wales soon after and Kevin Doyle saw a sot blocked at the other end by a defender but Ireland drew level eight minutes later.
Doyle was central to the build-up, controlling Finnan’s headed clearance and feeding a pass through to Keane. The Ireland captain still had work to do as he cut across James Collins and chipped the ball past Hennessey.
Ireland were the brisker of the teams in the second half, dominating for long spells, but Given was still kept busy. He turned over a looping header by substitute David Edwards that deflected off McShane two minutes after the restart.
Don Givens made his first change after 59 minutes, replacing Liam Miller with Stephen Hunt. McGeady switched to the right-wing to accommodate the Reading man’s introduction on the left and he had an immediate affect.
Keane found Hunt on the flank for his first touch and he curled an inviting cross into the space behind the Wales defence and there was Kevin Doyle to stab the ball home off the right post with his knee.
The club and country colleagues, Hunt and Doyle, celebrated in front of the vocal Irish support and they sensed victory.
Koumas took a more active role in trying to rescue the game for Wales and, with 20 minutes left, he brought the best out of Given with a thunderous shot from all of 30 yards that the Newcastle stopper palmed out for a corner.
Two minutes later, Hunt won a free-kick for Ireland 25 yards from goal and Andy Reid stepped up to angle the effort past the 'keeper but marginally wide of the right post.
Koumas then tried his luck on 75 minutes, stinging the palms of Given once again when he belted a free-kick from a central position.
Wales manager John Toshack opted to put some height into his attack for the final ten minutes by thrusting striker David Cotterill of Wigan Athletic into the fray in place of defender Eardley.
Hunt set up another chance for Ireland with seven minutes left, spotting Keane inside the box with a clever pass from the left but the Ireland skipper scooped his shot on the turn and it skied over from ten yards.
McGeady also went close to making it 3-1 as the game entered the final five minutes. The Celtic winger seized upon a stray pass and drilled a low shot which the Hennessey finger-tipped wide for a corner.
Two minutes were left on the clock when McShane tangled with Cotterill is the box and a penalty was awarded. Koumas had the air of a player in form and he made no mistake from 12 yards.
It was a disappointing way to complete the match but as Irish captain Robbie Keane conceded in his post-match interview, it summed up the campaign for the Republic.
Republic of Ireland: Shay Given (Newcastle United), Steve Finnan (Liverpool), Paul McShane (Sunderland), John O’Shea (Manchester United), Kevin Kilbane (Wigan Athletic), Liam Miller (Sunderland), Lee Carsley (Everton), Andy Reid (Charlton Athletic), Aiden McGeady (Celtic), Robbie Keane (Tottenham Hotspur), Kevin Doyle (Reading).
Substitutions: Stephen Hunt (Reading) for Miller (59 mins), Darren Potter (Wolverhampton Wanderers) for Reid (87 minutes). Subs not used: Anthony Stokes (Sunderland), Daryl Murphy (Sunderland), Joe Murphy (Scunthorpe United), Alex Bruce (Ipswich Town), Darren O’Dea (Celtic).
Wales:Wayne Hennessey (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Neale Ardley (Oldham Athletic), Joe Ledley (Cardiff City), Danny Gabbidon (West Ham United), James Collins (West Ham United), Chris Gunter (Cardiff City), Carl Fletcher (Crystal Palace), Jason Koumas (Wigan Athletic), Freddy Eastwood (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Simon Davies (Fulham), Carl Robinson (Toronto).
Substitutions: David Edwards (Luton Town) for Fletcher (37 mins), Jermaine Easter (Wycombe Wanderers) for Eastwood (58 mins) and David Cotterill (Wigan Athletic) for Eardley (81 mins). Subs not used: Lewis Price (Derby County), Andrew Crofts (Gillingham), Craig Morgan (Peterborough United), Steve Evans (Wrexham).