26.05.2012 at 15:00 Aviva Stadium
Republic of Ireland
1 - 0
Referee: Mr. N. Haenni (Switzerland).
Friendly / Prog-match
Republic of Ireland 1-0 Bosnia & Herzegovina
Shane Long 78
Shane Long and Aiden McGeady combined to send the Republic of Ireland off to the EURO 2012 finals in confident and ambitious mood by conjuring up a classic second half goal before 37,100 spectators at sun-splashed Aviva Stadium.
Long headed in a glorious goal from McGeady's beautiful cross in the 78th minute as the fans rose to salute a confident and encouraging performance by Ireland. They looked sharp and well-organised as ever on the eve of their departure to the training camp in Italy where Giovanni Trapattoni and Marco Tardelli will fine-tune Ireland's championship preparations.
Ireland were always the more likely team against a neat and constructive Bosnia. They were strong and purposeful in the opening half after a tentative opening during which Bosnia twice were close to scoring in the early minutes. They threatened especially when Lulic pulled a ball back from the end line in the ninth minute for Medunjanin to strike a shot narrowly over from 18 yards.
Ireland soon put these early moments of indecision behind them to exert control on the pace and the trend of the game. Darron Gibson was particularly prominent and with Glenn Whelan they took advantage of the space afforded them in central midfield to dictate matters.
Ireland spread the play well with Damien Duff wide on the right and James McClean, in his first start with the senior team, running the left-wing effectively, McClean was particularly useful by working hard to support Stephen Ward at left-back and Ireland looked well organised and efficient.
Ireland had strong claims for a penalty refused after 14 minutes when Whelan drove into the penalty area and knocked the ball past goalkeeper Begovic before he was sent flying. Duff had similar claims denied after 45 minutes when he took a clever reverse pass from Keane to fire a shot against the goalkeeper's body before he was sent tumbling and Ireland would not have been flattered to lead.
They were still scoreless at the half-time whistle despite a powerful effort from James McClean from a narrow angle that the goalkeeper was happy to turn around the near upright in the 42nd minute and a header from Gibson from a McClean corner that the goalkeeper saved on the call of half-time.
Ireland's control of the game grew throughout the second half and the substitutes introduced by manager Trapattoni made a hugely positive impression. Without exception they brought fresh impetus to Ireland with the new strike force of Shane Long and Jon Walters causing Bosnia many problems.
Aiden McGeady also made a big impact. He operated initially on the left wing with McClean switching to the right and McGeady almost scored with his first touch. Doyle headed the ball down to McGeady near the penalty spot and his right foot shot rebounded off an upright.
The woodwork came to Bosnia's rescue again in the 74th minute. McGeady spun the ball across the penalty area from the right wing and Walters rose high to power a header against the crossbar.
McGeady would not be contained by the hard-working Bosnia defence and he worked his way clear again in the 78th minute to cross to the far post. The athletic Long rose above the defence to head the ball home in exemplary style.
Ireland took encouragement from this goal to go looking for a second and they were close on a couple of occasions. It looked as if Long would claim a second goal in the dying minutes when again McGeady crossed and Long's header was brilliantly parried by goalkeeper Begovic.
Begovic reacted instantly to knock the ball away and Long was just as quick as he turned to retrieve it. He clipped it back from the right of goal and Gibson stormed forward to get his head to the ball only to see it fly narrowly over.
Ireland were uniformly good throughout the field and their calm and constructive work meant they were secure in defence and always threatening up front.
They would not have been flattered had they won more convincingly on the scoreboard and they soaked up the encouragement extended by the enthusiastic fans as they waved their goodbyes on the eve of their departure to Italy and on to the EURO 2012 finals.
Republic of Ireland: Keiren Westwood (Sunderland); Paul McShane Crystal Palace), Richard Dunne (Aston Villa), Darren O'Dea (Leeds Utd), Stephen Ward (Wolves); Damien Duff (Fulham), Glenn Whelan (Stoke City), Darron Gibson (Everton), James McClean (Sunderland); Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy), Kevin Doyle (Wolves).
Substitutions: Aiden McGeady (Spartak Moscow) foir Duff 46, Keith Andrews (West Brom) for Whelan 46, Shane Long (West Brom) for Keane 62, John Walters (Stoke City) for Doyle 62, Sean St. Ledger (Leicester City) for Dunne 70, Stephen Kelly (Fulham) for McShane 78.
Bosnia & Herzegovina: Begovic: Mujdza, Jahic, Pandza, Lulic; Pjanic, Rahimic, Medunjanin, Misimovic; Ibisevic, Dzeko. Substitutions: Vrancic for Medunjanin 46, Stevanovic for Rahimic 46, Zahirovic for Mujdza 56, Vranjes for Ibisevic 70, Alispahic for Misimovic 82.
Referee: Mr. N. Haenni (Switzerland).