As it happened - Ireland 2-0 Poland

Updated: Wednesday, 06 Feb 2013 22:10

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The Republic of Ireland put 2012's disappointment behind them with a solid 2-0 victory over Poland at the Aviva Stadium. See how the action unfolded here.

By Rob Wright
Email: sportonline@rte.ie Tweet: @RTEsoccer #rtesoccer

Ireland 2-0 Poland
Clark 39, Hoolahan 75

21:40

Full-time: Ireland 2-0 Poland

Not a bad night's work all in all and a result that will go some way to lifting the gloom that had been settling over the Irish side. After struggling to get into the game for the first 30 minutes, Ireland slowly imposed themselves on proceedings and in the end were worthy winners. 

With two players scoring their first international goals and three others earning their first Irish caps, the future may be slightly brighter than many had believed.

21:37

90+1 mins: A through ball from Milik momentarily looks to have caught the Irish defence napping but it's over-hit and Forde safely sees it out.

21:36

88 mins: Polish heads have dropped and there could be another goal here for Ireland if they were inclined to chase it. Sammon looks to have set Cox in on goal, but the referee calls back play for a shove by the Derby forward.

21:33

87 mins: A healthy attendance of 43,112 is announced as the final moments are played out. Not bad for a friendly on a cold February night.

21:32

85 mins: It's a third Irish debut for a Derby player as Richard Keogh comes in for goalscorer Ciaran Clark. Keogh is the 34th player to earn his first cap under Trapattoni.

21:29

82 mins: You know that part in a midweek international friendly when all the substitutions have been made, the result has all but been decided and players thoughts turn to their club games at the weekend? Well that's what's going on now.

21:23

79 mins: Simon Cox is the latest Irish change as he comes on for James McClean.

21:21

75 mins: GOAL Ireland, Hoolahan

Substitutes Wes Hoolahan and Jeff Hendrick combine to make an immediate impact with a fine goal. An Irish freekick from the left is headed clear towards Hendrick. The Derby midfielder takes the ball down on his chest before expertly lifting it over the Polish defence and into the path of Hoolahan. The Norwich man then controls the ball and lets it bounce before rifling an angled volley past Szczesny, who manages to get fingertips to it but can't keep it out of the net.

21:18

71 mins: More changes and Jeff Hendrick earns his first Ireland cap as he comes on for McCarthy, while Jon Walters replaces Brady.

21:17

69 mins: A promising Irish passing move breaks down as McShane just sort of runs into a Polish defender before falling down. He tries, but God help him, he looks so awkward with the ball at his feet.

21:14

68 mins: Poland break menacingly down the right through the ever threatening Lewandowski, but his ball into the box is poor and Forde scoops it up before clearing upfield.

21:13

66 mins: Brady wastes Irish possession just outside the Polish half with a wildly optimistic shot that was never really on.

21:12

64 mins: A flare is thrown from the stands into David Forde's penalty area as a Polish attack breaks down. The referee doesn't seemed bothered by it however and it falls to a Polish player to throw it off the pitch.

21:11

63 mins: Hoolahan is finally introduced and it's Shane Long who makes way. It hasn't been Long's best night in an Ireland jersey.

21:08

61 mins: Conor Sammon really should have scored on his debut. The Derby striker has the goal at his mercy after a terrible attempted clearance from Perquis dropped the ball at his feet in the box. Sammon elects to run with it rather than hitting it first time and his touch is poor, allowing Szczesny to snuff out the chance.

21:07

58 mins: McCarthy is booked for a foul on Krychowiak. It's a clever foul that disrupts a Poland break.

21:05

57 mins: Another change for Poland as Arkaduisz Milik comes on for Obrianiak. Those changes have upset Poland's rhythm and Ireland have had much more time on the ball in the second half.

21:03

55 mins: McShane gives away a free-kick in a dangerous area out on the left after a stray elbow catches Lewandowski. It looked more clumsy than malicious but Poland's Obrianiak is booked for getting involved afterwards.

The free-kick itself is a poor one and Ireland clear with ease.

20:59

52 mins: Wes Hoolahan is still on the bench. We shouldn't be surprised really but it's still faintly depressing.

20:56

48 mins: An early chance for Ireland. McClean delivers a teasing cross into the penalty area which McShane heads back towards McCarthy. The Wigan midfielder picks his spot on forces Szczesny to tip the ball over the bar.

20:53

46 mins: Both managers are busy at the break and change things up. Paul Green is introduced for Glenn Whelan while Poland make three substitutions. Artur Boruc makes way for Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, while Glik and Pawlowski are replaced by Grosicki and Wasilewski.

20:50

Senan Corbett emails: "Hello from all the Cumann Warszawa GAA team shouting on the Boys in Green in a snowy Warsaw. Lucky to be ahead but we'll take 1-0!"

20:46

It took a while to get going but the game is warming up nicely. Ireland have been second best for most of the opening half but looked an improved side after going in front. If they can continue to improve in the second half and keep the ball a little bit more, they may be able to hold onto this lead.

20:35

Half-time: Glik's at the centre of things again and this time is penalised for a foul on Greg Cunningham, giving Ireland a free-kick in a promising position on the left. Brady delivers the ball into the Polish box, but the visitors deal well with it and clear. 

The referee then blows to bring the half to a close.

20:33

43 mins: Glik is booked for a fierce studs-up challenge on McClean. It's a nasty challenge and you have to wonder if he may have seen more than just yellow if this wasn't a friendly.

20:29

41 mins: Long needs attention and looks as if he has a dead leg after taking a knee from Kamil Glik in his thigh. He should be fine to continue. 

20:24

39 mins: Poland, looking for an immediate response, see Forde make a fine save from Lewandowski who then has a penalty shout. The Borussia Dortmund player goes to ground in the Irish box under a challenge from goalscorer Clark, but the referee tells him to get up and replays prove it's the right call. 

20:19

34 mins: GOAL! Ireland, Clark

McClean, who has been poor thus far, wins a corner off Perquis, which he takes himself. The Sunderland midfielder whips the ball into the penalty area and a weak Polish header sees the ball drop to Long. His first time flick comes back off Boruc but Long, now on the ground, has another effort which is deflected into the path of Ciaran Clark and he sidefoots the ball home.

20:14

29 mins: Paul McShane is caught in possession, hopelessly out of position, and a simple ball forward suddenly has Poland on a break with five players against three Irish defenders.

The ball is chipped forward for Lewandowski to chase and he gets to it easily but Forde does well to stay on his feet, saving smartly to deny the Borussia Dortmund forward.

20:12

26 mins: There's no leadership out there for Ireland at the moment. The ball is being given away far too softly, the midfield and forwards are slow in closing down and Poland are dominating the game without having to do anything special.

20:11

Elsewhere tonight, Gareth Bale has given Wales the lead against Ireland's World Cup qualifying group rivals Austria. It's 1-0 there.

20:11

23 mins: Robbie Brady has a snap-shot from long range but it sails harmlessly wide.

20:08

21 mins: The visiting fans have been passing a massive Polish flag around the stadium ever since the game kicked-off. It's done at least three laps of the stands and doesn't show any signs of stopping.

20:04

18 mins: Forde's lucky to get away with that. John O'Shea plays the ball back to the Irish goalkeeper and there doesn't appear to be any danger, but Forde's clearance is awful and goes straight to Obraniak. The Polish attack attacker takes a touch before riffling an angled shot that has the goalkeeper scrambling. 

20:02

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p>Possession stats so far - Irl 36% Pol 64% <a href="https://twitter.com/search/%23COYBIG">#COYBIG</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/search/%23IrlPol">#IrlPol</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/search/%23LiveFAI">#LiveFAI</a></p>&mdash; FAI (@FAIreland) <a href="https://twitter.com/FAIreland/status/299246973368803329">February 6, 2013</a></blockquote>
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20:00

13 mins: First piece of skill from an Irish player as Sammon smartly hits the ball over his shoulder straight into the path of the unmarked James McClean on the left wing. Unfortunately, McClean's cross is a poor one and is easily dealt with by the Polish defence.

19:59

12 mins: Lewandowski wins a corner off Paul McShane which Obraniak takes but there's enough pressure from the Irish defence and the ball is headed behind for a goalkick.

19:54

10 mins: It's all Poland here, who are passing the ball around well. They're able to build the play slowly from the back because of a lack of pressure on the visitors' back four when they have the ball. Long and Sammon need to push up on them and chase down the ball when they don't have it.

19:52

6 mins: Poland have started brightly, getting the ball forward at every opportunity while Ireland have already been guilty of giving the ball away cheaply. A corner from Ludovic Obranhiak is cut out by the first man but it's hoofed down field and with no-one to challenge for it, the ball comes straight back at Ireland. 

This could be a long night.

19:51

3 mins: Irish goalkeeper David Forde has to be out smartly to steal the ball off the toe of Robert Lewandowski, who was chasing a clever through ball from Szymon Pawlowski. 

19:47

1 min: Ireland get the game underway and immediately Shane Long takes up position right in front of the two Polish centre-backs. Looks like he's going to be the target man, with Connor Sammon playing in behind him.

19:44

Ed Leahy's at the Aviva Stadium for us tonight. "It looks like the Irish fans have voted with their feet and stayed away. The stadium is mostly red & white Polish fans.

"The atmosphere is lively however, with no real away section as the Polish are right the way around the stadium. Havelock Square end appears to be the official away end. Temperature is dropping by the minute but the heavy dose of Europop is keeping the spirits up."

19:43

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p>Temperature dropping... RTÉ Sport's Tony O'Donoghue has nipped off to put on the long-johns... <a href="https://twitter.com/search/%23rtesoccer">#rtesoccer</a> @<a href="https://twitter.com/corktod">corktod</a> <a href="http://t.co/qR67YQkf" title="http://twitter.com/Ed_Leahy/status/299241266628153344/photo/1">twitter.com/Ed_Leahy/statu…</a></p>&mdash; Ed Leahy (@Ed_Leahy) <a href="https://twitter.com/Ed_Leahy/status/299241266628153344">February 6, 2013</a></blockquote>
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19:42

Just a reminder of the teams.

Rep of Ireland: Forde, McShane, O'Shea, Clark, Cunningham, Brady, McCarthy, Whelan, McClean, Long, Sammon.

Subs: Westwood, Ward, Doyle, Walters, Cox, Hendrick, Green, A. Keogh, Hoolahan, R. Keogh, Pearce, Henderson.

Poland: Boruc, Perquis, Glik, Boenisch, Wawrzyniak, Lukasik, Krychowiak, Blaszczykowski, Obraniak, Pawlowski, Lewandowski.

Subs: Szczesny, Komorowski, Celeban, Borysiuk, Wszolek, Mierzejewski, Broz, Grosicki, Milik, Sobiech, Wasilewski,
Kazmierczak, Tyton.

Referee: Sebastien Delferiere (Belgium)

19:30

Looks like a great night for a football match. The Irish rugby side haven't had a chance to rip up the pitch yet and it appears to be in great condition. The stands are filling up and there's a good sense of camaraderie between the Irish and Polish supporters. 

The cameras pick out a massive Poland flag with "Ballina, Mayo" emblazened on the front, which kind of sums up the atmosphere in the ground.

19:23

Northern Ireland are in action tonight in Malta where it's scoreless at half-time. Gareth McAuley had a goal disallowed for offside but it's the home side who have been the more threatening 

19:16

It's looking as if the Irish fans will be outnumbered in the stadium tonight with thousands of Polish fans descending on the Aviva. They've even brought their own stadium announcer.

19:01

Artur Boruc does indeed start for Poland, making his first appearance for his country since 2010. Szymon Pawlowski, who is in a rich vein of form and has scored in his last two games for Poland, starts on the wing.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p>Teamsheet from tonight's game... And first Polish tune of the night gets a great recpetion... <a href="https://twitter.com/search/%23europop">#europop</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/search/%23rtesoccer">#rtesoccer</a> <a href="http://t.co/kt72Fg5a" title="http://twitter.com/Ed_Leahy/status/299230390013546496/photo/1">twitter.com/Ed_Leahy/statu…</a></p>&mdash; Ed Leahy (@Ed_Leahy) <a href="https://twitter.com/Ed_Leahy/status/299230390013546496">February 6, 2013</a></blockquote>

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18:57

Brian Kerr has added his voice to those who think Wes Hoolahan should be starting tonight. Speaking on RTÉ's Six One News, he said; "He's (Trapattoni) not bothered tonight about Wes Hoolahan and I think that's a mistake. But a lot of other young players are getting an opportunity – Connor Sammon, young Cunningham and the goalkeeper Forde to establish themselves for the Swedish match."

18:50

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p>@<a href="https://twitter.com/rtesoccer">rtesoccer</a> How Hoolahan is not in the starting XI is beyond me! Great to see a former <a href="https://twitter.com/search/%23LOI">#LOI</a> player, Conor Sammon in the side <a href="https://twitter.com/search/%23rtesoccer">#rtesoccer</a></p>&mdash; Dan O'Carroll (@DanOCarrollSays) <a href="https://twitter.com/DanOCarrollSays/status/299226385266913280">February 6, 2013</a></blockquote>
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18:47

Word coming through that former Celtic goalkeeper/Rangers wind-up commander in chief Artur Boruc is set to start for Poland tonight.

18:33

Clowngate (yeah I going to run with it, sorry) continues apace. Graham White weighs in via email: "It's true that Trap could be referred to as a clown, especially for picking Green and McShane but did Harte feel like a clown was he was an absolute plank at the 2002 WC when he missed that penno and got subbed in every game? Glass houses, stones, etc etc."

18:33

RTÉ Sport's very own Ed Leahy is at the Aviva tonight and has come over all David Bailey on his way into the stadium.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p>The Lansdowne Road stadium looking spectacular as always ahead of the Ireland v Poland game. <a href="https://twitter.com/search/%23RTEsoccer">#RTEsoccer</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/search/%23irlpol">#irlpol</a> <a href="http://t.co/Tck3jXap" title="http://twitter.com/Ed_Leahy/status/299220152136892417/photo/1">twitter.com/Ed_Leahy/statu…</a></p>&mdash; Ed Leahy (@Ed_Leahy) <a href="https://twitter.com/Ed_Leahy/status/299220152136892417">February 6, 2013</a></blockquote>
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18:25

While we may look to the future tonight with a sense of optimism there's also a melancholy in the air and a vague sense of loss. Maybe it has something to do with The Journal's report that the Submarine Bar in Crumlin has closed and is in receivership.

Ah the Sub, the scene of many a great Irish victory as heads with far too much drink taken tried in vain to get their mugs on Sky Sports News during World Cups gone by. 

Local councillor Michael O'Sullivan said that: "It was built for World Cup audiences and we don’t have that any more. It depended on having big crowds."

Well with speculation that the Polish fans could outnumbers Irish supporters at the Aviva tonight, you can see his point. However there will always be a small place in our hearts in Crumlin where it's 2002, Robbie Keane's goal has just earned us a point against Germany and Joxer Goes to Stuttgart is stuck on repeat. 

Excuse me, I have something in my eye.

18:04

Diarmuid McKenna has emailed to let us know that he's behind Trap' in the row that absolutely no-one is calling Clowngate. 

"Journeyman Ian Harte with 1 Championship medal to his name is not someone who's opinion we should entertain in relation to Trapattoni's ability or otherwise to do the job. Best of luck to all the debutants tonight," he says.

17:42

Elsewhere today, Nigeria have advanced to the final of the Africa Cup of Nations after hammering Mali 4-1 at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

The Super Eagles will face Burkina Faso or Ghana in the final. The second semi-final takes place at 6.30 this evening.

17:36

There's been a distinct lack of buzz in the build-up to this game. Aside from the chance to repay Poland for their hospitality during Euro 2012, the majority of the focus has been on who Trap has picked and more importantly, who he hasn't. 

Ian Harte in particular has been very vocal in his criticism of the manager, labelling him "a clown" and claiming that he didn't even realise that the full-back is Irish. While Harte may have been slightly undiplomatic in his choice of words, does he have a point?

In a team that at times, can be fond of playing the odd longball or two, Harte's ability to pick a long range pass could be a boon, while his ability with a dead ball could make him worth a place on the bench alone.

Chasing a game with ten minutes to go, Harte could be the exact kind of option Ireland may need, with his free-kicks and corners a potent threat. He may lack pace but that's always been a factor in his game, and lets face it, Stephen Ward is hardly Usain Bolt. 

17:22

It's already been a good day for Irish football as Noel King's Under-21 side claimed an impressive 3-0 victory over the Netherlands at a more than slightly chilly Tallaght Stadium.

Two goals from 19-year-old Millwall striker Aiden O'Brien along with an Anthony Forde penalty was enough for Ireland.

17:17

So while it's not exactly out with the old and in with their new there's at least a look of youth in the Ireland squad to take on Poland this evening.  Conor Sammon will earn his first cap for Ireland, while Greg Cunningham, Ciaran Clark and David Forde have all got the nod too.

Just what Wes Hoolahan has to do to get a start however, is anybody's guess, as the player who is perhaps Ireland's most in form performer, has to settle for a place on the bench.

Ireland XI to play Poland: Forde, McShane, O'Shea, Clark, Cunningham, Brady, McCarthy, Whelan, McClean, Long, Sammon.

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