International Friendly-  Euro 2012 Warm-Up Game
Republic of Ireland 1-0 Bosnia-Hercegovina

 

 

Stoke's Jon Walters (above left) comes over to celebrate with West Brom's Shane Long (above right) after he scored the winning goal of the game


 

The introduction of winger Aiden McGeady aided the Republic of Ireland to a deserved 1-0 victory over Bosnia-Hercegovina in a warm-up friendly ahead of Euro 2012 in Dublin.

Young Sunderland wideman James McClean, making his first start for the Irish, tested Stoke City goalkeeper Asmir Begovic in between the sticks for Bosnia in the first half while fellow Potter Glenn Whelan appeared to be denied a clear penalty for Giovanni Trapattoni's men.

Both substitute McGeady and Jon Walters hit the woodwork as the Republic took control after the break. McGeady's superb cross set up Shane Long's 77th-minute goal while forwards Walters and Long missed further late chances to add gloss to a scoreline which would have reflected the Irish's dominance.

The huge talking point regarding the selection made by manager Giovanni Trapattoni surrounded his decision to hand James McClean a first Republic of Ireland start following a splendid end to the season for the Black Cats but after a bright opening period, the Sunderland youngster was overshadowed by substitute McGeady's second-half contribution.

Italian coach Trapattoni was also forced to make a late unwanted change to his line-up when Sean St Ledger unfortunately limped off in the warm-up with a twinge to his groin with Celtic's Darren O'Dea drafted into the centre of defence alongside Richard Dunne. The Bosnians, whose Euro 2012 hopes were ended by Portugal in the play-offs, included Manchester City forward Edin Dzeko and Stoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovic.

As is habitually the case for Trapattoni's Irish side, it was the opposition who looked the more fluent in possession and from an offensive point of view in the opening exchanges with Vedad Ibisevic getting in behind the defence in the fourth minute but failing to find a team-mate with his pull-back.

Dzeko got into another dangerous position five minutes later with Aston Villa defender Dunne needed to make a vital interception as the Manchester City star attempted to pick out Ibisevic in the Irish six-yard box. But the Irish appeared to be denied a stonewall penalty four minutes later as Glenn Whelan was upended by his Stoke team-mate Begovic although the Swiss referee was unimpressed waving play on.

McClean's every touch was greeted loud cheers from the Irish fans and he beat two tackles after cutting infield to set up a chance on 25 minutes but his fellow Derryman Darron Gibson pulled his shot hopelessly wide from the edge of the box. Both teams went close in the five minutes before half-time as the pace picked up. Miralem Pjanic tested Keiren Westwood from distance in the 40th minute while Dzeko wasted another chance a minute later as he attempted to control a Senad Lulic cross instead of heading directly at goal.

McClean continued his promising opening as he tested Begovic at the near post on 42 minutes after a perfect touch to control Doyle's deep cross. Fulham's Damien Duff went even closer a minute before the break as his close-range shot was blocked by Begovic after a delightful touch from skipper Robbie Keane. Trapattoni withdrew right winger Duff and Whelan at the interval with McGeady and Keith Andrews introduced in their place.

Spartak Moscow winger McGeady's first touch almost yielded a goal two minutes after the resumption as his volley struck the base of the post after Kevin Doyle had nodded a McClean free-kick back across the face of goal. But the Bosnians were still threatening themselves when going forward and Westwood did well to push Pjanic's dipping free-kick over the bar.

Substitute Jon Walters missed a excellent chance on 73 minutes for the hosts as his pointblank header from six yards out rattled the crossbar after a lovely floated cross from McGeady.

However, Long showed the Stoke man the way to finish four minutes later as the West Bromwich Albion forward nodded home after another superb cross from former Celtic man McGeady, whose efforts after his introduction suggested that he has no intention of meekly surrendering his regular starting berth to rising star McClean.

Walters could and should have made it 2-0 just a minute later after more brilliant work by McGeady but Begovic blocked his club-mate's chance supremely well when it looked a certain goal.

Sub Mehmed Alispahic missed a superb opportunity to level on 88 minutes after a hapless Stephen Ward mistake opened the route to goal but it was missed. While the Republic ended the game on the attack as Begovic made a magnificent save to deny the lively Long.

The Republic players next travel to their pre-Euro 2012 training camp in Italy before facing Hungary in another friendly on 4th June in Budapest. Trapattoni's men start their Group C campaign in Poland & Ukraine against Croatia in Poznan on Sunday 10th June before taking on Spain and Italy in subsequent group stage matches on 14th & 18th respectively.

Republic of Ireland:  Westwood, McShane (Kelly 78), Dunne (St Ledger 70), O'Dea, Ward, Duff (McGeady 45), Whelan (Andrews 45), Gibson, McClean, Keane (C) (Long 62), Doyle (Walters 62).

Booked:   None

Subs not used:  Forde, Hunt, Long, Cox, Fahey.


Bosnia-Herzegovina:  Begovic, Medunjanin (Stevanovic 46), Pandza, Jahic (C), Mujdza (Zahirovic 56), Pjanic, Misimovic (Alispahic 81), Rahimic (Vrancic 46), Lulic, Dzeko, Ibisevic (Vranjes 70).

Booked:   NoneSubs not used:  Ibricic, Sehic, Svraka.

 

Referee:  Carlos Zimmermann (Switzerland)- 8.5/10

Attendance:   37,100

 

Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni's reaction to the 1-0 win over Bosnia: "They left me very satisfied and not only because of the result. There was a very good approach and many performances were very good. I saw (Aiden) McGeady and (Damien) Duff are in top condition. It was also important for me to see (James) McClean and to give him confidence. They (McGeady and Duff) only played one half because I have to preserve these performers. They are fantastic. But it was important to give McClean the opportunity to play with the team. (Darron) Gibson played a fantastic game and Jonathan Walters is now a good option. Shane Long confirmed his quality. It's important we go to Poland confident about what we can do."

 

Republic of Ireland matchwinner Shane Long's reaction to the 1-0 win over Bosnia: "The gaffer put me on to get the winner and luckily I was on the end of a brilliant Aiden McGeady cross. It's massive for us psychologically going into a massive tournament that we have collected a victory which can give us a boost in terms of morale. The lads are excited now- it was a good opportunity for us to show what we can do today and but our gameplan into practice and for many of us we are still trying to stake our claim for a place in the team for the Euros. We joined up on Sunday and we wanted to get off on a good foot today and get a bit of a roll going before we go to Poznan [Ireland's Euro 2012 base] for the opening game against Croatia which we are very much looking forward to but we have still got another friendly yet."

 

Republic of Ireland man of the match Aiden McGeady's reaction to the 1-0 win over Bosnia: "It was tough but we're glad with the win. Bosnia had a few chances in the first half but in the second half we got chances ourselves and it could have been three or four. I was just tired in the sun. It's so hot, it takes it out of you," said the Aston Villa defender. Today was good. When some of the other lads who came on as substitutes the game started to change and really started to open them up. The atmosphere among us is really good. To win games obviously builds that. We go on to Hungary on June 4th and we'll try to get a win there and get a bit of confidence going. The whole country's getting right behind us. They're all coming over to support us. Hopefully we'll give them something to shout about."


 

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