Ireland 0-0 Northern Ireland
The Republic of Ireland warmed up for their crucial UEFA Nations League match against Denmark with a hard-fought 0-0 draw with Northern Ireland at the Aviva Stadium on Thursday evening.
Glenn Whelan captained the side in what will more than likely be his 85th and final cap for the Boys in Green but his international career wouldn’t end on a winning note.
Michael O’Neill’s side ought to have taken the lead in the 14th minute as Gavin Whyte raced onto Stuart Dallas’ neat lay off but he was denied by a stunning save from Darren Randolph when through on goal.
The Republic’s best opportunities of a tight first half came from set pieces but neither Shane Duffy nor Darragh Lenihan could direct their respective headers from Robbie Brady’s frees past the visiting keeper.
The North finished the opening period strongly but Stuart Dallas’ low drive from the edge of the area was well saved by Randolph before Michael Smith flashed a powerful attempt narrowly over seconds before the half-time whistle was blown by the referee.
Martin O’Neill’s side threatened to edge in front just shy of the hour mark but Callum Robinson fired over James McClean’s dragged shot after the Derry native had initially been picked out by a superb cross from Seamus Coleman.
In the end, they needed further heroics from Randolph – who was voted man of the match- to ensure that they didn’t head into Monday’s match away to the Danes having suffered a demoralising defeat.
The Middlesbrough shot-stopper remained calm when substitute Jordan Jones burst clear on goal with 18 minutes remaining and he was somehow able to turn the goal-bound effort over his crossbar with his outstretched leg.