Clark extends Ireland’s unbeaten run in Dublin


Republic of Ireland clinched a victory over Switzerland at the Aviva, with a decisive goal inside the 2nd minute by Ciaran Clark. As the two sides battled in this friendly match in their preparation for the Euro 2016. The match allowed Martin O’Neil to experiment with his line-up, which saw Alan Judge make his debut.

Ireland’s enforced prohibition was lifted inside the Aviva stadium on Good Friday, as Ireland succeeded in grinding out a win over the Swiss in their Euro 2016 preparations. The relaxed demeanour of the players and fans echoed around the Aviva, as Martin O’Neil experimented with his starting 11. O’Neil opted to give three debuts the opportunity to impress, as they fought to secure one of those 23 seats going to France for the Euros.

One might say the matches crescendo was premature, as the adrenaline of fans and players jumped through the roof 2 minutes into the match. A flying high start in the match marked the beginning of Ireland’s 1916 celebrations as the fans rejoiced with Ireland’s early lead.

Shane Duffy nodded Robbie Brady’s corner onto Clark as he fired past Sommer into the Swiss goal, as Sommer attempted to parry the powerful header.

Kevin Doyle was stretchered off after 20 minutes, after making his first appearance in an Irish jersey in nearly two years. Doyle went in for a fifty/ fifty at the Swiss box and attempted to chase the rolling ball but signalled to the side-lined instantly.

Shane Long struck the crossbar 37 minutes in with a powerful attempt, as the ball bounced back he was unable to create the same power and his second header landed in the keepers arms.

The defensive duo Clark and Duffy maintained a tight backline at the heart of the Irish defence. Shane Duffy’s valiant man of the match performance restricted the dangerous Swiss attackers Breel Embolo and Blerim Dzemaili.

Multiple changes to the Irish line-up inevitably was the major reason for our side’s lack of fluidity. The Swiss dictated the play sublimely, as they orchestrated a passing masterclass. Ireland’s sheer determination and perseverance off the ball kept the Swiss to half chances and long shots.

The second half offered much of the same, as a conservative Irish side maintained their tempo and pressed the Swiss. The Swiss seemed relaxed and graceful as the ball glided from one side of the pitch to the other. The attacking style of Dzemaili and Embolo tested the heart of the Irish defence, as they unleashed a host of tricks and flicks in a bid to catch the Irish defenders on their back foot.

The Swiss pressure began to pile as Dzemaili dictated the play with a tantalising through ball that looked bound for Embolo. Dzemaili’s neat through ball was denied by the alert Clark, who spotted the danger.

Ireland decided to make multiple change which meant O’Kayne and Hayes secured their debut, as they sought to impress. McCarthy, Hoolahan and James McClean dusted themselves off and entered the fray.

The final few moments created a sense of nervousness as the Irish support sat silent constrained by anxiety, as they pondered if the boys in green could maintain this professional performance. Seven minutes before the whistle Shani Tarashaj’s whizzing shot deflected off Clark and then Embolo before trickling wide, to the dismay of the Swiss support.

O’Kane looked to have secured the picturesque start to his international career as snatched a loose pass by Gelson Fernandes. O’Kane darted towards the goal and unleashed a curling ball past the wrong side of the post.

The spotlight now turns to Ireland’s next friendly on Tuesday night against Slovakia. O’Neil looks set to once again select an experimental side to supplement his decisions in selecting who will be on the plane to France this summer.

Match Details –

IRELAND: Randolph, Coleman, Duffy, Clark, Brady, Quinn (McCarthy 61), Meyler (O’Kane 61), Judge, McGeady (Hayes 61), Long (McClean 84), Doyle (Murphy 27, Hoolahan 79).

SWITZERLAND: Sommer, Lang (Widmer 82), Schar, Klose, Rodriguez (Moubandje 78), Dzemaili (Tarashaj 71), Xhaka, Behrami (Fernandes 72), Mehmedi (Kasami 71), Embolo, Seferovic (Steffan 62).

Referee: Miroslav Zelinka (CZE)

Attendance: 35,450


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