Over thirty five thousand expectant fans turned out at the Aviva Stadium for tonights European Qualifier between the Republic of Ireland and Gibraltar.
Hot on the heels of an excellent 1-1 draw away to Denmark last Friday evening, the ‘Boys in Green’ as they are affectionately known demanded that Gibraltar be put to the sword by their beloved Republic of Ireland side and continue Mick McCarthy’s good start to his second spell in charge. They expected goals.
The game got off to difficult start for Gibraltar, made even worse by the talismanic Lee Casciaro pulling up in the 9thminute. Anthony Bardon replaced Casciaro in what was to be his final appearance in a Gibraltar shirt.
It wasn’t until the 28thminute that the ‘Boys in Green’ got their first goal. A very fortunate deflection from a David McGoldrick shot past the helpless Goldwin – the goal ultimately went down as a Joseph Chipolina own goal. And that was that at until half time.
The second half began and went on much as the first did. Plenty of Irish possession but they could not create any clear cut chances. Gibraltar resolute in defence biding their time and hoping for that one chance to pounce on.
Just over 120 fans had made the trip over from Gibraltar to watch the Red & Whites second appearance at the Aviva, and throughout the second half it was their voices that could be heard over and above the thirty five and half thousand home fans.
As the 90 minutes ended four minutes on injury time were signalled. The goals the boys in green expected had not come. It was only in the 93rs minute that Robbie Brady appeared at the far post to give the Irish a 2-0 win.
Three days after the defeat to Georgia and with 6 Under 21 players on the pitch, there was no doubting the fact that this was a Herculean performance from Julio Ribas’ Gibraltarian Gladiators. The Ghosts of the 7-0 defeat suffered in 2014 well and truly banished!