Following Ireland’s hard-fought draw with Wales on Friday night, Martin O’Neill rang the changes for this evening’s friendly encounter with the Iceland.
The visit of the Euro 2016 quarter-finalists gave the management team the chance to give some minutes, for the first time in some cases, to the squad’s fringe players.
Andy Boyle, Daryl Horgan, Stephen Gleeson, Johnny Hayes, John Egan, Callum O’Dowda and Eunan O’Kane all saw action against the Nordic side. The fact that tickets for the Welsh game had been sold along with tonight meant there was a relatively decent crowd in the Aviva to watch it.
Despite the result really not meaning a great deal in the grand scheme of things, O’Neill would have been hoping to preserve his superb record in the new stadium. However, a lovely first-half free-kick from Hörður Björgvin Magnússon was enough for the team that knocked out England last June to end the unbeaten run on Lansdowne Road.
Despite the defeat, there was some positives from an underwhelming night for the boys in green.
— FAIreland ⚽️🇮🇪 (@FAIreland) March 28, 2017
— DundalkFC (@DundalkFC) March 28, 2017
Andy Boyle and Daryl Horgan play their last league game for Dundalk
They make their Ireland debuts together
— Tom O'Connor (@boscoisalive) March 28, 2017
Eunan O'Kane has been very, very good since he came on, as has Horgan #COYBIG
— Andrew Lowth (@AndrewLowth1) March 28, 2017
Result may not be going our way but go for the debuts like Horgan getting a run out #IREvICE
— Ciaran Griffin (@ciarang6) March 28, 2017
Horgan, O'Kane, Boyle, O'Dowda, Gleeson and Cyrus Christie all on the pitch. Very youthful looking Ireland team. Good to see #COYBIG
— Conor Kelly (@ConorPacKelly) March 28, 2017
Might be heading for a defeat, but a lot of positives for fringe players. Hayes, O'Kane, Horgan and O'Dowda all excellent.
— Neil Treacy (@neil_treacy) March 28, 2017
Ireland are next in competitive action in June as they take on a faltering Austria side knowing a win could go a long way to securing their passage to the 2018 World Cup.