International Friendlies
R. of IrelandRepublic of Ireland0Northern IrelandNorthern Ireland0

Rep of Ireland 0-0 N Ireland: Low-key Dublin friendly ends in stalemate

By Mark SterlingBBC Sport NI at the Aviva Stadium
Republic of Ireland's Darragh Lenihan and Shane Duffy with George Saville, Jonny Evans and Craig Cathcart of Northern Ireland
The sides were meeting for the first time since 2011

Northern Ireland failed to take their chances and had to settle for a draw in their friendly match against the Republic of Ireland in Dublin.

Two fantastic saves by Republic keeper Darren Randolph prevented wingers Gavin Whyte and Jordan Jones from taking good opportunities for the visitors.

Shane Duffy had the best chance for the home side but his first-half header was saved by Bailey Peacock-Farrell.

It was a fifth draw in 11 meetings between the sides.

The result means Northern Ireland have won just twice in 12 games, having lost all three of their opening Nations League Group B3 matches.

With Austria having drawn on Thursday night with Bosnia-Herzegovina, Michael O'Neill's men are relegated from the group before they play their final match against the Austrians at Windsor Park on Sunday.

Northern Ireland's Jordan Jones was denied by Republic keeper Darren Randolph
Northern Ireland's Jordan Jones had one of the best chances but failed to make it count

The Republic's recent form has not been much better, with a 2-1 friendly victory over the USA in June now their only victory in their last 10 outings.

They are bottom of their Group B4 Nations League table, having drawn one and lost two of their three matches and will complete their campaign with a trip to Denmark on Monday.

Randolph to Republic's rescue

Northern Ireland have been creating plenty of chances in recent matches without taking them and that was the case again in Thursday's friendly.

Oxford United winger Whyte had the first big opportunity of the night in the 14th minute when Liam Boyce released Stuart Dallas down the left with a hooked pass and he showed great composure to square the ball to Whyte.

The former Crusaders man, who has been in fine form since joining Oxford in the summer, took a touch and Randolph raced off his line to make a superb save at his feet.

Darren Randolph's saves earned him the man of the match award
Darren Randolph's saves earned him the man of the match award

Randolph had to show all of his awareness again in the 72nd minute to ensure a terrible mistake by defender Darragh Lenihan did not lead to a crucial goal.

Kilmarnock player Jones was not long off the bench when he pounced to rob Lenihan of possession to go through on goal, but his shot was too close to the advancing Middlesbrough keeper who once again made an excellent save.

Dallas shines for Northern Ireland

Playing on the left of Northern Ireland's front three, Stuart Dallas was in sparkling form, particularly in the first half.

The Leeds United man is always full of running for his country and that was the case once more as he made sure Republic captain Seamus Coleman had a busy night on his return to international football after a long-term absence.

The 27-year-old former Crusaders man showed great composure in the 14th minute to set up Whyte for his great chance - and twice came close to scoring himself.

He curled an effort from the edge of the box just wide on 25 minutes and four minutes before half-time he was played in down the left by Davis. He beat Lenihan for pace and advanced into the box before curling a low effort that just didn't have enough power and was saved well by Randolph.

Stuart Dallas, a star performer for Northern Ireland, in action against the Republic's James McClean
Stuart Dallas, a star performer for Northern Ireland, in action against the Republic's James McClean

Republic lacking firepower

Scoring goals had been a major problem for both sides coming into this friendly and hitting the net once again eluded them.

Of the six strikers named by Martin O'Neill in the Republic squad, a single Aiden O'Brien goal was all they had between them on the international stage, which perhaps helps explain why they have now scored only five goals in 10 matches.

Ronan Curtis has been finding the net for Portsmouth this season and came on for his international debut at half-time. The former Derry City man looked lively but could not carve out a goalscoring opportunity.

Their best chance of the night fell to Brighton defender Duffy in the 21st minute from a dangerous free-kick by Robbie Brady, who was making his first international appearance for a year after a serious knee injury.

Duffy rose well to get his head to the cross but he planted his effort straight into the ground, with the ball looping towards goal and visiting goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell tipping over the crossbar.

Whelan gets emotional send-off

The home supporters among the 31,000 crowd in Dublin did not have a great deal to shout about in a performance which will not have done much to lift the gloom which has engulfed the squad recently.

However, they came together to cheer Glenn Whelan in the 35th minute, when the Aston Villa midfielder was substituted on what was most likely his final appearance.

Glenn Whelan
Glenn Whelan was given a send-off befitting his faithful service in the green shirt

The Dubliner has not been in the team recently but was made captain for his 85th cap, a decade after his debut under Giovanni Trapattoni.

The 34-year-old, who has not officially retired from international football and has said he will still make himself available for selection if required, delivered a neat and tidy performance in his customary holding midfield role before making way for Conor Hourihane and handing the armband to regular skipper Seamus Coleman.

The key stats

  • Republic of Ireland have lost only one of their last nine international matches against Northern Ireland (W4 D4) - a 1-0 loss at home in May 1999.
  • Republic of Ireland have won just one of their last 10 matches in all competitions (D4 L5) and are winless in their last five (D3 L2) since a 2-1 victory against the USA back in June.
  • Northern Ireland have won just two of their last 12 games in all competitions (D3 L7) scoring just seven goals and conceding 14 during this period.
  • Northern Ireland have failed to score in any of their last seven away games (D2 L5), a run dating back to October 2017 - they last went longer without a goal away from home between May 1981 and October 1983 (run of nine).


R. of Ireland

Formation 3-5-2

  • 23Randolph
  • 18LenihanBooked at 16minsSubstituted forChristieat 84'minutes
  • 4Duffy
  • 5Egan
  • 2Coleman
  • 13Hendrick
  • 6WhelanSubstituted forHourihaneat 36'minutesBooked at 63mins
  • 10Brady
  • 11McCleanSubstituted forStevensat 66'minutes
  • 8O'DowdaSubstituted forCurtisat 45'minutes
  • 14RobinsonSubstituted forMaguireat 66'minutesSubstituted forHoganat 80'minutes


  • 1Doyle
  • 3Christie
  • 7Williams
  • 9Maguire
  • 12Stevens
  • 15Curtis
  • 16Kelleher
  • 17Hourihane
  • 19Hogan
  • 20Obafemi
  • 21Long
  • 22Arter

Northern Ireland

Formation 4-1-4-1

  • 1Peacock-Farrell
  • 22SmithSubstituted forWardat 74'minutes
  • 20Cathcart
  • 5Evans
  • 3Lewis
  • 8Davis
  • 16WhyteSubstituted forJonesat 61'minutes
  • 13EvansSubstituted forMcNairat 65'minutes
  • 6SavilleBooked at 76mins
  • 14Dallas
  • 9BoyceSubstituted forLaffertyat 71'minutes


  • 2McLaughlin
  • 4McAuley
  • 7McGinn
  • 10Lafferty
  • 11Ferguson
  • 12McGovern
  • 15Jones
  • 17McNair
  • 18Hughes
  • 19Ward
  • 21Magennis
  • 23Hazard
Slavko Vincic

Match Stats

Home TeamR. of IrelandAway TeamNorthern Ireland
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Republic of Ireland 0, Northern Ireland 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Republic of Ireland 0, Northern Ireland 0.

  3. Post update

    Offside, Republic of Ireland. Enda Stevens tries a through ball, but Ronan Curtis is caught offside.

  4. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Jordan Jones (Northern Ireland) right footed shot from a difficult angle and long range on the left is blocked.

  5. Post update

    Hand ball by Ronan Curtis (Republic of Ireland).

  6. Post update

    Delay over. They are ready to continue.

  7. Post update

    Delay in match Jamie Ward (Northern Ireland) because of an injury.

  8. Post update

    Attempt missed. Conor Hourihane (Republic of Ireland) left footed shot from the centre of the box is too high following a corner.

  9. Post update

    Corner, Republic of Ireland. Conceded by George Saville.

  10. Substitution

    Substitution, Republic of Ireland. Cyrus Christie replaces Darragh Lenihan.

  11. Post update

    Foul by Steven Davis (Northern Ireland).

  12. Post update

    Ronan Curtis (Republic of Ireland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  13. Post update

    George Saville (Northern Ireland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Jeff Hendrick (Republic of Ireland).

  15. Post update

    Corner, Northern Ireland. Conceded by Conor Hourihane.

  16. Post update

    Delay over. They are ready to continue.

  17. Substitution

    Substitution, Republic of Ireland. Scott Hogan replaces Sean Maguire because of an injury.

  18. Post update

    Delay in match Sean Maguire (Republic of Ireland) because of an injury.

  19. Post update

    Foul by Steven Davis (Northern Ireland).

  20. Post update

    Ronan Curtis (Republic of Ireland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

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