Ireland denied first win at the death


UNDER 21s Republic of Ireland 1 Georgia 1: THE REPUBLIC of Ireland are still without a win in their European Championship qualifying group after being held to a draw in Tallaght last night.

An 89th-minute goal by George Ivanishvili cancelled out Alan Judge’s first-half strike to leave the sides level at the end of a game Ireland dominated everywhere but on the scoreboard.

Levan Kenia, who scored against Giovanni Trapattoni’s Ireland side in our opening World Cup qualifier in Mainz last year, was the star name in the Georgian side.

Keith Treacy returned to the Irish squad following a spell out of favour with Don Givens, and he began brightly. The Blackburn winger sent in a low strike in the third minute that goalkeeper Roini Kvaskhvadze had to boot over his crossbar.

Treacy let fly from 30 yards six minutes later, but this time Kvaskhvadze dived full length to save.

Ireland got their goal in the 28th minute with Treacy once again to the fore after being sent through by a long-ball from goalkeeper Shane Redmond.

Georgia looked to have dealt with the situation but Treacy persevered and regained possession before firing in a low cross for Judge to score at the back post.

Judge arrived in the same spot just 60 seconds later but he fired over after McCarthy had just failed to connect with a low cross by Cillian Sheridan.

The Plymouth winger was then denied by an upright in the 32nd minute after connecting with a brilliant cross-field ball by Treacy.

Treacy could have wrapped the tie up moments into the second half when he burst in from the left but fired over instead of passing to the unmarked Sheridan.

Redmond had to take evasive action to scoop a pass by Lasha Totadze that almost ended up in the net in the 53rd minute and somehow got the ball to safety.

McCarthy took the wrong option in passing rather than shooting four minutes later when the ball fell to him in the box.

Judge was unlucky not to seal the three points in the 78th minute when he burst into the box but dragged his shot narrowly wide.

Ivanishvili then stepped up to produce the equaliser that had been threatening all night with a low strike to beat Redmond from the edge of the box.

It could have been worse had Redmond not made a stunning save to deny substitute Levan Kutalia in injury-time.

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: Redmond; Coleman, Moloney, Morris, Gunning, Judge, Gleeson, McCarthy, Garvan, Treacy, Sheridan. Subs: O’Shea for Treacy (80 mins); Hughton for Coleman (86 mins); Collins for McCarthy (90 mins).

GEORGIA: Kvaskhvadze; Tomashvili, Totadze, Khidesheli, Kakubava, Daushvili, Klimiashvili, Kenia, Gugava, Ivanishvili, Vatsadze. Subs: Kutalia for Gugava (61 mins); Janelidze for Vatsadze (72 mins); Tchedia for Tomashvili (87 mins).

Referee: G Saloukas(Greece).