Ireland: Great matches drawn from history

Last night’s superb effort in Gelsenkirchen is the latest instalment from a series of outstanding results down through the years

Time to draw on a selection of excellent Ireland performances from the archives.

June 2001

Republic of Ireland 1 Portugal 1

Most Irish soccer fans will recall the 1-0 victory over the Netherlands courtesy of Jason McAteer's goal at Lansdowne Road during that World Cup qualifying campaign but we're plumping for the performance of Roy Keane in a 1-1 draw at the same venue in the same group.


The Cork man scored Ireland's goal – Luis Figo headed an equaliser – but he hassled and harried the visitors to the points of distraction. It's worth noting that Ireland's starting team included two right backs (Stephen Carr, Gary Kelly), two left backs (Ian Harte, Steve Staunton), a future left back (Kevin Kilbane) and a defensive midfielder (Mark Kinsella).

June 2002

Republic of Ireland 1 Germany 1

Remember Saipan? Just kidding. Mick McCarthy's Republic of Ireland might have had to do without their captain Roy Keane but it did not prevent them from producing some top quality performances, one of which took place at the Kashima stadium in Ibaraki when Robbie Keane scored an injury-time equaliser against a powerful German team that went on to reach the final.

Miroslav Klose gave the Germans the lead but Keane's late strike in the 92nd minute – he was one of only two players to score against Germany in the entire tournament – ensured a draw that ultimately led to Ireland making it out of the Group E. They lost in the Round of 16 to Spain in a penalty shoot-out after another 1-1 draw.

April 2009

Italy 1 Republic of Ireland 1

Robbie Keane, who else, snatched a last-gasp equaliser to deny ten-man Italy victory. The then Tottenham Hotspur striker stabbed home an 87th-minute shot at the San Nicola Stadium to claim a point. Ireland would eventually finish runners-up behind the Italians in Group Eight.

The result ensured Irish manager Giovanni Trapattoni a share of the spoils against his home country and the man who replaced him as national boss, Marcello Lippi. The reigning champions had taken an 11th-minute lead through Vincenzo Iaquinta despite having had striker Giampaolo Pazzini sent off with only three minutes gone, for catching John O'Shea with a flailing arm.

November 2009

Republic of Ireland 1 France 1 (aet)

Thierry Henry's handball incident in the build-up to an equalising goal from William Gallas – Robbie Keane's goal in normal time took the two legged playoff into extra time – is a particular sore point for Irish supporters on a night when the national team came so close to conjuring a memorable result at the Stade de France.

Ireland had lost the first leg of the playoff to secure a pace at the 2010 World Cup 1-0 (Nicolas Anelka) at Croke Park but with Keane’s goal the game went into extra time where Henry used his hand to control the ball and flick it back inside for Gallas to score. It should not overshadow though what was an excellent Irish performance.

September 2011

Russia 0 Republic of Ireland 0

Richard Dunne gave arguably his greatest performance in a green jersey to not only be a thoroughly deserving winner of the man of the match accolade but to almost single-handedly defy an overwhelmingly superior Russia.

The home side fashioned a hatful of gilt edged opportunities but found Dunne to be an immoveable object, the Irish player clearing off the line and getting in about half a dozen brilliant blocks. He had a little help from his fellow defenders and Shay Given. Ireland went on to finish second in the group and beat Estonia in a playoff to qualify for Euro 2012.

John O'Sullivan

John O'Sullivan

John O'Sullivan is an Irish Times sports writer