Sunday 19 August 2018

Seven uncapped players on show as Irish XI draw with Celtic in Scott Brown's testimonial

Celtic 2 Republic of Ireland XI 2

20 May 2018; Alan Browne, 10, celebrates with his Republic of Ireland XI team-mates, Jonathan Walters, 19, and James McClean after scoring their side's first goal during Scott Brown's testimonial match between Celtic and Republic of Ireland XI at Celtic Park in Glasgow, Scotland. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
20 May 2018; Alan Browne, 10, celebrates with his Republic of Ireland XI team-mates, Jonathan Walters, 19, and James McClean after scoring their side's first goal during Scott Brown's testimonial match between Celtic and Republic of Ireland XI at Celtic Park in Glasgow, Scotland. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

IT finished honours even in Scott Brown's testimonial at Celtic Park with the hosts coming back from behind twice in a 2-2 draw.

The testimonial game was entertaining enough for a near capacity crowd that had come to pay tribute to their captain and continue their treble celebrations.

Brown did play having led his club to Scottish Cup final success yesterday, and this was a low intensity affair with combative players on both sides reining in their usual tendencies.

There were goals, however, with Alan Browne getting Ireland off the mark in the fourth minute with a left footed effort. Leigh Griffiths equalised before the break, but Ireland went back ahead before the hour mark when Callum O'Dowda's attempt came back off the bar and rebounded in off luckless Celtic keeper Ross Doohan.

That was followed by a raft of changes and, as Ireland adjusted to three at the back, newcomer Greg Cunningham made an error that allowed Patrick Roberts to fire in an equaliser with the aid of a deflection.

Seven uncapped Ireland players did get on the pitch, and they remain uncapped in official international football terms as this is not a recognised fixture. O'Neill's team were described as a Republic of Ireland XI.

Still, it was a good experience for starters Shaun Williams, Darragh Lenihan and Derrick Williams and subs Conor O'Malley, Graham Burke, Callum Robinson and Enda Stevens.

Shamrock Rovers player Burke was brought on with 30 minutes to go having played for the Hoops in Sligo last night and he did test Doohan with a couple of attempts from distance. Robinson - who is still not eligible to play in a full international - headed a good opportunity wide following a corner from the energetic James McClean.

Celtic had opportunities to win too, with returning favourite Henrik Larsson greeted as warmly as Brown. The 46-year-old forced a good save from O'Malley from close range before ballooning a late free over the bar. By that point, Celtic fans were already gearing up for a celebratory parade of their trophies.

The Ireland panel will break up and then meet again in Dublin later this week ahead of friendlies with France and USA.

Celtic: De Vries, J Hendry, Simunovic, Mulgrew, Miller; Browne, Kouassi; Johnston, Roberts, Sinclair; Griffiths. Subs Used: R Hendry, Doohan, Larsson, Ntcham, Dembele, Tierney, McGregor

Ireland XI: Doyle (O'Malley 59), Coleman, Egan (Doherty 59), Lenihan (Stevens 73), D Williams (Cunningham 59); O'Dowda, Browne, S Williams (Burke 59), McClean; Walters (Robinson 59), Maguire

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