Competition: International Friendly
Date: 22 March 2023
Result: Ireland 3 – 2 Latvia
Tickets: Included in season ticket, mine was around €170 in teh cheapest category.
Game/ Experience Rating: ☆☆☆
The Game: This is in practise a warm up game for the visit of France on Monday (which you’ll also find summed up on this site after it’s happened), and saw Ireland go with a heap of changes, many of which were a chance for the young lads which I thought worked quite well. Evan Ferguson was the big one, with the young Brighton forward instantly putting in his claim to hold the shirt for the next who knows how many years. A couple of others, like newly internationally cleared Mikey Johnston and rarely-played Will Smallbone, looked strong, too.
Ireland started superbly, with O’Dowda and Ferguson scoring close-range goals inside 20 minutes. From there they continued to dominate, but somehow contrived to be level at the break, with Latvia scoring a rocket from 25 yards and then a deflected equaliser from pretty much their only two first half chances. A not unfamiliar story.
The quality of play is definitely improving, though, and it was Johnston’s introduction that led to the winner, with one of his earliest contributions being a decent run down the left, ending in hitting the post to leave a tap in for fellow sub Ogbene.
It should have been far more comfortable, but it was a good watch.
The ground: The Aviva is the Aviva – so familiar now that I barely find it worthy of comment. Cold up high, nice looking, good views from almost everywhere, and in games like this, frankly quiet as a library a lot of the time (Ireland fans are fantastic in big games, but really quite poor in games like this). I always enjoy it, though.
Extras: Whatever you’re having yourself, really, it’s international football. Just a big pricey.
Assorted asides: The traffic situation around Ireland home games is a bit of a car crash at the moment. We left twice the normal amount of time and, via a fairly hefty diversion, made it a few seconds before kick off. I know of at least two other people who, having allowed reasonable time, were so late they turned around to go home.
My totals for the year so far:
Games: 6. Home wins: 4 Draws: 2 Away wins: 0
Goals: 20. Home goals: 13. Away goals: 7. Goals per game: 3.33