Competition: European Championship Qualifers, Group B
Date: 19 June 2023
Result: Ireland 3 – 0 Gibraltar
Tickets: As part of our season tickets, circa €50 for one adult and one kid.
Game/ Experience Rating: ☆☆
The Game: Stephen Kenny’s Ireland project has been a strange journey. He’s launched a lot of younger players into international football, and unqiestiobnably plays a more attractive version of the game than his rather tactically limited predecessors, but is it more effective? I’d argue not. It was quite ugly to watch today, too, with the team far too focused on firing crosses into Evan Ferguson instead of actually trying anything all that original against an (obviously) below average Gibraltar side.
The first half was particularly poor, with Ireland going in at half time at 0-0, and the action so bad that for the first time ever, I let my son drag me downstairs five minutes before half time because he wanted a snack. The Aviva’s catering is dire, by the way. They were already out of any kind of soft drink before half time, and those prices…
Second half, thankfully, was better, with they ever-promising Mikey Johnston making an immediate difference (he really should be starting every game at this stage). It eventually finished 3-0, with Johnston, Ferguson and Adam Idah getting the goals. Honestly, though, this one wasn’t worth the effort, really. A shame, as I generally love seeing the minnows. San Marino, Lichenstein and Andorra are firmly on my bucket list.
The ground: Great views from everywhere in the stadium as far as I’ve seen in the Aviva, but the atmopshere today was library-like, the most end-of-season vibe I think I’ve experienced at the place. The highlight was a Mexican wave, which probably says it all.
Extras: Let’s not get into the catering again. Poorly stocked and a rip off, what an odd combination.
Assorted asides: It’s a strange sensation going to an Ireland game that they’re expected to win very easily, and even stranger when, for the first half at least, it looks like a potentially memorable night because they might not. Not a classic, it’s fair to say.
My totals for the year so far:
Games: 14. Home wins: 9 Draws: 4 Away wins: 1
Goals: 41. Home goals: 29. Away goals: 12. Goals per game: 2.93