Republic of Ireland to host Northern Ireland in November friendly

Mon, Feb 05 2018

The Republic of Ireland are set to host Northern Ireland in the first public meeting between the sides since the Boys in Green romped to a 5-0 win on their way to lifting the Carling Nations Cup in 2011.


The Republic will host their Northern counterparts at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Thursday, November 15th in between decisive ties in their respective UEFA Nations League groupings.


It won’t be the first time Martin O’Neill’s Republic of Ireland and Michael O’Neill’s Northern Ireland have met at the Aviva, however, the sides having played out a 0-0 draw behind closed doors in June 2015.


And with both sides coming close to qualification for World Cup 2018, losing to Denmark and Switzerland in respective play-offs, it promises to be a closely-matched encounter.


“UEFA have made it mandatory that we play a friendly on that date and when we looked at the options across Europe, travelling to Dublin to play the Republic of Ireland made a lot of sense,” said Michael O’Neill.


"It means that we can stay on the island for the week, train in our usual environment and play a game that will be a good test for us ahead of the Austria match.


“Both countries qualified for UEFA EURO 2016 and both narrowly missed out on qualification for Russia, so it will be an evenly matched and hard-fought contest.


"From a personal point of view I am looking forward to managing a team against Martin, a manager who I hugely respect and admire.


“Qualification for UEFA EURO 2020 is our number one priority now and with the UEFA Nations League a potential route to the tournament, this game means that we will be as prepared as possible for the Austria match.”


The meeting will be former Shamrock Rovers boss Michael O’Neill’s first public game in Dublin for almost seven years, since a 4-0 Europa League defeat to Tottenham Hotspur in his final game in charge in December 2011.