Manager Martin O’Neill handed Derrick Williams his senior international debut by naming him in the starting lineup. The defender was an unused substitute against Turkey in March, and featured for a Republic of Ireland XI against Celtic earlier this month.
Played in torrential rain, France were playing in Stade de France for the final time before this summer’s FIFA World Cup.
Despite having the majority of possession, it took until the final ten minutes of the first half for France to put the pressure on Martin O’Neill’s side.
Corentin Tolisso hit the post with a shot from outside the box, minutes before Olivier Giroud gave the home team the lead.
Goalkeeper Colin Doyle did brilliantly to stop a Giroud header from point-blank range. The striker followed up to score from the rebound despite the best efforts of Seamus Coleman.
Just before the break, France doubled their lead. Nabil Fekir’s shot found the back of the net, after Doyle was unable to keep it out.
Opportunities in the second-half were at a premium as conditions in Saint-Denis worsened. Giroud came close to scoring twice more, but Doyle did excellently to stop one of the shots.
Striker Graham Burke made his international debut in the final 20-minutes. The Shamrock Rovers player became the first SSE Airtricity League player in just over a decade to represent Ireland, when he replaced Callum O’Dowda.
Shaun Williams also won his first international cap. The 31-year-old played the final ten minutes after coming on for Kevin Long and almost scored in added time only for a fine save by Steve Mandanda.
Ireland play their final match of the season on Saturday evening against the United States in a Three International Friendly. Kick-off is at 8:08pm
France: Steve Mandanda; Djibril Sidibe (Benjamin Pavard 83), Adil Rami, Samuel Umtiti (Presnel Kimpembe 64), Benjamin Mendy (Lucas Hernandez 63); Corentin Tolisso (Paul Pogba 77), Steven Nzonzi, Blaise Matuidi (captain); Nabil Fekir (Antoine Griezmann 64), Olivier Giroud, Kylian Mbappé (Ousmane Dembele 77)
Republic of Ireland: Colin Doyle; Seamus Coleman (captain), Kevin Long (Shaun Williams 80), Shane Duffy, Derrick Williams (Matt Doherty 82); Jonathan Walters (David Meyler 59), Callum O’Dowda (Graham Burke 70), Declan Rice, Alan Browne (Harry Arter 59), James McClean; Shane Long (Alan Judge 70)
Referee: Georgi Kabakov (Bulgaria)