Triumphant Celtic colleagues on opposing sides

Triumphant Celtic colleagues on opposing sides

Aiden McGeady and Scott McDonald shared triumphantly in Celtic's historic win ...
11th Aug 2009

 

Aiden McGeady and Scott McDonald shared triumphantly in Celtic's historic win over FC Dynamo Moscow in the Champions' League qualifier last week but they will be opponents on Wednesday at Thomond Park.

The Republic of Ireland will play Australia in a friendly timed to start at 7.30 pm. at Munster's rugby fortress and the pair of Celtic stars look certain to play central roles as they did last week in Moscow.

McDonald scored the critical opening goal as Celtic beat Dynamo Moscow 2-0 to overturn a first leg 0-1 defeat and advance to the Champions' League play-off round in which they will play Arsenal.

It was Celtic's first win in European competition away from home in six years after 22 unsuccessful attempts. And while McDonald's superb headed goal ensured that his contribution earned top billing, McGeady's performance must have given Ireland's management team huge satisfaction.

The speedy winger looks set to start for Ireland in a match that represents Ireland's last opportunity to fine tune their preparations for the important World Cup qualifying tie away to Cyprus next month.

Ireland's assistant manager, Liam Brady, has suggested that manager Giovanni Trapattoni will likely select a team on very similar lines to the team he will hope to send out against Cyprus.

Australia's record over the past couple of years suggests that nothing less than a top Irish performance will be enough to overcome a team that has already clinched qualification for the World Cup finals in South Africa next month.

Australia played impressively in a qualifying tournament that also involved Japan, Qatar, Bahrain and Uzbekistan. They scored six wins, two draws and finished with a scoring aggregate of 12/1.

In the course of their great run they achieved two new records. They had a run of seven consecutive matches without conceding a goal and after competing in Germany in 2006 they will now travel to South Africa - the first time they have qualified for back-to-back World Cup final tournaments.

In Germany they went through to the Round of 16 where they lost by the only goal to the eventual champions, Italy. They finished second to Brazil and above Croatia and Japan in the Group Stage.

Australia head coach Pim Verbeek has brought to Ireland a squad that is bolstered by a number of players with experience of the English League - Mark Schwarzer, Tim Cahill, Lucas Neill and Harry Kewell who will be very familiar with Ireland's players.

Both teams have a huge incentive to do well in a gap that will mark an important departure from the norm of playing in Dublin. The game will bring a full-blown international to Limerick for the first time and will undoubtedly offer many the opportunity that would otherwise be denied them of supporting the National team in person.

Australia's players will be keen to do well to convince Verbeek that they should be accommodated on the flight next year to South Africa while Ireland's squad will be playing for places in the team to play Cyprus next month as Ireland look to clinch the results that would ensure that they also will make the finals.

iden McGeady and Scott McDonald shared triumphantly in Celtic's historic win over FC Dynamo Moscow in the Champions' League qualifier last week but they will be opponents on Wednesday at Thomond Park.