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Republic of Ireland play out 0-0 draw with Northern Ireland

SoccerBy Sunday World
James McCarthy in action at an empty Aviva Stadium today
James McCarthy in action at an empty Aviva Stadium today

Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland played out a 0-0 draw in their behind-closed-doors friendly at AViva Stadium this afternoon.

Today’s international friendly between Ireland and Northern Ireland was watched behind closed doors by around 50 fans.
 
The behind-closed-doors match wasn't as exclusive as the FAI thought as a few fans managed to get into the empty stadium. FAI chief executive John Delaney confirmed later on RTE Radio's The Ray D'Arcy Show that he hand-picked a number of ball boys for the game from the travelling hardcore fans.
 
Supporters from both camps emerged from the friendly encounter in which Martin O’Neill’s charges were held to a goalless draw.
 
The cluster of Irish fans which exited the stadium seemed relatively pleased with a better second half performance from the Boys in Green after the visitors hit the crossbar in the opening 45 minutes and missed a one-on-one in a game where Harry Arter pulled on a green jersey for the first time.
 
Following a disappointing first half, O'Neill decided to shake things up by withdrawing Aiden McGeady, James McClean and Cyrus Christie.
 
Indeed both sides made a raft of changes at the break, while Michael O'Neill's side also had a change of strip, reverting to their own blue away kit after playing the opening 45 minutes in the Republic's away jersey.
 
A more positive display from Ireland after the interval saw Hull duo of David Meyler and Stephen Quinn, along with recently released former team-mate Paul McShane, feature heavily as the home side enjoyed the lion's share of possession. 
 
Ultimately neither side could break the deadlock with England next up for the home side in Sunday's international friendly.