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Page last updated at 20:04 GMT, Wednesday, 14 October 2009 21:04 UK

Rep of Ireland 0-0 Montenegro

Damien Duff and Nikola Drincic
Damien Duff is challenged by Nikola Drincic at Croke Park

The Republic of Ireland stayed unbeaten in Group Eight but Giovanni Trapattoni's under-strength side failed to break down Montenegro at Croke Park.

Shay Given and Kevin Kilbane both celebrated reaching the 100-cap mark but it was a match to forget.

Branko Boskovic missed a glorious first-half chance for the visitors who also appeared to be denied a blatant penalty for a Paul McShane handball.

Richard Dunne headed against the bar but the Republic created few openings.

Republic manager Giovanni Trapattoni made six changes to the side which lined up against Italy with McShane replacing John O'Shea in defence and Noel Hunt taking over from Kevin Doyle in attack.

Midfield was totally re-jigged with Stephen Hunt, Martin Rowlands, Liam Miller and Damien Duff replacing Aiden McGeady, Keith Andrews, Liam Lawrence and suspended Glenn Whelan.

With a play-off place already guaranteed for the Irish after Italy's last-minute equaliser at Croke Park on Saturday, Wednesday's encounter started off in predictably lethargic fashion.

McShane headed a Damien Duff corner over the bar in the seventh minute but there was precious little for the 50,202 Croke Park crowd to get excited about in the opening 20 minutes.

Duff wasted an opportunity on 26 minutes as he fired into the side-netting with his weaker right foot after being played in by Stephen Hunt.


However, Montenegro missed a glorious opportunity to take a surprise lead on 29 minutes when the unmarked Boskovic headed wide from six yards after a Milan Jovanovic cross.

Rowlands, making his competitive debut for the Republic, collected a 35th-minute booking for a foul on Vukcevic as the Republic continued to struggle.

The QPR midfielder's night took a further turn for the worse two minutes later when he was stretchered off with a knee injury and was replaced by John O'Shea.

Stephen Hunt was proving to the Republic main attacking threat and his free-kick was headed against the crossbar by Dunne three minutes before the break.

The low-key nature of the game continued with neither side fashioning a decent effort on goal in the 15 minutes after half-time.

Robbie Keane tested keeper Poleksic on the hour-mark with an angled shot after Miller's long ball had found Noel Hunt.

Montenegro then appeared to be denied a blatant penalty after McShane's outstretched hand blocked an apparently goal-bound shot from Simon Vukcevic.

The Republic appeared content with their point in the closing stages as the match mercifully drew to a close.

Rep of Ireland: Given, St. Ledger, McShane, Dunne, Kilbane, Stephen Hunt, Rowlands, Miller, Duff, Noel Hunt, Keane. Subs: Westwood, Keogh, Lawrence, Kelly, O'Shea, Doyle, Best.

Montenegro: Poleksic, Basa, Batak, Jovanovic, Zverotic, Simon Vukcevic, Boskovic, Novakovic, Drincic, Pekovic, Delibasic. Subs: Mladen Bozovic, Dzudovic, Kascelan, Delic, Gluscevic, Damjanovic, Nikola Vukcevic.

Referee: Vladimir Hrinak (Slovakia)

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see also
Given thrilled to reach 100 caps
14 Oct 09 |  Internationals
Lawrence aims to continue journey
12 Oct 09 |  Internationals
Inexperience cost us - Trapattoni
10 Oct 09 |  Internationals
Rep of Ireland 2-2 Italy
10 Oct 09 |  Internationals
Who has qualified for South Africa 2010?
19 Nov 09 |  Internationals
Jury still out on Trap
08 Oct 09 |  Internationals
Pick your Rep of Ireland XI
05 Feb 07 |  Internationals

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