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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 September, 2003, 20:29 GMT 21:29 UK
Irish snatch draw with Turkey
David Connolly gets past Alpay Ozalan to score for the Republic of Ireland against Turkey

Republic of Ireland 2-2 Turkey

An injury-time goal from Richard Dunne rescued the Republic of Ireland in Tuesday's friendly at home to Turkey.

It had looked like an 86th minute goal from Okan Yilmaz would give Turkey victory at Lansdowne Road as both sides prepared for crucial Euro 2004 qualifiers.

But, as the Irish threw men forward in stoppage time, Dunne stabbed in the goal which saved Brian Kerr's unbeaten record since taking over as Republic boss.

Having let a lead and two points slip away in Saturday's Euro 2004 qualifier against Russia, Kerr's side were seeking a lift against the Turks.

But they never had things easy against the side who finished third in the 2002 World Cup and are England's rivals for automatic European qualification.

The Irish took the lead through West Ham's David Connolly but Hakan Sukur headed Turkey level early in the second period before Yilmaz struck in the 86th minute.

It was a much-changed Irish side with several players injured and boss Kerr wanting to try out some fringe contenders before the crucial qualifier against Switzerland in October.

Steve Finnan returned for Steve Carr, Andy O'Brien got a chance to stake his claim for a central defensive role while in midfield Mark Kinsella came in for the rested Matt Holland.

Damien Duff played for just the first half and was given an unsual wide right role while up front David Connolly was paired with Tottenham reserve striker Gary Doherty.

It was the lively Connolly, in good scoring form with the Hammers in the First Division, who shot the Irish ahead 10 minutes before half-time.

Collecting a pass from Finnan, Connolly showed a great burst of speed to slip Aston Villa defender Alpay on the left before cutting in and burying his shot inside the near post for his ninth international goal.

Ireland's lead was cancelled out after 52 minutes thanks to a slick move by the Turks.

Tugay fed Ergun on the left and his cross was headed home at the near post by Hakan Sukur.

Having agreed on unlimited substitutions, there was a catalogue of changes to both sides during the second half.

Republic of Ireland: Colgan, Finnan, O'Brien, Breen, Harte, Healy, Kinsella, Duff, Kilbane, Connolly, Doherty. Subs: Murphy, Carr, Dunne, Holland, McPhail, Quinn, Reid, Morrison, Crowe.

Turkey: Rustu, Emre, Korkmaz, Aykel, Alpay, Penbe, Tugay, Sukur, Sanli, Tayfun, Sas. Subs: Catkic, Buruk, Metin, Yildirim, Karadeniz, Yilmaz, Baris, Uzulmez, Davala, Ozgultekin.

Referee: Jan Wegerees (Holland)

BBC Five Live's Simon Brotherton
"Friendlies aren't usually this much fun"

Republic of Ireland boss Brian Kerr
"Turkey showed their quality tonight"

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