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Live Commentary: Gibraltar 0-4 Republic of Ireland - as it happened

Relive our live text commentary as the Republic of Ireland beat Group D minnows Gibraltar 4-0 in a Euro 2016 qualifier in Portugal.
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Hello and welcome to Sports Mole's live commentary of the Republic of Ireland's Euro 2016 qualifier with Gibraltar in Portugal.

Fourth in Group D, Martin O'Neill's side travel to the Estado Algarve knowing that nothing but a win will do in order to preserve their hopes of reaching France.

Please note that kickoff is scheduled for 7.45pm.


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Surely Gibraltar can't choose tonight to pick up their first victory as a footballing nation? Actually, there's more chance of Ed Woodward and Florentino Perez going on a lads' night out. Actually, there's more chance of seeing Miley Cyrus wearing, eh, clothes. I'm Shane and I'll be taking you through all of the action from the Estadio Algarve as the Republic of Ireland look to pick up one of the two victories needed to preserve their chances of reaching Euro 2016.

Like requesting the giraffe at a restaurant, it's quite a tall order for Martin O'Neill's men to reach the finals in France next summer. Impossible? Nope. Improbable? Kind of. They host Georgia on Monday night knowing that six points from both games is an absolute must. Before we go any further, let's examine the state of play in Group D.

So, Poland lead the way with 14 points, one clear of Germany in second. How that happened nobody quite knows. Further down you've got Scotland on 11 points, with Gordon Strachan's side two ahead of the Irish. With four qualifiers to play, their automatic qualification hopes are about as alive as John Wayne, but progression via the third-place playoff represents some hope.

The problem is, my friends, the Boys in Green host Germany and face Poland away in their last two games, with zero points very much on the cards in both of those encounters. See the importance of beating Gibraltar and Georgia? They don't need a miracle, but they will need one of the big boys - or preferably both - to take points off the Scots.

Context equals smashed. Good job all round. Shall we have a look at the team news? Why not.

GIBRALTAR XI: Perez; Chipolina, Sergeant, J Chipolina, Casciaro, K Casciaro, Walker, Barnett, Bardon, Duarte, Garcia

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND XI: Given; Christie, O'Shea, Clark, Brady; Hendrick, Whelan, McCarthy, Hoolahan; Walters, Keane

Right, we'll start - and probably finish, because there's not a whole lot known about Gibraltar - with Ireland and Marty O'Neill makes two changes from the 1-1 draw with Scotland last time out. Seamus Coleman and Marc Wilson - who are both one yellow card away from a one-game suspension - drop out of defence for Cyrus Christie and Ciaran Clark. Robbie Keane spearheads the attack. Glenn Whelan and James McCarthy are also one booking away from a ban, but both start in midfield.

We cannot pretend to know much about Gibraltar - and that's because the vast majority of them are not even professional footballers. However, Lee Casciaro, the scorer of Gibraltar's first ever goal following the 7-1 defeat in Glasgow, starts!

Being a full-time fireman, goalkeeper Jordan Perez is charged with the task of handling the red-hot Robbie Keane. Being a customs officer, Roy Chipolina will try prevent the Irish from smuggling three points back to Ireland. Being an admin clerk, Joseph Chipolina will, eh, be the staple of his side's defence tonight? What does an admin clerk do?

I think the fact most of these boys probably have LinkedIn pages is indicative of the cricket score envisioned for the Irish tonight - and they might just need one. Goal difference might be critical, and they're two ahead of Scotland in that department. In October last year, Ireland dealt Gibraltar a 7-0 defeat, with Keane netting a 13-minute hat-trick in Dublin. They'll take a similar result again

There's a few thousand Irish in Portugal for this one, and there's a good chance they're celebrating already because Georgia have only gone and beaten Scotland 1-0 in Tbilisi folks. That could be a huge moment in this group. Victory tonight would see the Irish jump into third place by a point! It would be a very, very Ireland thing to do if they dropped points now. Surely not?

Here's what Group D looks like. Germany and Poland also clash tonight and we'll be giving updates to that one as well when there's something to report.

PREDICTION! Some would say predicting this is a little silly, and we're going to prove those people right. 5-0 Ireland. Keane to score another hat-trick. He's got 65 international goals to his name already, and he could well go some way toward breaking the 70 barrier tonight.

Looks like Padraig and I are singing from the same hymn sheet.


Gary Traynor also fancies by victory by a five-goal margin, but he reckons Gibraltar will score. He must've seen Paul McShane's name in the first XI but he's not there.


Speak for yourself pal we're quite looking forward to it.


This actually Roy Keane throwing somebody through the hotel window if Ireland drop points this evening.


Nineteen what, Kevin? Goals? Yellow cards? Players to finish the match? Anywho, we're nine MINUTES, because it would make no sense on its own, away from kickoff. Stay tuned.


Plenty of Irish in attendance in Faro and here come the players.

And here come the anthems....

Plenty of Gibraltar fans in attendance as well. Their team is obviously on a hiding to nothing here, but that won't stop them from repping their team. Fair play.

KICKOFF: And we're off at the Estadio Algarve. The 'hosts' get us underway and it'll probably be a long 90 minutes for them. That being said, Ireland only beat San Marino 2-1 away a few years back, with Stephen Ireland netting a last-minute winner! Let's not rule out Gibraltar from making this somewhat competitive.

SHOT! As expected, Ireland bossing the possession stakes and James McCarthy thrashes just wide of Perez's goal, but it was deflected and the corner comes to nothing. Ominous start.

Free kick in a dangerous position now for Ireland following Casciaro's hand ball. Stay tuned...

SAVE! Excellent save from Perez as he parries away Robbie Brady's excellent left-footed free kick. So far so good for the home team.

Is this Ireland or Barcelona? The Boys in Green fashion an excellent move here, and it almost ends in a goal but Perez makes the save - and it wasn't even a shot! The ball was just rolled into the area and the keeper pushed it away.

OFF THE BAR! Excellent free-kick delivery from Brady, whose cross is glanced against the crossbar by Ciaran Clark and Gibraltar survive. Still, they're one-ninth of the way to earning a point.

DISALLOWED GOAL! Ireland getting closer, as Robbie Keane bides his time before lofting an excellent cross for the unmarked and offside Jon Walters to head home.

UPDATE - Germany 1-0 Poland: Thomas Muller gives the World champions a narrow one-goal lead in Germany.

This was almost promising for Ireland, as Walters looks to cross for Keane in the box, but the delivery is just over the striker's head and the chance breaks down. Gibraltar are now one-sixth of the way to a point!

It's been a frustrating first 17 minutes from the visitors, but you get the impression that as soon as they get one then they'll get a few more. It's one of those matches.

Promising from Gibraltar, as Liam Walker whips in an excellent free kick and Clark has to turn it behind for a corner, which ultimately comes to nothing.

CHANCE! You'd have had your house on Robbie Keane here. The Premier League legend is picked out wonderfully by Brady - who has been brilliant so far - but the striker's first-time volley is the wrong side of the post and nestles in the side netting.

BLOCK! Huge intervention this as admin clerk Joseph Chipolina throws himself in the line of fire to block Walter's stinging close-range volley. He's done well there.

UPDATE - Germany 2-0 Poland: Ze Germans certainly seem to be cruising top of Group D tonight.

Believe it or not folks, but Gibraltar have been the better team in recent minutes. They haven't almost scored or anything, or even got close to Ireland's box, but they've kept the ball a lot better.

GOAL! Gibraltar 0-1 Ireland (Cyrus Christie)

Yes we know it's Gibraltar, but this was an excellent goal. Right-back Christie pulls out some slick skill to beat two defenders, before audaciously executing a superb outside-of-the-boot effort from a tight angle and it beats Perez who, okay, should've done better. Still, 1-0.

SAVE! Ireland almost have a second immediately as Walters's audacious chest-and-volley from 30 yards is tipped over by Perez. They're getting stronger.

I'll be hugely surprised if we don't see another before the break. At least on more, that is. Ireland utterly dominant as we might expect, and being only 1-0 ahead at the break would, well, be a little disappointing.

SAVE! By Perez? Nope, by Given! Gibraltar finally have a shot, and it's even on target as the Donegal man beats away Liam Walker's first-time volley. Not a bad effort, but a comfortable stop by Given nonetheless.

SHOT! Gibraltar have had ANOTHER shot now, and it's Walker again, and he's much further out this time but his shot is well held by Given. Let's not write off Gibraltar while it's only 1-0.

Five minutes the break and, well, as far as unflattering first-half displays go, Ireland have been poor. No shortage of chances but they're lacking a killer instinct at the moment.

BOOKING: Walters is booked for going under a tackle from Barnett and then handling the ball as if to say "it's going to be our free kick mate" - but it wasn't. As often as that happens, handling before the whistle goes, I believe that's the first time I've seen somebody penalised.

HALF TIME: Gibraltar 0-1 Republic of Ireland

So, only 1-0 at the break against only Gibraltar. It's not quite going to plan. Ireland could, and definitely should, be winning by more than one goal but Christie's excellent goal on 26 minutes separates both sides.

Gibraltar haven't been all bad. They're much better than the side Ireland beat 7-0 11 months ago. And they've had two attempts, both of which Shay Given dealt with. Still, Ireland aren't inspiring much confidence ahead of the second half.

RESTART: And we're back underway! Ireland, leading 1-0 courtesy of a Cyrus Christie goal on 26 minutes, have to do much more in truth. They weren't great.

It's still not great for the Irish. They clearly have another level to reach but they're just not finding it.

GOAL! Gibraltar 0-2 Ireland (Keane)

There's the second, and it's Keane, who has the easiest of finishes as he taps home from point-blank range after Perez made a hash of Walter's cross. Shocking goalkeeping.

PENALTY TO IRELAND! Liam Walker fouls Hoolhan and it's a penalty for Ireland.

GOAL! Gibraltar 0-3 Ireland (Keane, penalty)

Pretty much job done now for Ireland, who out of nowhere lead 3-0, with Keane picking up his brace.

We predicted 5-0 before the game, but it may well end up being a little more than that because the hosts are getting tired. Very tired.

We saw Ireland effectively declare a 7-0 win back in Dublin, having scored all even before the 68-minute mark, and we might actually see something similar again because they don't look all that bothered anymore. They're still pushing forward, of course, but I'm not sure if the same incentive is there.

Liam Walker has been Gibraltar's best player, and he has just fizzed in an excellent ball but Given plucked it from the sky. Nobody attacked it! That was a shame.

Gibraltar's manager looks a little like Nigel Worthington. Remember him? It might be him you know.

SAVE! This goalkeeper Perez is such an enigma. He's just made a very decent save to keep out McCarthy, but he'll be remembered for that howler that set up Keane for the second.

SUB: First sub as McCarthy makes way for Stephen Quinn. I like this fella.

What a truly brilliant tackle from Brady, who thwarts John Sergeant's marauding run at the crucial moment. He's been my man of the match tonight. He's been superb.

CHANCE! Oh lord. Hoolahan's left-footed shot deflects into the path of Walters, who couldn't sort his feet out in time and fires wide from a glorious position. Maybe that's why Norwich didn't want you pal.

GOAL! Gibraltar 0-4 Ireland (Shane Long)

Good header from Long, who gets away from Barnett before heading home Hendrick's decent cross. Game over? Well it was game over quite a long time ago, but it definitely is now.

The Fields of Athenry echoes around this wonderful stadium now. The Irish are in party mood now. They're going to paint the town of Faro red later on - and then cover it in sick I suspect.

Five minutes to go then. Five minutes for Ireland to score a fifth and ensure we get a winning prediction for once. It looks unlikely though.

Whelan tries to dink over the top for Long, but the ball rolls into Perez's arms. David Silva over here...

THREE MINUTES ADDED ON: Looks like we're just going to see the four, my friends.

FULL TIME: Gibraltar 0-4 Ireland

That's all she wrote in Faro. Christie, Keane and Long did the damage as the Irish move third in Group D! Scotland will be well and truly kicking themselves tonight. Anywho, that's us. Thanks for joining us and we'll see you on Monday for the visit of Georgia to Dublin! What a huge, huge, huge game that is.

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Republic of Ireland's new football manager Martin O'Neill speaks during a press conference to announce his official appointment at the Gibson Hotel in Dublin, Ireland on November 9, 2013
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