Irish held by Hungarians

Updated: June 4, 2012
Jon Walters

Giovanni Trapattoni’s side stayed injury free after a 0-0 draw against Hungary in Budapest, the side’s final game before their European opener against Croatia next Sunday.

Rain delayed the game for ten minutes due to severe rain but once the game did get underway, Ireland failed to break the deadlock despite the stronger side being Hungary.

Ireland made a bright start and created the first real chance of the game when John O’Shea headed from a free kick.

A few moments later, the Hungary keeper, Adam Bogdan, who plays his football with English side Bolton Wanderers, was called upon to make a great save from a Robbie Keane shot.

As the first half progressed however Hungary grew more and more into the game and with 20 minutes gone they had shouts for a penalty turned down.

Any worries over the knee’s and blisters of Shay Given were cast to one side as the Aston Villa man turned in a confidence boosting 45 minutes between the sticks, making a number of fine saves as the Hungarians shot at every opportunity.

The home side also took the lead just on 35 minutes when Sean St. Ledger slipped on the slippery surface and Adam Szalai found himself on his own in front of the Irish goal. But, cometh the man and cometh the hour, Given once again pulling off another cracking save to rescue the Irish.

The Hungarians had another chance to score just before half time as they took control of the game however Stephen Ward did well to block the goal bound shot injuring himself in the process. But, he returned to his feet, thankfully minutes later.

Irish manager Giovanni Trapattoni made some changes at half with Jon Walters coming on for the ineffective Kevin Doyle and Keiren Westwood coming on for Given.

Shortly into the second half, Westwood showed he was a more than adequate replacement for the Donegal man as he pulled off a couple of great saves to deny Hungary. It seems Ireland we’re getting away with it.

The introduction of Stoke’s Jon Walters signalled a strong second half for the Irish with the forward making a strong case for a starting berth against Croatia with a lively display.

Walters went close with a number of efforts, including a header that went just wide.

Much like at the end of the first half Hungary had a chance to win it at the death when former Liverpool striker Kristen Nemeth went close but in the end it finished 0-0. Trapattoni will be pleased that his side got a decent work out ahead of the Croatia clash with the form of Given and Walters especially pleasing for the Italian.

SportsNewsIreland will have live updates from all of Ireland’s Euro 2012 games.

Ireland line up: Give (off for Westwood), O’Shea, Dunne, St Ledger, Ward, Andrews (off for Gibson), Whelan (off for Green), Duff (off for Hunt), McGeady, Keane (C) (off for Cox) and Doyle (off for Walters).

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