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Aaron Connolly and Alan Browne dejected after their side conceded. Picture: INPHO/Ryan Byrne
Aaron Connolly and Alan Browne dejected after their side conceded. Picture: INPHO/Ryan Byrne
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Cork soccer duo Browne and Egan start as Ireland crash to qualifier loss in Switzerland

IRELAND failed to deliver in Switzerland so November 18 and a clash with Denmark at the Aviva Stadium is now the key date for European Championship qualification hopes.

The Boys In Green have it all to do after a tepid display on the road following last weekend's 0-0 draw with Georgia but know a victory over the Danes will send them through. On the evidence of this game, that's highly unlikely, though home advantage at least gives them a fighting chance.

Irish boss Mick McCarthy included Cork native Alan Browne in his starting 11 in place of Bandon’s Conor Hourihane, while Bishopstown's John Egan kept his place in the centre of defence. 

Conor Hourihane and Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Conor Hourihane and Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Lively young Brighton attacker Aaron Connolly made his first senior international start, while Enda Stevens returned from suspension in place of Matt Doherty.

The game went ahead at the Stade de Geneve following a pitch inspection after there was heavy rainfall during the day in Switzerland.

The hosts went into the lead in the 16th minute. The ball was knocked down to Haris Seferovic on the edge of the box and he arrowed a low shot beyond the grasp of Darren Randolph in the Irish goal.

The closest Ireland came during the opening 45 minutes arrived through a Shane Duffy header from a corner kick, while James Collins should have done better when a late opportunity to shoot came his way.

Switzerland were well deserving of their lead at the break, as they were better in possession and they looked the more threatening in front of goal. Seferovic forced Randolph into a good stop early after the break.

Ireland produced some good passages of play early in the second half, with Egan seeing his effort going just wide of the post.

All of that improvment was almost undone when Schar hit the post from a Rodriguez corner.

The Swiss were given the perfect opportunity to double their lead from the penalty spot, a decision that saw Seamus Coleman given his marching orders. 

Randolph got down well to save the spot-kick from Rodriguez however and ensure the game was still in the melting pot heading into the latter stages.

Switzerland secured the three points with a second goal in second-half stoppage time, when Duffy, unfortunately, put the ball into his own net.

Although the second half was generally better from an Irish perspective, that cutting edge in front of goal was lacking.

That is something which will have to change next month when the Danes arrive in Dublin.