Republic of Ireland 0
CORK'S Caoimhin Kelleher and Chiedozie Ogbene made their Republic of Ireland senior debuts and helped their country earn a credible 0-0 draw against Hungary at the Ferenc Szusza Stadion in Budapest on Tuesday night.
The Boys in Green end their training camp on a high having now backed up their recent 4-1 with against Andorra with a promising display against a Hungary side that will soon feature in the European championship.
Manager Stephen Kenny made just two changes to his side that secured his first win in charge at the 12th attempt last Thursday with Shane Duffy and Adam Idah replacing Ronan Curtis and James Collins.
Idah was joined by fellow Cork natives John Egan, who kept the captain’s armband, and Conor Hourihane in the starting eleven with Caoimhin Kelleher and Chiedozie Ogbene having to settle for a place on the bench, initially.
In front of a full crowd, the Hungarians were looking for a positive showing in their final match before they start their Euros campaign where they will meet Portugal and France in Budapest before facing Germany in Munich.
But their fans, some of whom decided to boo the Irish players for taking a knee before kick-off, wouldn’t have been encouraged by what they saw exactly a week shy of their meeting with the European Champions.
The visitors were inches away from taking the lead in the fifth minute and Egan was desperately unlucky not to grab his first Ireland goal but his close-range header from Josh Cullen’s free cannoned against the underside of the crossbar.
The centre-back played his part in restricting his opponents to just shots from distance although they did nearly break the deadlock shortly before the break.
Gavin Bazunu did brilliantly to stretch and tip Ádám Szalai’s header just past his left post before Hourihane cleared Ákos Kecskés’ goalbound header from the resulting corner.
That was the young shot-stopper’s last piece of the action as he was replaced by Kelleher - the former Ringmahon Rangers striker turned keeper - at half-time.
He didn’t have long to wait before making his first save as he calmly turned Ádám Szalai’s powerful hit away from his near post.
Idah nearly capped a great night for the Rebel county on 68 minutes but Ádam Bogdán denied him his first international goal, stopping his low drive from finding the bottom left corner.
In the end, it was up to Kelleher to earn Ireland a draw as he made a pair of stunning saves from both Ádám and Attila Szalai late on to preserve the clean sheet although Ogbene almost grabbed a winner with his first touch but he blasted the ball into the side netting from a tight angle.
HUNGARY: Péter Gulácsi (Ádam Bogdán 64); Ákos Kecskés, Willi Obrán, Attila Szalai; Bendegúz Bolla, László Kleinheisler (Loic Négo 64), Ádam Nagy, András Schafer, Attila Fiola (János Hahn 79); Ádám Szalai, Roland Varga (Kevin Varga ht).
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: Gavin Bazunu (Caoimhin Kelleher ht); Shane Duffy, John Egan, Dara O’Shea; Matt Doherty, Josh Cullen, Conor Hourihane (Jayson Molumby 56), James McClean (Ryan Manning 85); Jason Knight (Chiedozie Ogbene 89); Adam Idah (James Collins 89), Troy Parrott (Daryl Horgan 56).
Referee: Daniel Stefański (Poland).