Republic of Ireland lose to Belarus in warm-up friendly for Euro 2016

This was not part of the script – the Republic of Ireland’s last friendly before Euro 2016 ended in a surprise defeat by Belarus. While Martin O’Neill was hoping to receive clarity surrounding the final positions in his squad, the manager may have had more questions than answers at the conclusion of a desperately flat performance that improved only on the introduction of some first-choice players towards the end.

Goals from Mikhail Gordeichuk and Maksim Volodko earned Belarus an unexpected victory in Cork, although Stephen Ward pulled one back for Ireland in the 71st minute. Scouts from their group opponents Belgium and Sweden, plus French and Austrian representatives, were unlikely to depart the south coast perturbed by what they witnessed, regardless of the considerably weakened team.

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