Wednesday, April 2, 1997
World Cup qualifier
Macedonia 3 (Stojkovski 1 pens, Hristov)
Republic of Ireland 2 (McLoughlin, Kelly)
AS PETER Byrne wrote in The Irish Times,“garbed in something approaching fluorescent amber, Ireland often projected the appearance of a gang of council workers . . . but significantly less productive”.
Macedonia’s only previous wins in their six years as an international side had been against Liechtenstein and Cyprus, so when Alan McLoughlin put Ireland 1-0 up with a header after just eight minutes it seemed unlikely that they’d go on to enjoy their third.
But from there it was all downhill for the visitors, Macedonia 2-1 up by half-time after Jason McAteer and Terry Phelan gave away penalties for handball. It was 3-1 on the hour mark when Georgi Hristov fired past Alan Kelly, and although David Kelly pulled a goal back there was to be no equaliser. The day was topped off by McAteer’s red card for a karate kick on Mitko Stojkovski.
Ireland went on to finish second in the group, behind Romania, losing to Belgium in the play-offs.
IRELAND: Alan Kelly; Denis Irwin, Gary Breen, Steve Staunton, Terry Phelan; Jason McAteer, Andy Townsend, Roy Keane, Alan McLoughlin; Jon Goodman, Tony Cascarino. Subs: Keith O’Neill (for Cascarino 46), Ian Harte (for Phelan 56), David Kelly (for O’Neill 76), Kenny Cunningham, Alan Moore, Shay Given, Jeff Kenna.
Ireland: Alan Kelly (Sheffield Utd), Jason McAteer (Liverpool), Denis Irwin (Manchester Utd), Alan McLoughlin (Portsmouth), Gary Breen (Coventry), Steve Staunton (Aston Villa), Andy Townsend (Aston Villa), Roy Keane (Manchester Utd), Tony Cascarino (AS Nancy), Jon Goodman (Wimbledon), Terry Phelan (Everton)
Subs: Keith O'Neill (Norwich) for Cascarino 45 mins, Ian Harte (Leeds) for Phelan 56 mins, David Kelly (Sunderland) for O'Neill 75 mins
Sent off: Jason McAteer
Manager: Mick McCarthy