29.05.1999 at 00:00 Lansdowne Road
Republic of Ireland
0 - 1
Referee: Ceri Richards (Wales)
Saturday, 29th May 1999
Friendly - Omagh Fund
Republic of Ireland 0 Northern Ireland 1
The Yugoslav soccer team faces a frosty reception when they arrive in Dublin on Thursday for Saturday's controversial Euro qualifier, it emerged yesterday.
There will be no customary pre-match reception for visiting officials and Cabinet Ministers will boycott the match.
Despite the risk of a hefty fine by UEFA, the FAI have decided that there will be no official greeting of the teams at Lansdowne Road, no Yugoslav flag will be flown at the Stadium and the visitors national anthem will not be played.
The snub comes amid growing Irish anger that UEFA is forcing the Republic to go ahead with the fixture.
Manager Mick McCarthy said he and the players feel the decision to proceed is morally wrong against the backdrop of the Kosovo crisis.
The FAI have also banned live television coverage of the game to Yugoslavia. They are determined that there will be no propaganda coup for Serb leader, Slobodan Milosevic.
"My players feel very strongly and think it is morally wrong to play this game ü and we will take the field under protest," said Irish boss, Mick McCarthy.
Yugoslav boss, Milan Zivadinovic, was in Dublin on Saturday when the Republic lost 1-0 to Northern Ireland in a friendly game in aid of the Omagh Bomb Disaster Fund. Sadly, the worst expectations were realised with a crowd of just 12,100, although the Fund should still benefit to the tune of over £200,000.
Manager, McCarthy admitted that the uncertainty surrounding the Yugoslav match had disrupted his team's build-up to Saturday's 1-0 defeat to Northern Ireland.
Now, the Republic squad assemble again in Dublin this evening in preparation for the Yugoslavia game, with Manchester United's Denis Irwin linking up with the panel after his European Cup Final heroics.
McCarthy has slapped a gag on his players talking publicly about next Saturday's game. Ireland are threatened with expulsion from not only Euro 2000 but also the next World Cup if they refuse. The plug has also been pulled on RTE plans to provide television coverage for transmission of the match in Yugoslavia.
And yet there is still clearly a feeling in the FAI that the Irish government, who backed them in forcing UEFA to call off the team's match in Macedonia two months ago when NATO were just beginning their bombing of neighbouring Yugoslavia, have not done enough this time.
''We are not in conflict with our own government,'' O'Byrne insisted, but he added: ''It will take a political decision to stop Saturday's match now because you can't expect the FAI to set out and be responsible for foreign policy.
A spokesman for the UEFA's six-man Task Force, specially formed to deal with the impact of the Kosovo crisis on football, said: ''We've already had to postpone four games in the Republic of Ireland's group and we can't keep doing that indefinitely.
UEFA, though, were clearly governed by the time-factor when they decided last week to eject a Yugoslav club from the InterToto Cup competition which is due to start on June 15.
Now the deadline is fast approaching for them to make a verdict on the country's two places in next season's UEFA Cup. Once those places are taken away, with still no sign of peace in Serbia, the eventual removal of Yugoslavia from Euro 2000 seems inevitable.
But it is highly unlikely to happen before next Saturday ü or even the following Wednesday when they are due to play a home qualifier against Malta.
UEFA have again infuriated the Irish by allowing that match to go ahead in neutral Greece, while not even replying to the Republic's request that, as a fair consequence, the 1-0 defeat which McCarthy's team suffered in Belgrade last November should now be deleted and replayed elsewhere.
Republic of Ireland 0
Northern Ireland 1 (Griffin)
Rep of Ireland: Shay Given (Newcastle United), Stephen Carr (Tottenham), Alan Maybury (Leeds United), Lee Carsley (Blackburn Rovers), Kenny Cunningham (Wimbledon) capt, Phil Babb (Liverpool), Mark Kennedy (Manchester City), Mark Kinsella (Charlton), Niall Quinn (Sunderland), Robbie Keane (Wolverhampton), Damien Duff (Blackburn)
Subs: Alan McLoughlin (Portsmouth) for Carsley 46, David Connolly (Feyenoord) for Robbie Keane 56, Keith O'Neill (Middlesbrough) for Duff 56, Tony Cascarino (Nancy) for Quinn 71, Graham Kavanagh (Stoke City) for Babb 82
Subs not used: Gary Breen (Coventry), Alan Kelly (Blackburn), Dean Kiely (Charlton)
Manager: Mick McCarthy
N. Ireland: Taylor, Patterson, Hughes, Williams, Hunter, Robinson, McCarthy, Lennon, Dowie, Quinn, Rowland
Subs: Carroll for Taylor 46, Coote for Dowie 46, Johnson for Rowland 74, Griffin for Lennon 79