Thursday 14 December 2017

Odds are good for Trap's boys in game of Russian Roulette

THE Russians are coming! Ireland will have to man the defences tonight as they face their biggest test since Paris 11 months ago.

And Giovanni Trapattoni's team will be hoping for a better outcome than the controversial result against the French. The Boys in Green never made it to the World Cup in South Africa after losing the play-off.

However, they can go a long way towards avoiding similar heartache by beating the Russians at the Aviva Stadium.

But they have already faltered after losing at home to Slovakia last month.

If Ireland win tonight, Russian pundits have predicted their coach, Dick Advocaat, will get the boot.

"He will be sacked if Russia lose," one media commentator noted. The home crowd for Irish games have traditionally been the team's 12th man, rarely getting on the players' backs and generally being supportive.

And it's expected to be no different this evening at the 51,000-capacity Aviva stadium.

Concerns about the new stadium have also been address by the FAI.

Chief executive of the organisation, John Delaney, said he believes the Aviva is safe, despite earlier teething problems with the new venue.

"Any time you put 51,000 people together there are going to be issues," Mr Delaney said.

Last Saturday's Magners League clash between Leinster and Munster raised issues over access to Lansdowne Road Dart station.

"I think the incident in the rugby match was about barriers not being taken down," Mr Delaney said.

Among the cheering crowds tonight will be hundreds of delighted families who snapped up bargain-price tickets, courtesy of a special offer from the Herald.

The hugely popular family ticket offer allowed families - of two adults and two children - get tickets at less than half the normal price.

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