Netherlands strike late to deny enterprising Ireland victory in pre-Euro 2016 game

Martin O'Neill's side were impressive during much of their first pre-tournament friendly

Shane Long, Ireland, Netherlands

Ireland's Shane Long celebrates scoring their first goal ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

Ireland were five minutes away from victory against the Netherlands tonight but had to settle for a 1-1 draw.

Luuk De Jong headed in the Dutch equaliser at Aviva Stadium to cancel out Shane Long's opening goal in Ireland's first of two Euro 2016 warm-up games this month. 

Ireland were impressive for long periods against a limited Dutch side and Martin O'Neill can be satisfied with much of what he saw - apart from the marking for the Dutch equaliser.

The likes of Harry Arter, who got Man of the Match, as well as Shane Duffy also impressed as the fight to make it into the 23-man squad heats up. 

Dutch keeper Cillessen had to make the first save of the match 18 minutes when Arter darted towards the Dutch defence and fired a deflected shot which nestled into the shot-stopper's arms.

And an Ireland side which was well-structured and flexible in the first half - Jon Walters switched flanks regularly - took the lead on 30 minutes.

Robbie Brady's in-swinging corner from the right was headed majestically and powerfully towards goal by John O'Shea. Cillessen stopped it from squeezing in but the fall fell for Long to turn in the rebound.

 

Ireland’s John O’Shea celebrates Shane Long's goal with Harry Arter and Robbie Brady ©INPHO/Gary Carr

It was a bright first half for Ireland, creating further half-chances particularly from the right flank, while the Dutch threatened on the break particularly with a relatively quiet Memphis.

Walters had a chance to make it 2-0 on 48 minutes but his headed attempt across goal from the angle of the six yard box was saved low by Cillessen.

On 52 minutes, centre-back Duffy met a Brady corner from the left but couldn't keep it down as his header sailed over the bar. 

Straight after that, Long came close to a second goal when Walters headed across for him as the Dutch failed to clear a ball in. But the Southampton forward's own header also hurdled the crossbar.

O'Neill made his first changes on 66 minutes with a triple substitution as James McClean, Darron Gibson and Jeff Hendrick replaced Long, Whelan and Stephen Quinn, around the same point in the match where Netherlands rallied somewhat, testing Ireland with crosses from both flanks. 

Ireland appeared to be on course for a morale-boosting win but with five minutes to go, an unmarked Luuk De Jong headed a pinpoint cross into the back of the net to leave the scores at 1-1.

Ireland: Randolph; Coleman, O'Shea, Duffy, Brady, Whelan (Gibson '66), Arter (O'Kane '81), Quinn (Hendrick '66), Walters, McGoldrick (Hoolahan '75), Long (McClean '66).