IRELAND host minnows the Faroe Islands in Dublin (7.45) as they try to challenge for a runners-up position and a chance of the play-offs.

Group C contains Germany so all other teams are chasing their heels.

The Irish are battling away as usual but seem to lack the quality and team spirit of the last few years.

They are in a really tough group and sit joint second after five games. Since their awful showing in Euro 2012 Ireland have had a mixed bag of results.

While five wins, four draws and three defeats seems like a decent return they have only managed to beat one side of note in Poland.

Wins over Oman, Faroe Islands and Kazakhstan will impress few people. With 20 goals scored and 13 conceded in that straightforward run of games it shows a weakness in the Ireland side.

Germany walloped them 6-1 in Dublin and Serbia outplayed them for long parts of their 0-0 draw. The limited nature of the Irish squad is highlighted by the replacements brought into this game after the withdrawals of Paul Green, Kevin Doyle and Anthony Pilkington.

Stephen Quinn makes his first squad for six years, Richard Dunne may make a rare start and Robbie Keane is given leave from the MLS to feature.

Ireland battled hard and matched England in the 1-1 draw at Wembley. They then hammered a disinterested Georgia 4-0 at the weekend, although it must be pointed out they did have a man advantage for the majority of the game.

Faroe Islands are another side simply making up the numbers in international football. As proof they have lost the last eight games and 17 of the last 20. In the run of eight defeats they only managed three goals yet conceded 25.

Faroes do not tend to help themselves as they hardly play any close rivals in friendlies.

The Faroes have few recognised players and although some play in neighbouring Scandanavian nations almost half the side is from HB Torshavn and they have little success outside the Islands.

This should be a comfortable win for the Republic of Ireland in a match that is very one-sided. Faroes will pack the entire side behind the ball for 90 minutes and defend for their lives.

Ireland will attack staunchly and should score a few unanswered goals here. The odds are short as you would expect so we need to look at the high handicaps for any value.

Republic of Ireland minus 2.5 is the best line at 1.83 (bet365) with Keane back and already among the goals. He will be itching for a start here to guarantee himself of a goal or two but over 3.5 and over 4.5 offer better odds and are worth a look too.

Recommended Bets

Over 3.5 match goals @ 10/11

Over 4.5 match goals @ 9/4

Milesey (Betfair)

1 Comment
  1. Milesey 7 years ago

    Reds v Lions
    Kick-off: Saturday 10.30 / Live on Sky Sports 2

    It has been a stroll for the British and Irish Lions so far in their two opening matches but it should get somewhat harder in Brisbane against the Queensland Reds. The Lions launched their tour with a 59-8 win over the Barbarians in Hong Kong before thrashing Western Force 69-17 on Wednesday.

    Much has been made so far of the weakened line-up fielded by their first Australian opponents and head coach Warren Gatland has admitted they will have to step up their intensity in training if the standard of opposition does not stretch them. With four games remaining until the first Test against Australia, the Lions want to be tested rather than just coast through each warm-up game.

    There is reason to believe that the Reds will at least offer something for the Lions to think about this weekend. The side are currently fourth overall in the Super Rugby table and second in the Australian Conference. The Reds were the champions two years ago and they have the chance to win the competition again this season.

    One of the biggest threats to the Lions is Quade Cooper and the mercurial talent will have a point to prove. The controversial fly-half has been left out of the initial Wallabies squad having criticised coach Robbie Deans last year. But there is still a chance he could force his way into the group before the opening Test and a big performance here could do the trick. Cooper warmed up by scoring the winning try in their victory over the Melbourne Rebels last weekend.

    The Lions have shuffled the pack again and skipper Sam Warburton has recovered from his knee injury to make his debut. Owen Farrell gets another opportunity at fly-half and the Saracens star will be expected to keep his discipline after his spat with Schalk Brits last weekend. There is plenty of quality in attack with Stuart Hogg and Alex Cuthbert involved so the team will be be looking to add significantly to the 17 tries already scored in just two games.

    This should be an entertaining clash with the Reds renowned for their width and attacking ability. After an easy opening, the Lions will face their first genuine test of the tour. But it would be foolish to bet against them from winning here. It certainly should not be as one-sided as the previous matches but expect Gatland’s team to continue their winning sequence at the Suncorp Stadium.

    Recommended bet

    Back the Lions to win by more than 12.5 points at 1.6


    ( BETFAIR )

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