A dubious David McGoldrick strike and Robbie Brady’s last minute diving header sealed Ireland a 2-0 win over minnows Gibraltar.
Pre-game Mick McCarthy said the score-line didn’t matter once Ireland won, but McCarthy will not doubt be concerned as Ireland huffed and puffed to victory.
Ireland failed to light up the Aviva Stadium making 72% of the possession but managing just seven shots on goal as they lacked creativity and finishing in front of goal.
The goal when it came was a bit of a fluke, David McGoldrick ran away claiming it as he fired Seamus Coleman’s driven cross home.
While the Aviva stadium crowd cheered the opener, the replay brought laughter as McGoldrick’s shot was heading well wide before deflecting off Joseph Chipolina and into the opposite corner.
Ireland failed to really create anything against the rock of Gibraltar, the closet they came was four minutes later, Coleman again the provided.
The Everton full-back pulling a ball across the goal, Callum Robinson flicked an effort toward goal, only to be deflected wide of the post for a corner.
Robinson came close again bang on half-time, his speculative effort from the edge of the box sailed wide of the far post with Gibraltar keeper Kyle Goldwin at full stretch.
The second half was total one way traffic, Ireland’s best outlets the right side combination of Seamus Coleman and Callum Robinson.
While Ireland used the wings to effect, in a typical Mick McCarthy style team their lack of invention from the centre is worrying and very evident against such minnows.
While Ireland lacked guile, brute force battering was their next effort. Jeff Henderick and Callum Robinson 61st minute efforts from inside the box both being blocked down by the bullish defence.
Less than a minute later Scott Hogan couldn’t force the ball home beyond Goldwin, both lying strewn on the ground.
Hogan was next to be denied his first international goal after being fed through by McGoldrick, his shot pushed away at his near post by Goldwin.
McGoldrick rattled the post from the edge of the box on 70 minutes after a neat turn that found space on his right foot.
While the three points will be welcomed, there were little positives Mick McCarthy could take from the Aviva Stadium or creatively from the draw with Denmark.
Ireland strung passes together late on via Jeff Henderick and McGoldrick, Robbie Brady’s shot flying into the south stand.
Brady’s corner kick in the first minute of injury time found Richard Keogh unmarked in the box, he could only head it straight at the goal keeper.
The Aviva Stadium crowd had already filtered out when Robbie Brady’s diving header connected with James McClean’s cross to make it 2-0, two minutes into injury time.
Mick McCarthy didn’t celebrate on the touchline, three points secured on a night best forgotten.
Ireland: Randolph, Coleman, Duffy, Keogh, Stevens, Henderick, Hourihane, McClean, Robinson (Brady 72), McGoldrick, Hogan (Maguire 66)
Gibraltar: Goldwin, Roy Chipolina, Sergeant, Joseph Chipolina, Annesley, Olivero, De Barr, Hernandez (Jolley 76), Pons (Britto 64), Walker, Casciaro (Bardon 9)
Referee: Radu Petrescu (Romania)