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England friendly with Ireland looks highly unlikely, reveals FAI chief

Football Association of Ireland chief John Delaney reveals the English FA are reluctant to stage the friendly before Euro 2012

Kieran Beckles
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Trapattoni's side booked their place at Euro 2012 with play-off win over EstoniaPhoto: Kelvin Gillmor

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FAI chief executive John Delaney has admitted that the prospect of a friendly between England and the Republic of Ireland next year ahead of Euro 2012 is looking unlikely.

Delaney had revealed in November that the FAI were interested in hosting a friendly with their neighbours after the last game between the two nations was abandoned after 27 minutes at Lansdowne Road over 16 years ago.

But the FAI chief executive says there is a reluctance on the part of the English Football Association to organise a non-competitive clash in May – and with England arranging a friendly against Holland in late February, that means a potential match-up is now “highly unlikely”.

“The England game is looking less likely for May,” Delaney said.

“The fact from the English perspective that we could play them in the quarter-finals mean that they’re not that keen to do it in May, but they’re keen to come sooner rather than later after that.

“But it’s highly unlikely that it would be May now.”

Following Ireland’s qualification to Euro 2012 courtesy of a 5-1 play-off victory over Estonia, Delaney had originally appeared optimistic about the chances of setting up a tie between the two sides.

“I think there is a real enthusiasm, particularly from the English FA, to have England in Dublin sooner rather than later,” he said in November.

Ireland midfielder Keith Andrews also revealed his enthusiasm at the prospect of the match. “It would be fantastic,” said Andrews.

“We haven’t played England in such a long time. They have well and truly qualified for the Euros and it would be nice to pit ourselves against them.

“We play against them week in, week out in the Premier League, and to play against them would be something I am sure both sets of fans would love.”

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