Mick McCarthy’s Ireland get a pre-World Cup warning about the strength of African football losing to Nigeria 2-1.
The Irish leave for the island of Saipan on Friday morning to begin their World Cup acclimatisation.
But they depart with their two-year unbeaten home record in tatters after goals from teenage striker Julius Aghahowa and defender Efe Sodje.
McCarthy wanted this warm-up game as the Irish face African opposition in their first Group E game on 1 June.
They play Cameroon who earlier this year succeeded Nigeria as African Cup of Nations winners.
So Thursday’s game in Dublin served as a timely indication for McCarthy of the huge task which lies ahead in Japan.
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Nigeria took the lead in the 13th minute with a goal which will raise questions about the strength of Ireland central defence.
Paris St Germain’s Jay Jay Okocha clipped through an incisive ball for Shakhtar Donetsk striker Julius Agahowa to drill a 12-yard drive beyond Shay Given.
Nigeria added a second just 85 seconds after the restart and again defence frailty was exposed.
Crewe Alexandra’s bandana-wearing Sodje was somehow allowed a free header five yards out from Ikedia’s corner.
But it was not all gloom for Ireland.
Late call-up Stephen Reid made it 2-1 with a well-struck shot on 69 minutes to give the Irish hope of saving their proud record in Dublin.
The Millwall player had been on his way to holiday in Barnados on Wednesday when he received the late call to replace the injured Mark Kennedy.
Another full house at Lansdowne Road had been hoping to witness a victory from the Irish team on the eve of their departure to the Far East.
McCarthy fielded what could well be his starting line-up against Cameroon, with Roy Keane dispelling doubts about his fitness.
There was concern surrounding the Ireland skipper after he pulled out of Niall Quinn’s charity testimonial in Sunderland on Tuesday.
Keane was understood to have been undergoing treatment at Manchester United for an unidentified injury.
He was substituted 25 minutes from the end by Mark Kinsella.
Republic of Ireland: Given, Finnan, Harte, Cunningham, Staunton, Keane (sub Kinsella 64), McAteer (sub Reid 45), Holland, Duff (sub Connolly 60), Robbie Keane (sub Morrison 60), Kilbane (sub Kelly 60).
Nigeria: Shorumnu, Joseph, Kanu, Okoronkwo, West, Ogbeche, Okocha (sub Oruma 66), Ikedia, Sodje, Aghahowa, Opabunmi.
Referee: Antonia Almeida Costa (Portugal