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Aviva match arranged for Republic

The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland will meet in a behind-closed-doors training match at the Aviva Stadium on June 4 ahead of crucial Euro 2016 qualifiers.

Michael O'Neill's Northern Ireland can move to the top of Group F with victory over Romania at Windsor Park on June 13, while Martin O'Neill's Republic face a crunch Group D clash with Scotland in Dublin on the same day.

The two countries last met at the same ground in the 2011 Carling Nations Cup, with the Republic running out emphatic 5-0 victors in front of 15,083 fans.

"It was important for us to get a quality game before the Euro 2016 qualifier against Romania and this game provides the perfect scenario on the back of the Qatar friendly," Michael O'Neill said.

"Having the game behind closed doors will allow both myself and Martin flexibility which we wouldn't have under normal international circumstances and it will also help greatly in terms of our preparations for the important qualifier against Romania the following weekend."

Wigan winger James McClean could feature in the unofficial friendly four years on from pulling out of a Northern Ireland squad and declaring his intention to represent the Republic, whose manager Martin O'Neill is keen to give his squad game time.

He said: "With the season ending early for a lot of our players, Michael and I discussed it and see this as a mutually beneficial exercise for both sides.

"It represents an ideal opportunity to build the intensity of our preparations, leading into the England friendly, and before the important qualifier against Scotland."


From Belfast Telegraph