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Republic of Ireland vs Northern Ireland: Goals in short supply in Dublin

Republic of Ireland vs Northern Ireland Match Preview and Predictions

Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland meet for the first time in seven years in an international friendly on Thursday in preparation for their Nations League matches over the next few days.

[All odds correct at time of publication]

Martin O'Neill's men face Denmark in Aarhus on Monday night although they may well be relegated from Group B by then if the Danes lose to Wales on Thursday.

Northern Ireland host Austria on Sunday knowing they are likely to be relegated after losing all three of their Group B3 games.

Match information

When is it? Thursday 15th November

What time is kick-off? 19:45

Where is it being played? Aviva Stadium

Which channel is it on? Sky Sports Football

Who is the referee? Kevin Friend

Republic of Ireland vs Northern Ireland Betting Tips

Here are our best tips for Thursday's match for which we also have a range of other markets available:

The lowdown

The last time these two nations met was in 2011 when Robbie Keane scored twice to help give the the Republic a 5-0 victory but we're not expecting that many goals on Thursday night.

Northern Ireland have not scored away from home in nearly 15 months - a run of six matches - with a 3-0 win at San Marino the last time their fans were treated to goals on the road.

The Republic have hardly been setting the world alight in front of goal either, having failed to score at home in their last two matches against Denmark and Wales.

Moreover, they have been kept at bay in five of their last 10 matches and scored more than one goal just once during that period - a 2-1 win against the United States.

With two poor teams on display, the first of our Republic of Ireland vs Northern Ireland predictions is for under 1.5 goals at 31/20.

First goalscorer

Although we have nailed our colours to a goalless draw as per the remainder of our preview below, we think there is value further down the field with no obvious candidate to score first.

Centre-back Shane Duffy has two goals in 24 appearances for his country and has scored twice for Brighton this season, so looks excellent value at 22/1 to be first goalscorer when the deadlock could easily be broken at a set-piece.

Anytime goalscorer

Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis has scored 11 goals in 105 appearances for Northern Ireland and was on target in the recent 3-0 win against Israel.

The Southampton midfielder has not started a Premier League game this season but is an automatic pick for his country and at 13/2 gets the vote as our anytime scorer tip.

Where the game will be won or lost

The 1990s and early 2000s were a golden period for the Republic of Ireland, who were miles ahead of their neighbours, but these days there is nothing to separate these teams in the FIFA world rankings.

Both teams are lacking quality, especially up front where Martin O'Neill, who earned 64 caps playing for Northern Ireland, will be without injured striker Shane Long.

The Republic have called up 18-year-old Southampton forward Michael Obafemi, born to Nigerian parents in Dublin but who was raised in the London area, and also Manchester United teenager and Ireland Under-19s captain Lee O'Connor to train with the squad.

With Declan Rice still undecided between Ireland and England, it's clear O'Neill is on a recruitment drive as is the case with counterpart and namesake Michael, who has brought in four players from the under-21s, including Livingston's on-loan defender Bobby Burns.

With both teams set to experiment, we fancy a goalless first half at 7/5 and a 0-0 draw wraps up our Republic of Ireland vs Northern Ireland betting tips at 6/1.

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Warren Barner
@warren_barner in Football