IRELAND WILL NEED to pack their scoring boots when they travel to Poland for the European Championships but they were good value for their 1-0 win over Bosnia.
Golden chances were spurned in each half but a Shane Long header after 75 minutes was enough to ensure a good-spirited farewell for the side before their Euro 2012 adventure begins.
Giovanni Trapattoni will be pleased with the performances of Richard Dunne, Paul McShane and Kevin Doyle but Aiden McGeady stole the show.
The winger only appeared after the break but was menacing throughout the second half as he hit the post and set up a string of chances.
James McClean looked lively in the opening minutes and Damien Duff had a penalty appeal turned away as he went down easily in the box.
Richard Dunne needed to be on his toes to snuff out a dangerous Edin Dzeko cross but Ireland’s real worry came on nine minutes when Pandza crashed into Robbie Keane.
The Ireland captain was a mere spectator as the Bosnian won a header and landed a stray knee in his ribs.
Trapattoni and Marco Tardelli looked anxious on the sideline but Keane was able to continue after receiving treatment.
Ireland were denied what looked like a clear penalty after 16 minutes when Glenn Whelan poked a through-ball past the onrushing Asmir Begovic and was clipped in the process.
A goal-kick was awarded and Bosnia were the next to scream for a spot-kick in unison as Dunne charged down a shot from the edge of the box.
There were few clear-cut chances for the next 15 minutes as Bosnia clear Irish corners and Darron Gibson ricocheted a free-kick off a defensive wall.
Kevin Doyle did well to set up Duff for a low drive on 32 minutes and the away side then tested Keiren Westwood as Pjanic struck firmly from 30 yards out.
McClean drew a smart save from Begovic at his near-post as Ireland finished the first half in the ascendency.
The point was emphasised in the closing minutes of the half as Begovic smothered a good Duff chance and saved a Darren O’Dea header from the resulting corner.
More of the same
Keith Andrews and Aiden McGeady came on at the break at it was the Spartak Moscow winger that almost broke the deadlock.
Doyle cushioned a header in McGeady’s direction and he rattled a shot off the base of the left-hand post with 47 minutes on the clock.
Pjanic forced a diving save from Westwood after 58 minutes when he rattled a free-kick goalwards.
Keane and Doyle were next to leave the field to applause as Shane Long and Jonathan Walters were introduced to freshen up the attack.
Begovic had to be quick off his line to deny Long after 73 minutes before McGeady teed up Walters but the Stoke forward thundered a header off the crossbar. It was a poor miss.
McGeady spoke midweek about being the man in possession of a starting spot on the wing, rather than McClean, and he had the better afternoon.
He wriggled clear of two Bosnian markers to drive a low shot in but Begovic did well to get behind it.
McGeady went one better moments later as he received an Andrews ball over the top, evaded the Bosnian left-back and floated in an inviting ball for Shane Long to head home.
It was no more than Ireland deserved and they almost doubled the lead less than a minute later when Walters was denied by Begovic.
He then managed to divert a goal-bound header from Kelly over the bar. Long was thwarted by Begovic after McGeady set him up for another header and Andrews then wasted another headed chance.
Thankfully, Ireland would not live to regret the lack of a clinical edge even though Bosnia spurned a gilt-edged chance in the closing minutes.