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The Republic of Ireland went through the whole 2008 World Cup Qualifying campaign unbeaten after a scoreless draw with Montenegro on Wednesday night at Croke Park in Dublin.
The team, already guaranteed a playoff place after the 2-2 draw on Saturday, played out a relatively dull draw with their visitors in front of a crowd of just over 50,000, many of whom were on hand to congratulate keeper Shay Given and defender Kevin Kilbane who both won their 100th cap on the night.
Though plenty of Irish players were given a chance to shine on Wednesday night, the match had a pre season friendly feel to it, with little at stake and players happy to take a point and avoid injury as much as anything else.
Damien Duff came close in the 23rd minute after being set up by Stephen Hunt, and Richard Dunne rattled the crossbar with a header just before halftime.
The second half was notable for an Irish letoff when Paul Mcshane seemed to block the ball on the line with his arm in the 66th minute. The referee decided it was not a penalty and the Hull defender was lucky not to be penalized.
Ireland finished the group on 18 points and went through the campaign undefeated. Normally, this would be greeted with glee, but with so many points dropeed and leads lost in certain games, one hopes that it won’t be a case of what might have been after next month’s two legged playoffs.