An outstanding save from Darren Randolph in the opening minute of the second half saved Ireland’s blushes on Mick McCarthy’s return to international management.
Randolph, a spectator for the first half, dived away to his left to keep out a close-range header from Gibraltar’s Roy Chipolina in their opening qualifying game for Euro 2020.
Just over two minutes later Burnley’s Jeff Hendrick swept home the only goal of the game from just inside the box.
Gibraltar are ranked 194 out of 211 teams by Fifa.
Randolph, who can scarcely have played in a stranger setting when collecting his 35 caps, on a plastic pitch squeezed in between a huge rock and an airport, has now kept four clean sheets in his last five internationals.
Ireland are next in action against Georgia in Dublin on Tuesday night.
Mo Besic was also on the winning side, as Bosnia beat Albania 2-1 with a goal in each half in a qualifier in Sarajevo.
Besic was winning his 36th cap on a night when Rade Krunic and Deni Milosevic scored the goals and Edin Dzeko won his 100th cap – the first Bosnian to achieve the feat. The Boro loanee was instrumental throughout.
Injury had reduced Bosnia to ten men when a Henrikh Mkhitaryan penalty reduced the arrears three minutes into injury-time, too little too late. Bosnia are back in action in another qualifier on Tuesday, at home to Greece.
Stephen Walker played the opening 71 minutes for England U19s as they lost 2-1 to Greece in an Elite Qualifying game at St George’s Park. Walker’s replacement, Reading’s Danny Loader won two penalties in the time he was on, one was saved, the second brought a 90th-minute consolation for Wolves’ Morgan Gibbs-White.
Keith Downing’s side now have to beat Denmark, again at St George’s, on Tuesday and hope the Czech Republic don’t lose to Greece if they are to secure a place in the finals in Armenia in the summer.
On Friday afternoon Patrick Reading was an unused substitute as Scotland’s U21s squandered a chance to beat Mexico in a friendly in Marbella. The game finished 0-0 but Scotland had a penalty saved with the last action of the match. They are back in action on Monday, again in Marbella, when they take on Sweden U21s in another friendly.
Friday evening saw another of our U23s an unused sub as Enes Mahmutovic watched from the bench as Luxembourg’s first team beat Lithuania 2-1 in Luxembourg City in a European Championships qualifier. Their next game is another at home, Ukraine are the visitors for a qualifying game on Monday night.