* Long scores winner with header after 78 minutes
* Winger McClean makes case for euro 2012 start
* Bosnia fail to capitalise on string of chances
By Conor Humphries
DUBLIN, May 26 Ireland beat a dogged Bosnia side
1-0 on Saturday in their last home game before the European
Championship, Shane Long heading a late winner and promising
youngster James McClean pushing his claims for a place in the
Long scored the winner in the 78th minute after being picked
out by winger Aiden McGeady and the home side nearly doubled the
lead with a succession of shots by Jon Walters in the closing
"I think we deserved to win because the possession (we had
in) the first and also the second half," coach Giovanni
Trapattoni told reporters.
"I think we could also have scored two. (We had) three or
four good opportunities."
Bosnia, who missed out on qualification for Euro 2012
following a playoff defeat by Portugal, failed to capitalise on
a string of chances against a weakened Irish defence missing
defender John O'Shea and veteran goalkeeper Shay Given.
Ireland, who qualified for their first major tournament in a
decade by beating Estonia, produced a fine attacking display
that belied their reputation as a very defensive team.
They face world and European champions Spain next month in a
tough Group C in Ukraine and Poland that also includes Italy and
Croatia. They play Hungary on June 4 in their final friendly
before the tournament.
McGeady's man-of-the-match winning performance and an
excellent display by Sunderland's McClean on his first start for
Ireland may give Trapattoni a selection dilemma on the flanks.
McClean, cheered by the crowd every time he got the ball,
made his case for a start ahead of Damien Duff with incisive
runs and a shot well saved in the 41st minute.
"Competition is of course the life of the team," Trapattoni
said when asked about the performance of players not normally in
the first team, adding that McClean faded in the second half.
Ireland struggled to cope with a physical Bosnian team in
the first 20 minutes, with striker Edin Dzeko threading the ball
across an open goal mouth but Vedad Ibisevic failed to finish.
Ireland improved later in the half but Robbie Keane, Darron
Gibson and Duff all failed to capitalise on good opportunities.
Both sides had chances in an open second half with McGeady
and Walters hitting the woodwork and Bosnia's Miroslav
Stevanovic rolling the ball across the face of the Irish goal.
The team treated the crowd of 37,100 to a lap of honour
ahead of their flight to Italy on Sunday for a pre-tournament
(Editing by Ed Osmond)