Republic of Ireland and Slovakia drew 2-2 in a Euro 2016 warm-up on Tuesday as a number of the hosts' fringe players staked their claim for a seat on the plane to France but were unable to get the better of the more experienced Slovaks.
Starting with just one of the 11 who beat Switzerland 1-0 on Friday, Ireland's usually resolute but often uninventive side showed some much-needed attacking verve with Eunan O'Kane, Wes Hoolahan, James McClean and Cyrus Christie all impressing.
For a side who kept six clean sheets in their last nine games, however, Ireland were picked apart with worrying ease at times, first after 14 minutes when Miroslav Stoch benefited from a Paul McShane error to sweep home an inch-perfect Erik Sabo pull back.
Two penalties in the space two minutes quickly swung the momentum Ireland's way with smart work from man-of-the-match Hoolahan and Bournemouth's O'Kane putting Shane Long through before he was brought down by Slovak goalkeeper Matus Kozacik.
Long converted the spot kick and won another with his next touch as he slickly beat Martin Skrtel before the Liverpool man clearly dragged him down. The hard-working McClean took over penalty duties but the outcome was the same.
Slovakia, who also struggled at times in front of goal in qualifying and drew a blank on Friday against Latvia, equalised just before halftime with another well-worked move that led to McShane turning a cross from the ever-dangerous Sabo into his own net.
The Slovaks, who will make their first trip to the European Championships as an independent nation in June and face a tricky group featuring England, Russia and Wales, kept the hosts at bay in a more subdued second half.
While Ireland lost Newcastle United goalkeeper Rob Elliot to injury, they can consider it a very satisfactory five days.
They will look to make up for a swift Euro 2012 exit at this year's finals in France where they will face the daunting trio of Belgium, Sweden and Italy in their group.
- More about:
- Republic of Ireland football