Last evening was my first trip to the new Aviva Stadium to see the Euro 2012 Qualifier - Ireland vs Andorra. Having beaten Armenia away in the first game of the group, Ireland were looking for an easy win and a six points out of six start to the qualifying campaign. A 3-1 win was achieved without much difficulty with goals from Kilbane, Doyle, and Keane.
There was a lot wrong with the Irish performance, with the far from disgraced Andorra actually looking good at times. Aiden McGeady ran rings around their defence, though also over-ran the ball a lot. Robbie Keane looked off the pace at times, and should have scored more than just one goal. Doyle was the best Irish player (and got MoTM), and took his goal well. Martinez scored the best goal of the night for Andorra just before half-time to banish any thoughts of a rout.
Overall, not a bad evening's entertainment - though for €50 a ticket, I thought this was a it pricey for a game against one of the lowest ranking sides in the world.
The best thing about the evening was seeing the new stadium for the first time. I was in the second last row at the back of the South Stand, and the photo to the left (taken with my iPhone) is the view from my seat. (the green and red dots are the players!). Curiously, this was the best seat I could get on TicketMaster, but there were a lot of empty seats closer to the action in the upper tier, and loads of (more expensive) seats in the lower tier that TM did not allow me to purchase a few weeks ago. There were 40,000 people at the game, with about 10,000 empty seats. This is a clear message to the FAI - there's a recession on, you need to lower your prices to fill the ground.
The view is excellent, though from where I was the far end of the pitch is a long way off. No complaints with access and comfort - congratulations to the genius who thought of the tunnel idea under the railway at Lansdowne Road Station. No more waiting at the barriers.
A final thrill for me was shaking Niall Quinn's hand after the match - I bumped into him on the way out.