Last Updated: 06/09/11 1:26pm
We'll leave Omar to offer hope to Ireland fans: "Not a bad 2nd half Ireland in my opinion the better team just about. Probably should of had a penalty but we really need to work on creating chances and when we have them we need to take them! Still if we win all the matches we are in first place!"
And that, as they say, is that. An entertaining game with plenty of endeavour but ultimately Ireland will be left to regret a night that should've ended with a win, despite large periods of Slovakian dominance. Thanks for joining me.
It's Ireland 0 - 0 Slovakia. The visitors looked much more comfortable in possession but Ireland managed to create two fantastic chances in the second-half and will need something incredible in Russia on Wednesday if they're to win this group and avoid the play-offs.
The ball is cleared before Hunt ends another cross in, which finds Dunne at the far post....but he fails to make solid contact and it's a goal-kick. That was a fabulous chance.
Ward and Hunt combine before Simon Cox tries an intricate through-ball that eventually goes for a corner. Last chance?
Pekorik's cross goes out on the opposite side of the pitch and it's Ireland's throw. Whelan launches up-field and Duff spreads to Andrews. Ward is urged to go forward but eventually clips in to the Slovakian box. It's cleared.
The free-kick is cleared by Dunne but Slovakia attack again through Jendrisek and have a throw-in inside the Ireland half.
Sean St. Ledger will miss Ireland's game in Russia having fouled Karhan as Slovakia attempted to break. That could be huge.
Throw-in for Ireland on halfway and it eventually works its way to Hunt, who wins a throw-in on the other side, near the left-hand corner flag.
Dunne penalised for climbing all over Durica and it's a chance for Slovakia to make a change. The impressive Weiss comes off and is replaced by Erik Jendrisek.
Another chance for Ireland from nothing. Keane finds space in the box and lays it back to Cox, whose left-footed strike is wide of the post. Keane may have gone down there as his shirt was tugged.
Karhan has been quietly efficient tonight and starts a move that ends once more with a Dunne headed clearance.
Free-kick from Whelan launched high into the Slovakian box but Skrtel clears comfortably and Slovakia build down the right, O'Shea eventually clearing a good cross before given collects another.
10 minutes plus injury time remaining and so far Slovakia have dominated but it's Ireland who should be ahead.
Durica strikes it into the wall and Ireland break, but sloppy play from Whelan means Slovakia have it back and Stoch plays in a dangerous ball that's cleared by St. Ledger.
Out of nothing, Ireland should be ahead. Slovakian 'keeper Mucha is booked for time-wasting while the Irish rue a missed opportunity.
Cox drops deep to get involved and Ireland build with Whelan and Andrews, who lays in Duff to find Keane and that's the best chance of the game gone as he heads over from five yards with the keeper beaten.
McGeady looks like he's going to be replaced soon and another tired ball is intercepted, before Hamsik overhits one and it's an Ireland thrown.
O'Shea makes a key interception with Stoch poised to collect. Ireland break with Duff to McGeady then Andrews, but it's all quite slow and eventually Andrews loses control and it's a thrown-in to Slovakia.
Space for Hamsik but he's not been quite at his best and his ball is poor. Ireland break down the left with Ward and McGeady, the latter cutting inside before shooting wide.
Brief respite for Ireland as Whelan clears, but this half is following the pattern of the first - early Irish pressure followed by Slovakian dominance.
Kucka strikes into the wall, who were about five yards away, before Pekarik finds space and wins a throw-in down the right.
Given is grateful to collect after Slovakia fail to get a clean contact on the ball. However, he then throws the ball and picks it up again, breaking one of the strangest rules in football, for which he gives away an indirect free-kick in the box and gets booked too. Danger.
Weiss dances through the Irish defence out of nowhere, but once clear on goal chooses to square instead of shoot. Ward cleares and it's a corner.
Frustration for Ireland who can't take advantage and Dunne is booked for protesting after they concede a cheap free-kick.
Slovakia play it nicely across to Stoch but his ball is poor and Ireland can break with McGeady, who is fouled. Kucka picks up a yellow for what was a cynical challenge.
Kevin Doyle is replaced by Simon Cox. He's worked hard, the Wolves striker, but to no avail against a solid Slovakian side.
Space for Duff who plays it to Andrews. He releases O'Shea, whose ball is punched clear by Mucha. McGeady collects but fails to control the ball and that's an opportunity missed.
Whelan finds space and picks out McGeady, but Pekarik - faultless for the last 50 minutes - easily takes care of the situation. It could be worth Ireland switching Duff and McGeady here.
Pekarik finds space to cross down the right but Dunne clears. Ireland break but O'Shea's ball is hopeful and easily cleared.
Big chance for Slovakia as Holosko breaks and leaves Dunne trailing behind him. His cross finds Hamsik, whose shot is blocked in heroic fashion by St. Ledger.
It's a fine ball from Weiss that has the Irish defence in disarray, but Holosko and Kucka both fail to make contact and Ireland escape.
Slovakia respond with Weiss making ground impressively down the right. Dunne proceeds to foul him and it's a dangerous spot to give away a free-kick.
Dunne heads calmly back to Given, who spreads play to Ward. McGeady takes up possession and via Whelan, Andrews and Keane the ball finds Duff, who cuts in and shoots. It's blocked but he gets another chance that flies over. A really well-worked move, that.
Goal-kick for Ireland. They're missing a little something here but it's better than the end of the first-half without doubt.
Doyle with more fine hold-up work but Ward eventually loses possession and Slovakia break down the left with Cch and Stoch, who spreads to Weiss on the right. He drags his shot slightly but Given wasn't moving and it's only just wide.
Free-kick for Ireland which they send down the right. McGeady cuts in and sets up Andrews, whose low shot is blocked.
Doyle perhaps a shade lucky to escape without a caution but Pedro Proença has done well officiating. Slovakia break but fire wide from range.
Dunne briefly looks a threat but Slovakia clear and break, before Ward clears despite losing his footing. Slovakia build again with Hamsik, Stock and Holosko, but Ireland break it down and clear.
Fantastic decision by the referee, who might've booked Whelan for simulation in truth. He doesn't and Ireland win a corner through Doyle who continues to work hard.
Holosko attempts to work space for a shot but it's cut out and Ireland breal with Keane finding Duff, who lays it to Andrews. His cross is blocked out but Whelan picks it up and runs inside the area before going down. The referee says no penalty.
Hamsik and Weiss work space on the right but after Weiss tumbles on the edge of Ireland's box the referee waves play on.
Slovakia break down Ireland's move - it's impressive how tight they're getting to Duff and Andrews - but Ireland have it back and attempt to build again before Duff's long-ball finds touch.
Stoch's run is brought to an end and Ireland break with Duff, closely guarded by Cech. His through-ball to Andrews is cut out but it's a throw-in to Ireland.
Omar's analysis: Well so far the boys in green aren't looking confident, the passing has been poor and the Slovaks are very fast and dangerous. We need to hold on to the ball instead of sending the ball up hopefully as the Slovaks are looking dangerous in possession. Ward has impressed me. I can now maybe see a 1-0 match by maybe a penalty to Ireland or maybe even a goal by Slovaks, a possible scorer of Vladimir Weiss who is looking strong.
Sky Bet go 11/10 about Ireland winning from here with the draw 11/8. Having started the game as 7/2 shots, Slovakia are out to 4/1 despite having the better of the first 45 minutes.
HT Ireland started the first half well but Slovakia dominated after the first 10 minutes, looking a big threat down the right in particular. One real chance apiece for the sides but Slovakia will go in happiest with their efforts.
Better from Ireland and the referee appears to play advantage when McGeady is clipped on the very edge of the box. Nothing comes off it and Ireland would surely have relished the chance to have a go from a 20 yard dead ball.
Long-ball forward from O'Shea almost finds Whelan but Slovakia once again mop up with consumate ease.
Doyle lucky to escape punishment for a cynical foul. From the free-kick, Slovakia again play it around; they look happy to go in level at the break.
Having pressed early on, Ireland are now dropping deep and Kucka gets space to rifle in a shot that's blocked.
Weiss is pulling the strings for Slovakia with Hamsik quiet - he's certainly not fully fit - and Stoch also looks good on the ball as Slovakia take time to knock it around.
McGeady earns Ireland some respite by going down very easily inside his own half. From the free-kick Duff gets no joy down the right.
Five minutes plus added-on time until the break and I'd say Slovakia are edging it on points. However, Dunne breaks from defence and puts McGeady one-on-one with Pekarik - but the Slovak wins. He's been very good since a tough first five minutes.
No pace on the corner but it breaks to Durica who tries an overhead kick, which sails high and wide. So far one good chance each plus one failed attempt at wizardry each.
Pekarik is spending more time in Ireland's half than his own, this time making space for Weiss whose shot is deflected wide. Corner.
From nowhere, Duff works space on the left with the help of Andrews and it takes a good save from Mucha to keep it all-square.
Excellent work from McGeady deep inside his own half as Pekarik once again looks to get beyond the Ireland back-four.
Slovakia's period of domination seems to have ended for the time being and it's again quite scrappy, with long balls being sent forward without aim.
Eventually it breaks to O'Shea, who fails to show the composure you'd expect from a former Manchester United player and slashes wildly at the ball. It ends up out of play and Slovakia have a chance to build again, after Durica received treatment for a slight knock to the arm.
Duff is fouled on the halfway line and it's a chance for Ireland to put some pressure on the Slovakian defence, who've looked very good so far.
Weiss, Stoch and Pekarik are combining well but Kucka loses possession on the edge of the box. Slovakia quickly have it back though and are thoroughly dominant right now.
Richard Dunne sensibly slows things down a tad when Ireland win a free-kick, one he eventually launches into the Slovakian half but it's cleared comfortably.
Ireland struggling to get the ball down and Slovakia once again break, this time Cech marauding down the left but he can't keep the ball in and it's a goal-kick.
Free-kick for Slovakia, who are well on-top at the moment, but after some neat interplay it breaks down and Ireland win a free-kick deep inside their own half.
St. Ledger has been a rock so far, apart from giving away needless free-kicks, and he clears the corner.
It's Weiss with the it's a dangerous ball that's cleared by Andrews. It breaks wide and is delivered in high this time for Holosko to force a save from Given. Corner kick.
Nice interplay between Stoch and Hamsik who eventually combine to release Holosko, who is dumped to the ground by St. Ledger. Free-kick near the right-hand corner flag.
The Slovaks do look a threat going forward and attack once more down the right. Once again, it's the final ball that fails and St. Ledger clears comfortably.
Almost 50% of the play has taken place in the central third, with Ireland spending more time in Slovakia's half than vice versa.
Ireland's threat is clearly down the flanks and from a throw-in they find space down the left, only for Ward's attempt at a Cruyff turn to fail miserably.
Slovakia are growing in confidence and Dunne and St. Ledger are having to be at their best to keep out their attacking threat.
Durica steps up to thump one but by the time he's got to the lay-off he's closed down and that's a wasted opportunity.
McGeady is looking a threat down the left and is giving Pekavik all sorts of problems, but his cross is too deep.
Nice trickery from Keane on the left and after some nice approach play Duff can cross, but Pekarik clears and Slovakia break well. The ball falls to Weiss inside the box but he shoots straight at Given - that was the game's best chance.
Much better from Slovakia with Stoch weaving his way past Duff before unleashing a tame shot from fully 35 yards that fails to trouble Given.
Dunne is fouled in the process of clearing a high ball, from the resulting free-kick McGeady runs out of room and it's a throw-in to Slovakia deep inside their own half.
Nice approach play from Ireland as Keane drops deep, spreads it wide and gets on the end of the cross with an acrobatic attempt that actually flies away from the goal. Ireland shading a tight contest.
Nice run from Holosko but Richard Dunne is quick to cover and clears before the ball breaks to Hamsik, who fires wide from a long way out.
Slovakia's turn to slow things down but they lose the ball when Duff again anticipates well. He's fouled by Weiss.
Better from Ireland, who spread the ball from right-to-left and make Slovakia work. Andrews and Whelan are beginning to stamp authority on the game and they work it to Doyle, whose through-ball to Keane runs out of grass.
It's getting quite strappy with neither side able to steady things down. Slovakia attack down the right and Hamsik looks a threat before Duff intercepts.
Lovely triangles worked by Duff, O'Shea and Doyle down the right but Andrews' attempt to switch left to Keane, who had found space, is overhit.
McGeady's ball is deep and finds Sean St. Ledger, who is adjudged to have fouled Durica. The resulting free-kick is cleared deep inside Ireland's half but they're back attacking down the right with Duff winning a throw-in.
Whelan is trying to play orchestrator and his ball to Doyle results in a free-kick down the left flank, the Wolves striker having been sent tumbling by Skrtel.
Pekarik makes a nice run down the right but strays off-side as the ball is played in behind McGeady. That could be an area Slovakia try to exploit tonight.
Different approaches here. Slovakia are happy to sit deep and pass the ball sideways when they find it, while Ireland are pressing and happy to throw high balls up to Doyle.
There's no space in midfield and again Ireland choose to bypass from defence with a long ball that eventually finds O'Shea on the right. His cross is poor and cleared with ease.
Lively enough start but both defences have looked assured. Nice hold-up play from Doyle and he attempts to find Keane but Mucha collects the high ball.
Holosko finds space for Slovakia but can't pick out Hamsik. Ireland break with Keane finding space down the left but his ball to Ward goes out of play.
Ireland dominating the early exchanges with McGeady and Doyle exchanging well before the Slovakian defence cuts out a cross.
Space on the left for Doyle but his pass to McGeady runs out of place and it's a throw-in for Slovakia deep inside their half, from which they spread play nicely.
Early free-kick for Ireland as Aiden McGeady is fouled. Ireland play the ball calmly across the back before a high ball is cleared by Skrtel.
Kevin Doyle the only man not singing along for Ireland. Perhaps he's a poor singer, but he might've considered miming.
It's a decent reception for Slovakia at the Aviva Stadium - certainly their legion of fans were in good voice for the anthem.
And the teams are exiting the tunnel. Onto the pitch - they've not called it off and gone down to Temple Bar for a few pints.
I hope you're right Omar, with due respect to all of our Slovak friends. If they do, they must have great prospects of qualifying - Ireland do have to travel to Russia next week, but the Russians go to Slovakia later on.
Omar from Dublin writes: "Hi Ben! I'm expecting a 2-1 or 2-0 win for Ireland. Don't know much about the Slovak keeper so maybe a 20 or 30 yarder from Doyle or Whelan. Thanks!"
Eric says: "Benjamin, sad to hear of Kilbane being injured ending a run of 66 consecutive games for Ireland, I'm sure Ward will do well though!"
And the teams are in: Rep of Ireland: Given, O'Shea, St. Ledger, Dunne, Ward, McGeady, Whelan, Andrews, Duff, Doyle, Keane. Subs: Westwood, Foley, O'Dea, Lawrence, Hunt, Keogh, Cox. Slovakia: Mucha, Pekarik, Skrtel, Durica, Cech, Weiss, Karhan, Stoch, Hamsik, Kucka, Holosko. Subs: Putnocky, Jez, Sestak, Vittek, Michalik, Jendrisek, Guede.
Sky Bet go 5/6 Republic of Ireland, 23/10 the draw and 7/2 Slovakia with kick-off little over half-an-hour away.
Dick Advocaat's Russia have beaten Macedonia by a goal to nil and therefore leapfrog Ireland into Group B top spot - for now.
Cheers to Eric, who also rightly points out that Shane Long is out with a calf injury and is replaced by Kevin Doyle. Long will stay with the squad and is fancied to return for the Russia game.
Eric says: "Hi Benjamin, bit worried about our centre midfield but I'm going for an Ireland win, 1-0 with Robbie Keane getting a second-half winner"
Group B basement boys Andorra have been thumped 3-0 at home by Armenia who move on to 11pts. Andorra remain on zero and have now conceded 16 goals across their seven games. Ouch.
John writes: "Hi Ben, I feel that the Slovakia team are a knocking bet tonight at 9/2. Don't forget they have won away to group favourites Russia. Of course Ireland will huff and puff as they usually do and Keane will miss five sitters and hold his head up with his hands. 2-0 Slovakia to win - get on!"
Predictions tonight folks? The Hamsik fitness test could prove vital but I'm going 2-1 Ireland. They've been solid at home this year and more than matched Slovakia when the sides played out a 1-1 draw in Zilina.
No news yet I'm afraid Paddy. Vladimir Weiss is waiting as long as he can to decide whether Marek Hamsik is fit to play - the Napoli midfielder has been having pain-killing injections in his knee all week.
Here's the Ireland line-up: Shay Given, John O'Shea, Richard Dunne, Sean St Ledger, Stephen Ward, Damien Duff, Keith Andrews, Glenn Whelan, Aiden McGeady, Robbie Keane and Shane Long.
You can send your pre-match views to me by sending a virtual letter to firstname.lastname@example.org, or Tweet me @BenColeyGolf - don't worry, I do football too.
Giovanni Trapattoni's side can stay top of Group B with a win or even a draw, although with Russia leading Macedonia after an hour it looks like only maximum points will do.