Ciaran Clark
Clark headed into his own net with 19 minutes left as Sweden fortuitously levelled.Getty Images

Republic of Ireland were cruelly denied victory in their opening game at Euro 2016 after Ciaran Clark's late own goal saw Sweden grab a point at the Stade de France. Martin O'Neill's side controlled the first-half of the Group E encounter in Paris and took the lead through Wes Hoolahan's sublime half-volley after 47 minutes.

That strike only served to awaken Sweden from their slumber, however, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic's driven cross put past his own goalkeeper by Aston Villa defender Clark, with Seb Larsson closing in, to level the contest.

With Ireland notably tiring, Sweden looked the more threatening of the two sides but were unable to add a second, as O'Neill's men broke a run of four successive European Championship defeats.

Jeff Hendrick was Ireland's livewire in midfield in a hugely impressive first-half, testing Andreas Isaksson inside 10 minutes after lashing a knockdown from Walters on goal that was well blocked by the Sweden goalkeeper. John O'Shea was clinical inside the six-yard box when he scored a dramatic last-minute equaliser against Germany in qualifiers last October, but was unable to replicate that when presented with a brilliant chance after 17 minutes, allowing a knockdown to pass him by.

Ireland's impressive intensity was coupled with some neat exchanges that created space for a number of efforts from range, with a neat one-two between Hendrick and Walters seeing the Derby midfielder rattle the cross bar with another fine effort.

Sweden struggled with their talismanic captain Ibrahimovic ineffective in a deeper role, with Glenn Whelan providing an effective shield in front of O'Shea and Clark. Ibrahimovic's disappointing first-half was summed up when he badly miscued a knock on from Andreas Granqvist, lifting a wild effort clean over the bar.

Ireland's dominance of the first-half paid off two minutes into the second half when Seamus Coleman burst down the right, reaching the byline before hanging a cross into Hoolahan, who guided the ball delightfully past Isaksson and into the far corner.

That goal sprung the Swedes into life and moments later Clark was forced to hammer away from yards out from his own goal. The resulting corner was flicked on towards goal, producing a fine save from Darren Randolph, with Emil Forsberg lashing a woeful effort wide with the goal gaping on the rebound.

Ireland responded to Swedish pressure by trying to slow the game down with Shane Long diligently providing an effective outlet whenever called upon. But Erik Hamrén's side were very much the side in control, thriving on the growing influence of Ibrahimovic, who almost found the far corner with a neat flicked effort that flashed just wide of Randolph's far post.

Sweden's perseverance's paid off after 71 minutes with Ibrahimovic the orchestrator, beating Coleman down the right to reach the byline with a darting run before cutting a ball back into the six yard area. Clark, realising Larsson was lurking behind him threw himself towards the ball, but could only head past Randolph.

O'Neill turned to his record goal scorer Robbie Keane for some inspiration off the bench with side struggling to match the intensity of the first-half. Martin Olsson posed a constant threat down the left in the closing 15 minutes of the contest, but O'Neill's side held on to keep their qualification hopes alive.