Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny and his squad built on their competitive victory in Baku on Saturday when they cruised to a comprehensive four nil victory over Qatar in a friendly international this Tuesday evening in the Aviva Stadium.
Saturday’s two goal striker Callum Robinson went one better tonight scoring a hat-trick in another excellent performance. There were positive performances across the board from Ireland but one must temper too much euphoria with the knowledge that Qatar, despite being ranked several places above Ireland by FIFA, were arguably the poorest side seen in the Aviva Stadium in some time.
Goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher, starting his first senior international, had absolutely nothing to do all evening. The back three of Andrew Omobamidele, Shane Duffy and John Egan were solid with Omobamidele making one particularly impressive penalty area tackle. There were fine midfield performances from Matt Doherty, who picked up an injury and was replaced at half-time by Cyrus Christie who maintained the positive level of performance, and also from Conor Hourihane, Jamie McGrath and the returning Enda Stevens.
While the ‘man of the match’ accolade will inevitably go to a three goal striker and did, the performance of Jeff Hendrick in midfield was hugely impressive. Up front the irrepressible Robinson was supported by Chiedoze Ogbene who, while not quite making the same impact as he did on Saturday, still provided a goal threat and was unlucky with a head/shoulder effort which cannoned back off the crossbar.
Debutant substitute Nathan Collins looked totally assured in central defence while both Harry Arter and James Collins, who were introduced for the last four minutes of the match, displayed an eagerness to be immediately involved which was a credit to themselves and our management team.
Callum Robinson opened the scoring after 4 minutes and added the second 9 minutes later from the penalty spot after Jamie McGrath had been felled in the box. The hat-trick goal came eight minutes into the second half with a fine finish following a defence splitting pass from Jeff Hendrick. The fourth goal came on 59 minutes from Shane Duffy with a trademark header from a corner kick delivered by Conor Hourihane.
Team; Caoimhin Kelleher, Andrew Omobamidele, Shane Duffy (c), John Egan ; Matt Doherty, Jeff Hendrick, Jamie McGrath, Conor Hourihane, Enda Stevens; Callum Robinson, Chiedoze Ogbene
Cyrus Christie for Doherty 46′
Jason Knight for Ogbene 69′
Nathan Collins for Duffy 77′
Troy Parrott for Robinson 77′
Harry Arter for Hourihane 88′
James Collins for McGrath 88′
Goalkeepers: Gavin Bazunu (Manchester City-on loan at Portsmouth), Caoimhin Kelleher (Liverpool), Mark Travers (AFC Bournemouth),
Defenders: Cyrus Christie (Fulham), Nathan Collins (Burnley), Matt Doherty (Tottenham Hotspur), Shane Duffy (Brighton & Hove Albion), John Egan (Sheffield United), Ryan Manning (Swansea City), James McClean (Wigan Athletic), Andrew Omobamidele (Norwich City), Enda Stevens (Sheffield United), Liam Scales (Glasgow Celtic)
Midfielders: Harry Arter (Charlton Athletic), Josh Cullen (RSC Anderlecht), Jeff Hendrick (Newcastle United), Conor Hourihane (Aston Villa-on loan at Sheffield United), Jason Knight (Derby County), Jamie McGrath (St Mirren)
Forwards: James Collins (Cardiff City), Aaron Connolly (Brighton & Hove Albion), Daryl Horgan (Wycombe Wanderers), Adam Idah (Norwich City), Will Keane (Wigan Athletic), Chiedoze Ogbene (Rotherham United), Troy Parrott (Tottenham Hotspur-on loan at MK Dons), Callum Robinson (West Bromwich Albion)