Robbie Keane signed off in style with a goal in tonight’s 4-0 win over Oman.
Robbie Brady opened the scoring with a curling 25 yard free kick, and Jon Walters’ netted twice on the night to ensure a comfortable victory.
It was Oman who started the brighter, and Kieran Westwood had to claw away a header from an early corner, after slack marking at the back. There are 76 places between the nations in the FIFA world rankings, and the gulf in class soon became apparent.
Martin O’Neill’s men soon asserted their dominance, however, and the opening goal arrived after just 7 minutes.
Jon Walters was felled outside the area, and Robbie Brady dispatched the resulting free kick with aplomb. His left-footed strike curled over the wall and into the top corner from 25 yards.
Keane had several chances in the first 20 minutes – with both the crowd and his teammates doing their utmost to ensure he got on the score-sheet – the best of which saw him lift the ball over both the Oman ‘keeper and the crossbar.
Keane’s big moment came in the 29th minute, after a flick on from Walters. Keane chipped the ball over the nearest defender’s head, before clinically volleying the ball low past the ‘keeper, much to the delight of the crowd at the Aviva.
Five minutes later, Walters rose highest to power home an exquisite header from Brady’s perfect cross.
Martin O’Neill made four changes at the break, but Ireland continued to dominate proceedings in the second half. Wes Hoolahan replaced Keane after 56 minutes, and the Irish captain deservedly received a rapturous standing ovation as he left the pitch.
After 63 minutes, Harry Arter won a tackle in midfield, before playing a neat one-two and threading through Walters, who looked marginally offside.
Walters rounded the Oman ‘keeper, and calmly placed the ball in the far bottom corner.
Ireland continued to press and create chances, and Oman rarely threatened.
Christie, Brady, Arter and Walters all impressed on the night, but it was a night when it was all about Robbie Keane.
146 caps, 68 goals, one legend.