Keane on song as Andorra crumble
Robbie Keane fired himself back on to the goal trail as Ireland eased past Andorra to complete a perfect start to their Euro 2012 campaign.
The 30-year-old insisted during the run-up to the first competitive game at the Aviva Stadium that he would not dwell on an uncharacteristically unproductive trip to Armenia last week, and he was as good as his word to extend his national record tally to 44 on his 102nd appearance.
Another centurion, Kevin Kilbane, had started the ball rolling with a 14th-minute header, and the Republic were cruising when Kevin Doyle blasted home a superb second five minutes before half-time. Andorra, who had taken a shock lead on their last visit to the then Lansdowne Road back in 2001, hit back through midfielder Christian Martinez during the dying seconds of the first half to cause consternation in Dublin.
However, Keane restored his side's two-goal advantage within nine minutes of the restart, and it was plain sailing from there.
The home side were ahead as early as the 14th minute when Kilbane timed his run to glance Liam Lawrence's near-post corner past keeper Josep Antoni Gomes and set the ball rolling.
Ireland eventually extended their lead five minutes before the break, and did so in some style. Lawrence caught midfielder Sergi Moreno, who had earlier almost left keeper Shay Given red-faced with a wickedly bouncing long-range effort, in possession and sensing an opportunity, Doyle arrived to add weight to the ambush.
When the ball finally emerged at the striker's feet, he set himself before smashing a rising left-foot shot beyond the diving Gomes and into the top corner.
The die looked to have been cast, but Andorra, who lost their opening game 2-0 to Russia on Friday evening, were not quite ready to throw in the towel, and when a 45th-minute clearance dropped to Martinez 20 yards out, he drilled a half-volley past the astonished Given to keep the game alive.
Giovanni Trapattoni's side responded swiftly as the third goal arrived with just nine minutes of the half gone. McGeady headed in-field once again and with the help of Paul Green and Doyle worked his way into a position from which he could play Keane into the box.
Having fluffed his lines in Armenia on Friday evening, the Tottenham striker was not about to pass up another glorious opportunity and duly obliged with a deft finish to make the game safe.