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Foley fine in five-goal victory

Discarded defender Kevin Foley played 45 minutes of Ireland's friendly against a Tuscan XI hours after being told he would not be going to Euro 2012.

The Wolves defender was introduced as a half-time substitute in the 5-0 victory over a Serie C and D representative side put together by Giovanni Trapattoni's former players, Ennio Pellegrini and Aldo Firicano.

Skipper Robbie Keane's first-half double either side of Simon Cox's strike eased the Republic out of sight by the break, and substitutes Shane Long and Jon Walters struck after it to complete the scoring on a night when the result was largely immaterial.

Foley's participation came after he had been told he was being left out of the final 23 for Poland and Ukraine despite clearly being fit with Paul McShane, who joined up last week as defensive cover, getting the nod instead.

The game, the proceeds from which were being donated to charity in memory of the late Livorno midfielder Piermario Morosini, kicked off after the two teams observed a minute's silent in memory of the victims of this morning's earthquake, tremors from which were felt on Montecatini, at the Stadio Menali.

Keane set the ball rolling when he capitalised on an error by central defender Federico Settepassi to smash home a rising 18th-minute drive, and he might have made it 2-0 three minutes later after Corrado Colombo, his former Inter Milan team-mate, had hit the post at the other end, but miskicked in front of goal.

James McClean saw a 24th-minute shot beaten away by Francesco Gaffino, who produced a fine save to keep out Cox's effort from Stephen Hunt's cross, only for the striker to fire home the rebound. Keane did help himself to a second goal after a slick build-up between Paul Green and Cox 14 minutes before the break.

Keane, McClean, Richard Dunne and Keiren Westwood made way at half-time for Long, Walters, Foley and David Forde, and the West Brom frontman hit the bar within three minutes of his arrival.

Forde had to get down well to keep out a 54th-minute strike from Gianluca Bugelli, but Long made it 4-0 after beating the offside trap 10 minutes later.

Green smashed a long-range 80th-minute shot wide after exchanging passes with Long, but Walters completed the scoring four minutes later after Foley's free-kick had been parried by substitute goalkeeper Tomasso Strambi.


From Belfast Telegraph