| 7.8°C Belfast

Keane bags brace in Dublin victory


Robbie Keane

Robbie Keane

Robbie Keane

Robbie Keane underlined his enduring class by scoring twice in Ireland's emphatic 5-0 win over 10-man Northern Ireland.

The Tottenham striker, likely to be looking for a new club this summer, moved within two goals of an international half-century as Ireland crushed their neighbours in the Carling Nations Cup in Dublin.

Stephen Ward and Simon Cox marked their international debuts with a goal and Northern Ireland's misery was compounded by a Craig Cathcart own goal and a red card for Adam Thompson.

As Ward and Cox both made their maiden bows for Ireland, teenager Josh Carson was handed his first cap for Northern Ireland and Gareth McAuley was named as captain.

The home side were threatening early on and their hard work paid off when they took the lead with 24 minutes gone. Keith Treacy played a one-two with Cox from a short corner before whipping into the goal-mouth. Goalkeeper Alan Blayney threw himself at the ball but spilled in front of Ward who rifled home the opener from close range.

Ireland doubled their lead after 37 minutes when Keane pounced on a dreadful pass-back by Lee Hodson before lofting over the goalkeeper and seeing the shot nestle in the bottom corner.

There was further misery for Northern Ireland when Seamus Coleman's ball across the face of goal was forced into the back of his own net by Cathcart a minute before the interval.

Daily Headlines & Evening Telegraph Newsletter

Receive today's headlines directly to your inbox every morning and evening, with our free daily newsletter.

This field is required

Ireland were always favourites to come out on top and added to their tally nine minutes after the restart.

Thompson was deemed to have fouled Keane in the box and was given a straight red card by Scottish referee Craig Thomson, before the Tottenham striker dusted himself off and slotted low past Blayney from the penalty spot.

Blayney was left picking the ball out of the back of the net again when Cox raced into the box and sent an angled drive past the goalkeeper to complete the rout, before Stephen Hunt's free-kick crashed off the post late on.

Top Videos