Republic rout sets up Germany clash

Published: Sunday 12th October 2014 by The News Editor

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Martin O’Neill insisted he had not even thought about the Republic of Ireland’s daunting trip to Germany until the latter stages of their 7-0 romp against Gibraltar.

Ireland head into their showdown with the World champions in Gelsenkirchen with six Euro 2016 points safely banked from their opening two Group D qualifiers, a hard-fought 2-1 victory in Georgia and Saturday’s cakewalk in Dublin.

The mission will be significantly more taxing next week, but O’Neill is happy to be approaching it on the back of the perfect start to the campaign.

He said: “That’s given them good confidence. They have scored some goals here tonight and they are feeling pretty decent.

“Tuesday night is a totally different game, of course, but I think getting up for it should not be a problem. That will not be a problem now.

“We have never talked about Germany at all. There’s no point. We are not good enough to be getting carried away with ourselves.

“We have won the game tonight, I am delighted we have scored some goals, of course, when we have got seven – I wish we could have scored maybe one or two more.

“But I would have taken this all day. I am delighted to have won the game and it’s just full speed ahead now to Germany.”

O’Neill had warned his players in advance that they might need to be patient against the Gibraltarians, who had frustrated last month’s opponents Poland for much of the first half before eventually succumbing 7-0.

However, there was no repeat this time around as skipper Robbie Keane lit up the Aviva Stadium with a 12-minute first-half hat-trick to effectively secure the points with just 18 minutes played.

The Republic’s start to the second-half was even more impressive as they plundered four more within 11 minutes, James McClean registering twice either side of keeper Jordan Perez’s own goal before Wes Hoolahan completed the rout.

O’Neill said: “I am obviously delighted. We got off to a great start – Robbie had scored a hat-trick by the time we had reached the 17th or 18th minute and effectively, the game was won then.

“But we had a great haul of goals just after half-time. If there was disappointment at all, it was in the last 20 minutes, I thought we became sloppy at both ends of the field.

“But outside that, I am obviously delighted to have won the game and delighted that we have scored some goals.”

If Keane claimed the headlines, it was Hoolahan who caught the eye, playing a part in each instalment of his captain’s treble having already passed up a glorious fourth-minute chance to open the scoring himself.

O’Neill said: “Wes did very, very well. He had a chance to begin with in the game when a chance came over and he headed it just like I used to head it, just appallingly.

“But he made up for it with an exquisite pass just a couple of moments later and we finally scored the goal from that.

“I hear this modern talk about playing between the lines, but Wes here at the Aviva has never failed to play well, and he is good, particularly on a night like this here when we are looking for that little bit of craft maybe to break defences down.”

For Gibraltar boss Allen Bula, it proved a sobering evening in Dublin, although he was still able to take positives.

He said: “Obviously we are disappointed with the result, but we have got to take the positives with us. We made mistakes, but we are learning.

“To be down 5-0, 6-0 and then start really pushing hard and my players made Ireland start defending deep, it’s a positive I can take forward.

“We have said from day one that we are not going to park the bus, and it’s not just words, we have actually shown it in every single match. That’s not the way we play.”

Published: Sunday 12th October 2014 by The News Editor

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