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Dublin: 7 °C Friday 18 January, 2019


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WE’RE AT THE home of Irish football to witness the country’s greatest ever goalscorer bring his 18-year association with the senior set-up to a close with one last appearance.

Ireland face Oman in an international friendly, their last before the 2018 World Cup qualifiers start next week, and captain Robbie Keane will be celebrated tonight after announcing his international retirement last week.

On his 146th cap, the 36-year-old Tallaght native will be hoping he can add a couple more goals to his current tally of 67 against the nation ranked 107 in the world.

Kick-off is just over an hour away.

The Ireland team is in and Keane starts up front with Jon Walters and Shane Long also named in attack. Keiren Westwood gets the nod in goal, with Cyrus Christie in for the injured Seamus Coleman and Marc Wilson returning to partner Ciaran Clark.

Euro 2016 hero Robbie Brady looks set to begin at left full-back, and Ireland are going with a midfield trio of Glenn Whelan, Stephen Quinn and Bournemouth’s Harry Arter.

Ireland XI to face Oman: Westwood, Christie, Wilson, Clark, Brady, Quinn, Whelan, Arter, Long, Keane, Walters.

Keane spoke this week about breaking into the Ireland team at the tender age of 17. He joked about his RTE interview after the meeting with Argentina in 1998. For those of you who haven’t seen the clip, it’s a worth a watch…

Source: killianM2/YouTube


Robbie, holding youngest son Hudson, comes out after the 21 other players and is greeted by President Michael D Higgins.

There’s a disappointing crowd here tonight. Pity, but the choice of opponent wasn’t going to put bums on seats.

Republic of Ireland v Oman - International Friendly - Aviva Stadium Source: Niall Carson


KICK-OFF – Cypriot referee Demetries Masias blows his whistle and Ireland, wearing their green and white home strip, get us underway.


The game is two minutes old and Harry Arter chops down Oman captain Abdulaziz Al-Muqbali on the edge of the box.

Ciaran Clark and Robbie Brady have to head behind resulting deliveries in quick succession, before Al-Muqbali forces Westwood into the first save of the night with an unmarked header.


GOAL! Ireland 1-0 Oman (Robbie Brady) 

There’s the opener! Walters is bundled over on the edge of the box and wins a free-kick. Whelan and Brady stand over it… and the latter curls it into the back of the net with Faiz Al Rushaidi rooted to the spot.


CHANCE! The ball falls just behind Keane in the box and he has to come back to retrieve possession, but his shot is then blocked.


POST! Walters directs a Christie cross onto the post. It comes back out to where Keane is loitering, but Al Rushaidi’s smothers the ball.


He’s getting closer! Whelan curls a through-ball into the path of Keane, but his attempted lob lands on the top of the net.

The Irish players are doing everything in their power to create chances for the outgoing skipper.


GOAL! Ireland 2-0 Oman (Robbie Keane) 

He’s got his goal! Walters and Long exchange passes, then Keane flicks the ball over his marker’s head before volleying into the net.

That’s international goal number 68, which draws him level with German great Gerd Muller.

Flag 35Mins

GOAL! Ireland 3-0 Oman (Jon Walters) 

There’s three. Brady curls a cross onto the head of Walters, and the Stoke City man glances it home.


Wilson loses possession, which leads to a rare Oman passage of play, and Mahmoud Mabrook Al Mushaifri has a pop from distance. Westwood gets down to save comfortably, however.


Walters heads over the bar when he should really be hitting the target.


During the break, watch Eir Sport’s tribute to the man of the moment. There’s some familiar faces in there…

Source: eir Sport/YouTube


QUADRUPLE SUBSTITUTION – Westwood, Whelan, Long and Brady off with Darren Randolph, Jeff Hendrick, James McClean and Stephen Ward on in their place for the second half.

For Oman, Al Mushaifri makes way for Ahmed Al-Mukhaini.


What’s your thinking on how long more Keane will be given? I’m going with a substitution close to the hour mark.


McClean finds room to shoot and fires an effort a couple of yards away from the target.

And Wes Hoolahan is about to come on…


END OF AN ERA – Keane walks off to a rapturous reception and gets hugs from the bench, with Wes Hoolahan taking his place.



A short free-kick is rolled to Quinn and his shot is saved by Al Rushaidi. The Oman keeper has to palm away Walters’ attempt minutes later.


GOAL! Ireland 4-0 Oman (Jon Walters) 

Walters bags his second of the evening. Arter feeds the striker with a neat through-ball and he rounds Al Rushaidi before rolling the ball in with his left foot.


SUBSTITUTION – Stephen Quinn is replaced by Callum O’Dowda, who makes his second senior appearance.


YELLOW CARD – Wilson catches Al Busaidi high and picks up a booking for his troubles.


OMAN SUB – Al Malki off for Husam Al Shuabi.


SAVE! McClean picks up the ball after a Ward cross is blocked, and the Derryman lays off to Hendrick inside the Oman box. He aims for the top corner but Al Rushaidi makes a fine stop.


That wasn’t far away. Hoolahan cuts in onto his left and sees a deflected shot pushed behind.


Full-time: Ireland 4-0 Oman 

About the author:

Ben Blake