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Irish Eye: Wes Hoolahan hits a treble

Ronan Hunt-Murphy relfects on the Irish contribution to the Championship action.

Image: Adam Davy/EMPICS Sport

WITH ONLY A couple of Football League matches taking place yesterday (including another decent performance from Charlton keeper Rob Elliot, moving them closer to automatic promotion), most of the action took place on Tuesday, where two goalscoring Irishmen in particular stood out: Norwich’s Wes Hoolhan and Sheffield United’s Andy Reid.

Wes Hoolahan & Andy Reid

Despite only being introduced as a half-time substitute, Norwich midfielder Wes Hoolahan scored the first hat-trick of his career against Sheffield United in a tense match.

Fellow Irish midfielder Andy Reid, on loan with United had opened the scoring with his second goal of the season through a lovely free kick.

With Norwich losing 2-1 at half-time, Canaries manager Paul Lambert chose to send on Hoolahan to try to shake things up in midfield. That’s exactly what he did, scoring the equaliser from the penalty spot, before winning and scoring a second spot kick.

Stephen Quinn crossed paths with Hoolahan late in the game, and picked up a straight red for a bad challenge.

In the seventh minute of stoppage time, Hoolahan struck again, this time from open play, to score his eight goal of the season, helping Norwich to their fourth win in five games.

Keiren Westwood & Paddy Kenny

Tuesday saw another battle of Irish keepers as five-time international Keiren Westwood faced seven-cap Paddy Kenny.

Once again, Kenny emerged victorious, as he kept his 12th clean sheet of the season. It was a day to forget for Westwood as he conceded twice, including a disappointing deflection which led to the Manchester-born keeper being credited with an own goal.

Kenny made a total of eight saves, including a wonderful stop to keep out Clive Platt.

Andrew O’Brien

With half an hour left at Elland Road against Portsmouth, Leeds United looked very comfortable at 3-1, and were set to regain second place in the table.

However, two own goals from on-loan Irish defender Andy O’Brien meant the match ended 3-3. Firstly, a Richard Hughes shot deflected off the veteran defender, and then in stoppage time, O’Brien diverted Nadir Ciftci’s cross beyond Kasper Schmeichel to compound a disappointing afternoon for the former Ireland international.

Ronan Hunt-Murphy writes about Irish football at GreenScene

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