Andy Lyons #24 of Blackpool celebrates his goal to make it 5-1. Alamy Stock Photo
On the rise

Irish wing-back Lyons hailed after man-of-the-match display

The former Shamrock Rovers star impressed amid an emphatic 6-1 win over QPR.

IRISH WING-BACK Andy Lyons earned praise after impressing amid Blackpool’s 6-1 win over QPR in the Championship last night.

Mick McCarthy’s relegation-threatened outfit took a vital step towards survival in securing the three points and man-of-the-match Lyons was key.

As it stands, the Seasiders are 22nd in the table, three points away from safety.

The former Shamrock Rovers player coolly slotted home to make it 2-0 in the 11th minute and headed in his side’s fifth goal from a corner just after half-time. He might even have registered a hat-trick having gone close on more than one occasion.

The 22-year-old’s excellent performance was acknowledged by the Blackpool Gazette, who awarded him a 9/10 in their Player Ratings, adding: “What a buy. Took his two goals well and could have even more as he enjoyed himself playing as a flying wing-back.”

Ireland international CJ Hamilton also earned high praise, like Lyons scoring 9/10, with journalist Matt Scrafton writing: “Terrorised QPR all night long. Involved in a number of goals, his pace a huge threat in behind.”

Afterwards, former Ireland manager McCarthy also singled out the pair for praise.

“I matched [QPR] up because I anticipated they would play the same team, having won against Watford. We matched them up with two more attacking wing backs than full backs and they really did some damage,” the Blackpool boss said of his tactical approach, per the club’s official website.

“I thought CJ [Hamilton] and Andy Lyons were excellent. I told them to go and play up as a front four and if they get it they had to drop back and defend but they should be up the pitch causing problems to stretch them. They were very good today.

“I’ve just said you don’t want up-and-down performances. You’re not going to do that again on Saturday, forget that one, Coventry are going for the playoffs and they’re a better side than QPR so it’s a different game, a different set of circumstances but it’ll be nice to have the same performance [level].”

It was Lyons’ 11th game for Blackpool since joining the club from Shamrock Rovers in January.

However, the youngster has yet to fully establish himself as a first-team regular — just six of his Championship appearances have been starts and he came into the side last night following a spell out of the starting XI.

27-year-old Hamilton, meanwhile, has been an important player since signing from Mansfield in 2020, making 33 appearances in all competitions this season.

Both players will be hoping to feature when Stephen Kenny names his Ireland squad for the upcoming Latvia and France matches tomorrow.

Lyons has six caps at U21 level but has yet to receive a senior call, and would be a surprise inclusion, with Matt Doherty, Seamus Coleman and Chiedozie Ogbene among the alternative options at right wing-back.

Hamilton has one Ireland cap, featuring in the Nations League home defeat to Ukraine last year, but has not featured since and may also miss out, with others seemingly ahead of him in the pecking order.

Nevertheless, last night’s display certainly won’t have done the duo’s prospects any harm going forward.

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