Republic of Ireland 4 - 0 Georgia
Keane on the double as Ireland beat Georgia
The Republic of Ireland warmed up for their FIFA World Cup qualifier against the Faroe Irelands on Friday with a 4-0 victory over Georgia at a sun-drenched Aviva Stadium.
Georgia were forced to play with ten men for 70 minutes of the game following the sending-off of goalkeeper Giorgi Loria for a professional foul on Shane Long and they were made to pay a heavy price as Ireland firmly pressed home their numerical advantage with goals from Richard Keogh, Simon Cox and a double from substitute Robbie Keane on his 125th appearance for his country.
Georgia are now managed by Temuri Ketsbaia, the former Newcastle player, who has overseen a jump of over 50 places in the FIFA World Rankings and they represented a solid challenge as Giovanni Trapattoni used the occasion to have a good look at the quality of his strength in depth.
Trapattoni made nine changes from the team which started last Wednesday international against England with only James McCarthy and, skipper for the day, Shane Long remaining. Both are suspended for the Faroe Islands qualifier.
Georgia started brightly with chances for Gelashvili and Kobakhidze but Ireland almost scored when a mix-up between defenders Khubutia and Khizanishvil allowed Long to break clear but his attempted chip was saved by goalkeeper Loria.
Mark Wilson then lashed a right-footed shot past the post before the whole complexion of the game changed when the Georgia were reduced to ten men in the 21st minute. Long pounced on a poor back pass from Lobjanidze and beat goalkeeper Loria to the ball before the keeper pulled him down just outside the box. The referee had no option but to show the Georgian netminder a red card for denying a goalscoring opportunity which forced the visitors bring on substitute goalkeeper Omar Migineishvili for Jano Ananidze.
When play resumed McClean took the free kick and, with his first touch, the new keeper pulled off an outstanding save by tipping his curling shot over the bar for a corner.
Long then volleyed a fraction wide following a knock down from Cox but Ireland were slow to press home their numerical advantage and Georgia looked to have come to terms with the situation when Ireland finally broke the deadlock on 42 minutes after winning a free kick on the right had side. McClean whipped in a tempting cross to the back post where the unmarked Richard Keogh headed firmly home for his first International goal
Trapattoni then introduced Robbie Keane for Andy Keogh at half-time for his 125th appearance, equalling Shay Given as Ireland's record caps holders.
Within three minutes of the restart they had extended their lead following a sublime defence-splitting pass by Hoolhan which allowed McClean to drill a low cross from the by-line which the keeper failed to cut out and Cox, coming in at the back post, drove the ball into the roof of the net.
Ten minutes later Hoolahan again unhinged the visiting defence with another super pass, this time to set Long galloping towards goal, but the Georgian keeper advanced smartly to block the Irish skipper's shot. Then Keane just failed to make contact with a low cross from Cox that was crying out for the merest of touches.
Richard Dunne was introduced for his first competitive action is almost a year after 65 minutes and entered the pitch to a standing ovation when he replaced Wilson. Dunne went into his customary central defensive role with Delaney moving out to left back.
Ireland stretched their lead further on 77 minutes when a good block by McGeady on Irakli Dzaria fell to Conor Sammon and he picked out Robbie Keane for the simplest of tap-ins from close range. Eleven minutes later Keane brought his Ireland tally to 56 goals when Jeff Hendrick won possession and sent the LA Galaxy striker away. Keane drew the keeper before tucking the ball into the far corner.
Both managers used their full allocation of six substitutes with Trapattoni handing Hull City's Stephen Quinn his senior debut when he was introduced as a substitute for Hoolahan after 76 minutes. Aiden McGeady, Jeff Hendrick and Conor Sammon were also sprung from the bench during the second half.
The result, coupled with the 1-1 draw against England at Wembley last Wednesday, sets Ireland up nicely for the match that really matters on Friday night when they face the Faroe Islands at the Aviva Stadium.
Republic of Ireland: Kieren Westwood; Paul McShane, Richard Keogh, Damien Delaney, Marc Wilson (Richard Dunne 65); Andy Keogh (Robbie Keane 46), James McCarthy (Jeff Hendrick 71), Wesley Hoolahan (Stephen Quinn 76), James McClean (Aidan McGeady 65); Shane Long (Conor Sammon 72), Simon Cox.
Georgia: Giorgi Loria; Ucha Lobjanidze (David Targaadze 46), Akaki Khubutia, Zurab Khizanishvili, Dato Kvirkvelia (George Podkhadze 69), Guram Kashia, Murtaz Daushvili (Irakli Dzaria 54), Jaba Kankava, Jano Ananidze (Omar Migineishvili 22), Alexander Kobakhidze (Tornike Gorgiashvili 90), Nicholas Gelashvili (Irakli Maisvradze 61),
Referee: Sebastian Constantin (Romania).
Republic of Ireland
- 0 Giorgi Loria (G)
- 0 Ucha Lobzhanidze
- 0 Zurab Khizanishvili
- 0 Akaki Khubutia
- 0 Dato Kvirkvelia
- 0 Guram Kashia
- 0 Murtaz Daushvili
- 0 Jaba Kankava (C)
- 0 Aleksandre Kobakhidze
- 0 Jano Ananidze
- 0 Nikoloz Gelashvili
- 0 Omar Migineishvili (G)
- 0 David Targamadze
- 0 Irakli Dzaria
- 0 Irakli Maisuradze
- 0 Giorgi Popkhadze
- 0 Tornike Gorgiashvili
- 0 David Devdariani
- 0 Gulverd Tomashvili
- 0 Merab Gigauri
- 0 Solomon Kverkvelia
- 0 Mamuka Kobakhidze
Minute by Minute Commentary
- 20" Giorgi Loria (Georgia) is dismissed.
- 20" Omar Migineishvili (in) - Jano Ananidze (out) (Georgia)
- 42" Akaki Khubutia (Georgia) is cautioned by the referee.
- 42" Richard Keogh (Republic of Ireland) scores!
- 46" David Targamadze (in) - Ucha Lobzhanidze (out) (Georgia)
- 46" Robbie Keane (in) - Richard Keogh (out) (Republic of Ireland)
- 48" Simon Cox (Republic of Ireland) scores!
- 54" Irakli Dzaria (in) - Murtaz Daushvili (out) (Georgia)
- 61" Irakli Maisuradze (in) - Nikoloz Gelashvili (out) (Georgia)
- 65" Aiden McGeady (in) - James McClean (out) (Republic of Ireland)
- 65" Richard Dunne (in) - Marc Wilson (out) (Republic of Ireland)
- 69" Giorgi Popkhadze (in) - Dato Kvirkvelia (out) (Georgia)
- 70" Jaba Kankava (Georgia) is shown a yellow card.
- 72" Connor Sammon (in) - James McCarthy (out) (Republic of Ireland)
- 72" Jeff Hendrick (in) - Shane Long (out) (Republic of Ireland)
- 76" Stephen Quinn (in) - Wes Hoolahan (out) (Republic of Ireland)
- 77" Robbie Keane (Republic of Ireland) scores!
- 88" Robbie Keane (Republic of Ireland) scores!
- 90" Tornike Gorgiashvili (in) - Aleksandre Kobakhidze (out) (Georgia)
- Republic of Ireland
Shots on Target
Republic of Ireland
- 0Yellow Card(s)2
- 0Red Card(s)1
- 4Shots on Goal0
- 0Shots Wide0
- 0Shot(s) Blocked0
- 4Total Shots0
- 0Fouls Committed0