Republic of Ireland 7-0 Gibraltar: Three for Keane

Robbie Keane celebrates scoring his team's second goal in Dublin. Picture: Getty
Robbie Keane celebrates scoring his team's second goal in Dublin. Picture: Getty
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Robbie Keane claimed a quick-fire hat-trick as the Republic of Ireland coasted to a 7-0 victory over Euro 2016 minnows Gibraltar.

Scorers: Republic of Ireland - Keane 6, 14, 18 pen; McClean 46, 53; Perez og; Hoolahan 56

Keane struck three times inside 12 first-half minutes to give the home side a decisive lead and take his individual tally in international football to 65.

James McClean got in on the act after the break, scoring twice either side of keeper Jordan Perez’s own goal, and Wes Hoolahan completed the rout with a 56th-minute effort.

David Meyler was asked to deputise for the injured Seamus Coleman. The Hull midfielder was named in the starting line-up in place of the injured right-back having played there in last month’s friendly victory over Oman, while there were places too for Darron Gibson, Jeff Hendrick, James McClean and Wes Hoolahan, with Glenn Whelan, James McCarthy, Stephen Quinn and Jon Walters making way from the team which ran out in Georgia.

Gibraltar boss Allen Bula made two changes to the side beaten 7-0 by Poland in its first competitive fixture as Jake Gosling and Aaron Payas replaced David Artell and Kyle Casciaro.

Keane opened the scoring after just six minutes from Aiden McGeady’s cross and then slid home his second four minutes later with Wes Hoolahan this time the provider.

The third goal arrived from the penalty spot with just 18 minutes on the clock after Hoolahan had been felled by keeper Jordan Perez.

Some of the urgency went out of Ireland’s game as the initial flurry abated and Aaron Payas called upon Ireland keeper David Forde for the first time with 19 minutes gone.

But Ireland continued to make the majority of the running and continued to put Perez’s goal under sustained threat.

McGeady cut inside from the left 12 minutes before the break to fire in a dipping right-foot shot which Perez did well to claim at his near post, and Hoolahan whistled a long-range effort just wide seconds later.

Perez produced a fine fingertip save to keep out another McGeady piledriver with ten minutes of the half remaining as the Republic looked to kill off the contest.

It was 4-0 within seconds of the restart when Keane, having been the beneficiary of some fine service during the opening 45 minutes, turned provider to allow McClean to add his name to the scoresheet.

John O’Shea had the ball in the net from a Darron Gibson free-kick, but Mr Trattou had spotted an offence. Gibraltar’s misery, however, continued largely unabated.

It was 5-0 with 51 minutes gone when, after saving Keane’s initial effort, the unfortunate Perez turned the ball into his own net.

The keeper did not enjoy the best of fortunes two minutes later either when he could only palm another Keane effort into the path of McClean, and the winger made no mistake from point-blank range.

Hoolahan, the architect of Keane’s first-half treble, got in on the act within three minutes, jinking his way through a shell-shocked Gibraltarian defence to beat Perez from close range as Ireland equalled Poland’s haul of seven.

The pair made way for Daryl Murphy and Kevin Doyle with 27 minutes remaining and their jobs for the day done.

To their credit, Gibraltar continued to battle gamely as the match entered its final 20 minutes, although Forde was a virtual spectator in comparison to his beleaguered opposite number.

The game rather petered out, with O’Neill’s men knowing they had achieved what they had set out to do and Gibraltar attempting to limit any further damage, although Gibson had to clear a late header off the line.

Murphy might have added an eighth in stoppage time but glanced his header wide, although it was never going to prove a costly miss.