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  • 2 June 2013
  • • 17:30
  • • Aviva Stadium, Dublin
  • Referee: S. Colțescu
  • • Attendance: 20100

Ireland 4-0 Georgia: Two for Keane against 10-man visitors

Ireland 4-0 Georgia: Two for Keane against 10-man visitors

Barry Cregg / SPORTSFILE

The Boys in Green finalised preparations for next week's crucial World Cup qualifier with a straightforward friendly victory over Georgia at Lansdowne Road on Sunday evening

Giovanni Trapattoni's Republic of Ireland rounded off a satisfactory week with a comfortable 4-0 victory over Georgia in Dublin but were given a large helping hand when the visitors' goalkeeper was harshly dismissed early in the first period.

Robbie Keane came off the bench to equal Shay Given's appearance record and seal victory with a quick-fire brace after goals in either half from Richard Keogh and Simon Cox had put the hosts in the ascendancy.

The experimental Irish side did enough to make their numerical advantage count after Giorgia Loria was shown a straight red card after 20 minutes in an often uninspiring friendly encounter at the Aviva Stadium.

The introduction of Richard Dunne shortly after the hour mark provided the biggest cheer of the day as the defender made his first appearance for nearly a year after to an injury-ravaged season.

Trapattoni used the opportunity to rest several key players ahead of Friday's crucial World Cup qualifier against the Faroe Islands as well giving his squad players a run out against the side ranked 96th in the world but it was the visitors who started brightly under the Dublin sunshine.

With very little game time under his belt, Keiren Westwood lost his place as the Italian's first-choice 'keeper and it showed as he started in unconvincing fashion. A straightforward ball over the top caught the Sunderland shot stopper out of position but Nicholas Gelashvili couldn't capitalise.

Having made nine changes to the side that drew in London on Wednesday, there was no surprise that there was no fluidity in the opening exchanges from the hosts but it didn't take long for James McCarthy in particular to get a stranglehold in midfield.

Confusion in the Georgia defence should have led to the opening goal on 15 minutes but stand-in skipper Shane Long could only shoot straight at Loria. The goalkeeper soon went from hero to villain after he clattered into the West Brom striker after Long was quick to latch onto an under-hit back pass.

James McClean went close with the resulting free-kick but that was about as good as it got in a lacklustre first period until Keogh, on his first start, headed home from the Sunderland winger's set-piece.  

The arrival of Keane at half-time seemed to spark the Irish into life as the tempo was increased and brought about immediate dividends.

McClean again was provider after Wes Hoolahan's defence splitting pass before Cox fired in unmarked at the back-post. The second goal heralded a flurry of changes on either side as Ireland continued to dominate.

Long couldn't mark a memorable day with a goal as he was this time denied by the substitute 'keeper after another trademark off the ball run.

The Tipperary native spoke of his desire to one day captain his country when Keane steps away from the international stage but on this showing the LA Galaxy striker has a lot yet to give.

He notched his 55th goal in a green jersey after Conor Sammon capitalised on another defensive error and then rounded off a satisfactory evening's work with a composed close-range finish after great midfield play from Jeff Hendrick.