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Played
May 24, 2011 7:45 PM BST
Aviva Stadium — Dublin
Referee:‬ C. Thomson‎
Attendance:‬ 15083‎
 
24′ Stephen Ward
 
37′ Robbie Keane
 
44′ (OG) Craig Cathcart
 
54′ (PG) Robbie Keane
 
80′ Simon Cox
 
Top of the Match
Robbie Keane
Robbie Keane
Republic of Ireland
Robbie Keane
Robbie Keane
Republic of Ireland
Flop of the Match
Adam Thompson
Adam Thompson
Northern Ireland
Adam Thompson
Adam Thompson
Northern Ireland

Republic of Ireland 5-0 Northern Ireland: Robbie Keane brace & Stephen Ward debut strike take Trapattoni's men top of Home Nations standings

Hosts cruise to victory as poor defending allows goals from debutants and captain to seal comfortable win at the Aviva Stadium

By Luke Reddy

Home Nation cup : Robbie Keane, Republic of Ireland v Northern Ireland
Getty Images
Robbie Keane lead by example to inspire debutants Stephen Ward and Simon Cox to goals as the Republic of Ireland capitalised on naive Northern Ireland defending to run out 5-0 victors at a Sparsely populated Aviva Stadium – solidifying their position at the top of Home Nations Cup standings. 

In a fixture tinged with historic rivalry, Giovanni Trapattoni’s men took total charge of proceedings inside the opening period as what was expected to be a gutsy and adrenaline filled encounter made way for one filled with defensive error as Northern Ireland’s depleted squad came up short of ideas.

On a night where Nigel Worthington had probably hoped his side’s boyish enthusiasm would bridge the undeniable gap in quality on each team-sheet, a second minute volley from 18-year-old Jonny Gorman may have served to temporarily solidify belief in what would turn out to be simply mission impossible. The Wolves youngster – yet to make an appearance for Mick McCarthy’s men - volleying fractionally wide of Shay Given’s post after just over a minute. 
 
Nigel Worthington’s men may have started brighter than their close rivals but the home side’s horse was about to bolt as they sparked into life on 17 minutes when Keith Andrews curled an unstoppable effort against the Northern Ireland upright from 20-yards having been fed by debutant Simon Cox.

Moments later, Robbie Keane linked neatly with Cox to find himself in the clear but a poor second-touch cost the Tottenham man an excellent opportunity. Keane’s woe would however soon turn to delight as one way traffic ensued. 

Adding clinical edge to growing possession, the Republic soon administered a hammer blow, albeit thanks to the poor handling of Northern Ireland keeper Alan Blayney.

On 24 minutes, a short corner allowed the bright Keith Treacy to cross and when Blayney fumbled under pressure from arriving bodies, Ward obliged to nudge the ball home on his Republic bow. A memorable moment for the Wolves man, called into the starting eleven thanks to a reported no show from Stoke City’s Mark Wilson.

Now totally dominant in possession and territory, Trapattoni’s men looked the only side likely to add to the goal tally and they were again helped by the visitors when Watford full-back Lee Hodson’s nervy and under-hit back-pass presented Keane with his second opening. On this occasion, the Republic’s record goal scorer finished in trademark fashion, dinking the ball over the on-rushing Blayney and into the left hand corner of the Northern Ireland goal to notch his 47th international strike.

A sporadic splattering of supporters throughout the Aviva Stadium watched on as the likes of Kevin Foley played with control in the middle of the park and the home side well and truly hit their pomp as half-time approached, compounding Nigel Worthington’s misery as relegated Blackpool star Craig Cathcart put through his own net.

The Build up play from Paul McShane, Seamus Coleman and Simon Cox was slick and deserved end product but the unfortunate Cathcart obliged as he skewed Alan Blayney’s parry into the net. Total dominance, control and momentum for the Republic at the interval.


Viva Aviva | Republic cruise to victory over Northern Ireland to top group

If Nigel Worthington attempted to fill his players with hope during the break, Trapattoni’s troops were quick to gun down their visitors youthful belief, again thanks to what was becoming a Northern Ireland kamikaze mission.

On 53 minutes, Craig Cathcart squandered possession deep in his own half, presenting the welcoming Kevin Foley with the opportunity to slide Keane into the void vacated by the Blackpool man. As Keane set himself for his second, a nudge in the back from Adam Thompson prompted the award of a penalty and a red card for the Watford man.

Keane duly stepped up to convert, before being subbed to a standing ovation on the hour after being denied his hat-trick when Blayney superbly tipped away a volley.

The sort of blurry eyed defending which plagued Northern Ireland in their opening fixture against Scotland had undoubtedly spanned the three month gap between fixtures, and with Keane now out of the fray, West Brom striker Cox took up the reigns to guide the Republic to more straight-forward joy. Dancing around challenges which never seemed to appear to fire left-footed across Blayney and into the corner. 

Late on, Stephen Hunt whipped a free-kick against the post, but the finishing line had already been well and truly crossed as the Republic picked up three points and Northern Ireland took their winless run to seven.

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Republic of Ireland

31
Shay Given
Goalkeeper
72′
3.00
27
Damien Delaney
Defender
3.00
2
Stephen Kelly
Defender
3.00
11
Stephen Ward
Defender
24′
3.50
15
Paul McShane
Midfielder
3.00
-
Keith Treacy
Midfielder
3.50
32
Kevin Foley
Midfielder
70′
3.50
17
Keith Andrews
Midfielder
3.50
23
3.50
7
Robbie Keane
Striker
37′ 54′ 62′
4.50
-
Simon Cox
Striker
80′
3.50

Northern Ireland

2.50
1
Alan Blayney
Goalkeeper
2.00
2
Lee Hodson
Defender
2.00
29
2.00
20
2.50
-

Substitutes

1
David Forde
Goalkeeper
72′
3.00
12
0.00
16
0.00
48
0.00
7
Liam Lawrence
Midfielder
54′
2.50
17
Andy Keogh
Striker
62′
2.50
18
Stephen Hunt
Midfielder
70′
3.00

Substitutes

0.00
12
2.00
-
1.50
14
0.00
-
Stuart Dallas
Midfielder
0.00
37
2.00
-
Oliver Norwood
Midfielder
46′
0.00
-
Robert Garrett
Midfielder
76′
0.00
-
Liam Boyce
Striker
72′
0.00
20

Coach/Manager

Coach/Manager

0.00
-
 
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Results
 
Top Scorers
Player   Goals Penalties
Robbie Keane Robbie Keane
Striker
Los Angeles Galaxy
3 1
Robert Earnshaw Robert Earnshaw
Striker
2 0
Kenny Miller Kenny Miller
Striker
Rangers
2 0
Damien Duff Damien Duff
Midfielder
Fulham
1 0
James Morrison James Morrison
Midfielder
West Brom
1 0