Football: Quinn shows Irish the way

Republic of Ireland 1 Macedonia 0

THE REPUBLIC of Ireland will begin their summer break level on points with Yugoslavia at the top of European Championship Group Eight after Sunderland's Niall Quinn finished a triumphant season by heading the only goal of last night's qualifier in Dublin. They should at least have doubled the margin of victory, but instead endured an anxious last few minutes after Macedonia finally roused themselves and hit Alan Kelly's crossbar in a rare attack.

Now the Irish must hope that Uefa does not spoil their holiday by deducting any points as a result of their government's refusal to issue Yugoslavia with visas for the scheduled fixture last Saturday. Such is the chaos in the section that it was the Republic's first competitive game since losing in Belgrade seven months ago, and they still do not know whether the next one will be the return against Yugoslavia, which could be fitted in during August, or the first part of a double header away to Croatia and Malta in September.

Macedonia, as Ireland's manager Mick McCarthy had predicted, were strong through the centre, with a defensive screen in front of two markers and a sweeper, making it difficult for Mark Kinsella and Lee Carsley, Ireland's central midfielders, to hack a way through the forest of red and yellow shirts. They profited instead from excellent service down the flanks, especially from Mark Kennedy out on the right, who tormented the visitors with a stream of controlled crosses.

Quinn's ability in the air also kept Macedonia under pressure, so the manner of the decisive goal came as no surprise. In the 65th minute, Kennedy whipped over a curling inswinger which the goalkeeper, Petar Milosevski, could only push out. Coventry's Gary Breen, who had an excellent game, headed it back and Quinn glanced in his 18th international goal.

Robbie Keane, still only 19 but now first choice as Quinn's partner, should have added a second almost immediately, shooting against a post before making way for Tony Cascarino, whose 83rd appearance (44 of them as a substitute) equalled Paul McGrath's national record. The 36-year- old ought also to have caught Frank Stapleton as Ireland's record goalscorer, spurning an opportunity in the last minute when played in by another substitute, Kevin Kilbane.

Failure to make chances like that count was almost punished by Toni Micevski, who got in between Breen and Kenny Cunningham, last night's captain in Roy Keane's absence, but saw his lob drop on to the bar. Barnsley's Georgi Hristov, a late substitute, then went down in the area, receiving a yellow card for diving rather than the penalty he had demanded.

It was lively entertainment for the crowd of 28,108 who had ensured that Lansdowne Road was simmering again after the surprisingly lukewarm fixture against Northern Ireland 11 days earlier. They turned up the heat either side of half-time as the best chances fell to Kinsella, whose shot was well saved, and Breen, with a header cleared off the line.

"I still fancy we can qualify," said McCarthy later in his understated way.

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND (4-4-2): Kelly (Sheffield United); Carr (Tottenham), Breen (Coventry), Cunningham (Wimbledon), Irwin (Manchester Utd); Kennedy (Wimbledon), Carsley (Blackburn), Kinsella (Charlton), Duff (Blackburn); Quinn (Sunderland), Keane (Wolves). Substitutes: Kilbane (West Bromwich) for Duff, 63; Cascarino (Nancy) for Keane, 68; Connolly (Wolves) for Quinn, 80.

MACEDONIA (3-5-2): Milosevski (Trabzonspor); Nikolovski (Sakaryaspor), Stavrevski (Croatia Zagreb), Stojanovski (Partizan Belgrade); Micevski (Borussia Berlin), Sainovski (NEC Nijmegen), Trenevski (Sileks), Trajcov (Vardar Skopje), Babunski (AEK Athens); Ciric (Nuremberg), Saciri (Vardar Skopje). Substitutes: Memedi (Sloga Jugomagnat) for Trajcov, h-t; Sedloski (Croatia Zagreb) for Sanivski, 71.

Referee: U Meier (Switzerland).

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SEN Teacher, Permanent Role in Ashford

Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: Randstad urgently seeks a qualif...

SAP BI CONSULTANT

£55000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: SAP BI CONSULTA...

Infrastructure Manager - Southampton - Up to £45K

£35000 - £45000 per annum + 36 days holiday and more: Deerfoot IT Resources Li...

Drama Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Liverpool: We are looking for someone who can t...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice