Republic of Ireland vs Gibraltar match report: Robbie Keane makes it three and easy for Irish

Republic of Ireland 7 Gibraltar 0
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The Independent Online

Robbie Keane scored a hat-trick as the Republic of Ireland maintained a perfect start to their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign with this demolition of the minnows Gibraltar.

Keane struck three times inside 12 first-half minutes to wrap up a second successive Group D victory before he and his team-mates had even broken sweat.

The Ireland captain, winning his 136th cap, now has 65 senior international goals, only three fewer than West Germany's Gerd Müller, whose 68 came in 62 appearances for his country.

James McClean added a second-half double either side of an own goal by the goalkeeper Jordan Perez, and Wes Hoolahan capped a fine individual display with the seventh with 56 minutes gone.

Martin O'Neill's men will take on Germany on Tuesday with six points safely banked. The Ireland manager said: "Tuesday night is a totally different game, of course, but I think getting up for it should not be a problem. That will not be a problem now. We have never talked about Germany at all. There's no point. We are not good enough to be getting carried away with ourselves."

Hoolahan, who tormented the visitors from the hole behind lone striker Keane, was the architect, although his evening had started in disappointing fashion when he missed the target from a fourth-minute header after being picked out unmarked by Aiden McGeady.

But it was he who slid McGeady in behind the full-back Joseph Chipolina two minutes later to square for Keane to sweep home his low cross, and he who split the Gibraltar defence with an instinctive 10th-minute pass to allow the LA Galaxy striker to make it 2-0.

Keane completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot with just 18 minutes gone after Hoolahan had been upended by Perez, and the points were secure.

But for Perez, Ireland might have led even more handsomely at half-time, but any respite was purely temporary as the scoreboard ticked over with almost monotonous regularity after the restart.

McClean needed just seconds to get on the scoresheet from Keane's pass, and it was 5-0 with 51 minutes on the clock when Perez turned the ball into his own net after denying Keane a fourth goal.

Perez thwarted Keane once again two minutes later, but McClean was on hand to dispatch the rebound, and Hoolahan helped himself as the hour-mark approached, waltzing through a shell-shocked Gibraltar defender to make it 7-0.

A job well done, but playing the World Cup winners next will be as tough as this was easy.

Republic of Ireland (4-4-2): Forde; Meyler, O'Shea, Wilson, Ward (Brady, 70); McGeady, Hendrick, Gibson, McClean; Hoolahan (Doyle, 64), Keane (Murphy, 63).

Gibraltar (4-5-1): J Perez (Robba, 60); Wiseman, R Casciaro, R Chipolina (Santos, 58), J Chipolina; B Perez, Bado (Guiling, h-t), Payas, Walker, Gosling; K Casciaro.

Referee Leontios Trattou (Cyprus).

PA

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