'I wanted to stay on' admits Robbie as 'big 50' looms
Robbie Keane's 48-goal international tally brings him agonisingly close to the magic 50 mark -- and that's why he was upset at been taken off with over half an hour to go in last night's drubbing of Northern Ireland, writes Liam Kelly.
Keane had scored twice, once from the penalty spot, before he was substituted for Andy Keogh. "Of course I wanted to stay on, but it was lucky that Simon Cox stayed on, as he scored on his debut," said Keane.
"You look at the side that's here, we have a lot of young players and a couple of debutants. Both of them scored, so all in all it was a good win."
"So far so good, now we can look forward to Sunday's game and then Macedonia," said the Irish skipper.
Keane is chasing 50, but Wolves left-side player Stephen Ward and West Brom striker Cox were thrilled to have found the net on their senior international debuts.
Dubliner Ward hit the heights of emotion when Wolves saved their Premier League status by the skin of their teeth on Sunday, but he forgot the tiredness when Giovanni Trapattoni named him in the starting line-up. "I found out I was going to start just this afternoon, so obviously I was delighted to get the call. I was a little bit nervous, but more excited than anything.
"Knowing I was playing was a great honour for me. For the goal, I was just in the right place at the right time. Obviously, the 'keeper spilled it, and I was just there to tap it in, so I'll take a few more of them in my career if I can.
"Sunday was crazy and it was a bit draining mentally and physically. To stay up was a massive achievement and tonight just tops off a nice few days.
"It would be great to build on this, but I won't get carried away. It's just nice to have made my debut and hopefully I can get a few more caps under my belt," he said.
Blackburn's Keith Andrews looks forward to the chance of actually winning a trophy next Sunday when the Republic play Scotland in the last game of the series.
"You don't get a lot of chances in your career to win trophies unless you're playing for one of the top four clubs. It's going to be a decent game. I'm sure they (Scotland) will be looking to win the match as well," he said.
On the topic of the no-show players, Andrews was unequivocal: "It's disappointing that people don't turn up for one reason or another, but the bigger picture is the Macedonia game.
"Whoever's not here, that's their decision, but I'm sure the manager will bear that in mind in future squads," he said.