Wednesday 28 September 2016

Keane and Hoolahan to lead Irish attack against Gibraltar as Christie gets full-back nod

Tom Rooney

Published 04/09/2015 | 18:47

Wes Hoolahan celebrates with team-mate Robbie Keane during the victory over Gibraltar last October. Both will start in tonight's game against the same opposition in Faro
Wes Hoolahan celebrates with team-mate Robbie Keane during the victory over Gibraltar last October. Both will start in tonight's game against the same opposition in Faro

Republic of Ireland record goal-scorer and captain Robbie Keane has been reinstated as first choice striker by Martin O’Neill for tonight’s pivotal Euro 2016 qualifier with Gibraltar at the Estádio Algarve.

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Keane, who has 65 international goals to his name, came on as a replacement in Ireland’s draw with Scotland at the Aviva Stadium in June, after Daryl Murphy had ben initially selected as a lone striker.

Keane’s last goals in a green jersey came in the 7-0 thumping of tonight’s opponents in the corresponding fixture last October, when he bagged the third hat-trick of his international career.

Elsewhere, O’Neill has selected an unfamiliar defence, with Cyrus Christie getting the nod at right back instead of Seamus Coleman whose yellow card may have influenced that particular decision. Ciaran Clark has been preferred to Marc Wilson as John O’Shea’s partner in front of Shay Given, while Robbie Brady keeps his place on the left.

In what appears to be a five man midfield, which will be anchored by James McCarthy and Glenn Whelan, Jeff Hendrick has retained his spot form the Scottish tie. James McClean and Jonathan Walters should be deployed out wide and Wes Hoolahan will play off Keane.

Ireland team: Given; Christie, O Shea, Clark, Brady; McCarthy, Whelan, Hendrick; Hoolahan, Keane, Walters.

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