Three and easy as Keane clan watches Robbie’s hat-trick
A BETTER script could not have been written to Ireland's continuing journey on the rocky road to Brazil.
Take one record goal scorer winning a record number of caps and have him score not just once but bag a hat-trick.
There's only one Keano and Ireland's talisman Robbie Keane lived up to expectations at a disappointingly unfilled Aviva Stadium.
This may have been a crucial World Cup qualifier against minnows Faroe Islands.
But it was also about Ireland's most-capped player and record goal scorer.
Robbie Keane was given the resounding welcome he deserved as he led the Irish team on to the pitch at the Aviva Stadium.
More the pity that more fans didn't witness the historic moment, with the stadium appearing to be less than half-full.
In gloriously sunny evening weather, it felt like the start of the summer holidays as Robbie marked a record 126th cap for the Republic of Ireland, surpassing the 125 mark he had shared with Shay Given.
In what was a proud occasion for Keane and his family, Robbie's four-year-old son Robbie also joined in his dad's celebrations, walking hand-in-hand with him as he played the part of team mascot.
Fans who predicted an easy win for the Republic and for Robbie to score first didn't have long to wait as Keane stretched his 56-goal record to 57 shortly after four minutes had elapsed.
"There's only one Keano," chorused the fans as they began to relish a goal rush.
But the early goal flattered to deceive with a few golden chances missed as the clock counted down to half-time. The 1-0 half-time lead was scant reward for those early expectations.
But the captain's day was about to get better when Keane doubled his tally just after 50 minutes. It was party-time at the Aviva.
It could hardly get better but Robbie capped a personal fairytale appearance by completing his hat-trick in the 80th minute to bring his record tally to 59.
They sang and danced in the stands as, arms raised in salute, Robbie acknowledged the adulation of his supporters. Sweet as the 3-0 win and the three points were, fans could not help but be a little disappointed that there wasn't more of a goal rush.
"It was a job done but it could have been better," said Kieran Prendergast from Tallaght in Dublin.
"We got the result and that was the most important thing but at least Robbie was outstanding," he said.
Among the supporters who turned out in the glorious conditions were a group of American tourists who had earlier spent the day sightseeing around Dublin.
Husband and wife Mark and Darshanna Smith and Jill Lafady and Tyler Steinman – all from Seattle – had spent the day at the Jameson Distillery tourist attraction before donning Irish jerseys and heading off to watch the match.
Portlaoise visitors Declan O'Loughlin (29) and Mary Kilcommons, along with nephews Garry (13) and Jason Sheppard (10), are regular followers of Ireland's fortunes and were predicting a 4-0 victory "with a couple of goals from Robbie".
John Norton and Bernie Cafolla from Dublin were also confident of an easy win with Bernie showing a particular interest in how the team fares – her brother-in-law is former Ireland international Niall Quinn.
Keith Hughes and his 10-year- old son Daniel from Bray, Co Wicklow, obviously got a peek at the script even before the teams took the pitch.
"An easy win with Robbie to score first," predicted Keith.