Highlights on Off The Ball

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Highlights on Off The Ball

Robinson hat-trick helps Ireland put Qatar to the sword at the Aviva

Callum Robinson added his name to a relatively short list of Republic of Ireland hat-trick scorer...

Robinson hat-trick helps Irela...

Robinson hat-trick helps Ireland put Qatar to the sword at the Aviva

Callum Robinson added his name to a relatively short list of Republic of Ireland hat-trick scorers. 

His three-goal salvo helped Stephen Kenny's side cruise past World Cup hosts Qatar 4-0 at the Aviva Stadium.

Prior to the game, Kenny had spoken of his desire to win on home soil for the first time in his fraught tenure. The win over Azerbaijan was to be built upon, and his team fulfilled those requests with ease.

Granted, Qatar were dreadful. But they were a side ranked above Ireland by FIFA, and a club-like team who'd played a dozen times since the sides' last meeting in March.

It took Robinson 7-minutes to put Ireland in front in Baku - the West Brom striker beat that by three-minutes. He received the ball just outside the Qatar box after some intricate one and two-touch football. His shot took a decisive deflection as it flew past Meshaal Barsham in the Qatar goal.

Ireland were playing on the front-foot, keeping the visitors pegged back for large swathes of the opening exchanges.

One of the key factors in Ireland's positivity was Jamie McGrath - elevated to a starting position after coming off the bench on Saturday.

As the St. Mirren man tried to engineer an opportunity down the inside-left channel he was felled in the box by Karim Boudiaf.

Referee Keith Kennedy awarded a penalty, with a confident Robinson taking the responsibility of converting from McGrath. He shot firmly to Barsham's right to double Ireland's lead, and take his personal international tally to 5-goals.

Ireland constantly looked a threat, with both John Egan and Shane Duffy winning headers from corner-kicks.

The scoring pattern from Saturday was almost entirely replicated before the break. Robinson turned provider this time - again from the fecund left - slinging in a cross which was met by the head of Chiedoze Ogbene. However, his effort cannoned off the crossbar and to eventual safety.

Robinson had his first international hat-trick eight-minutes after the restart.

Some patient, incisive play in the inside-right channel came to a head with a slide-rule pass from Jeff Hendrick for Robinson who coolly slotted the ball past Barsham.

The heavy shoulders of Stephen Kenny that punctuated recent outings at Lansdowne Road were gone. Instead, the manager was smiling broadly as he conducted the 25,000 fans cheering his side's performance.

He was given further cause for celebration just before the hour mark. A Conor Hourihane corner was met by the head of Duffy who made it 4-0.

Jeff Hendrick almost got in on the act ten minutes from the end, but his shot whistled just past the angle of crossbar and post.

Burnley's Nathan Collins became Kenny's debutant, replacing Duffy. There was also a moment for Chiedoze Ogbene to take the applause of the Aviva faithful, which was repaid with the broadest of smiles from the Corkman.

For sure, far tougher contests will come - namely Portugal at the same venue next month. But Kenny's mission was to win on home soil for the first time, and to build on the momentum created by the win in Baku. Job done.

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Callum Robinson Chiedoze Ogbene Ireland Qatar Republic Of Ireland Stephen Kenny