Republic of Ireland 4-0 Oman: Robbie Keane scores on final international appearance
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 01/09/16 10:15am
Robbie Keane bowed out of international football having taken his record goal tally to 68 as the Republic of Ireland trounced Oman 4-0.
The 36-year-old drew level with German great Gerd Muller on the list of all-time international goalscorers with a 30th-minute volley on his 146th appearance for his country.
Keane played for 57 minutes and was afforded a fitting send-off when he headed for the touchline to a standing ovation.
His contribution was sandwiched between equally noteworthy performances from Robbie Brady, who fired Martin O'Neill's men into an eighth-minute lead from a sweet free-kick, and Jonathan Walters, who struck either side of the break.
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It was a night when Jeff Hendrick's move to Burnley and the fitness of John O'Shea and James McCarthy ahead of Monday night's opening World Cup qualifier in Serbia took a back seat.
Keane was clearly emotional as he walked out ahead of his team-mates with sons Hudson and Robert to be greeted by a relatively sparse, but enthusiastic crowd.
Oman striker Abdulaziz al Muqbali was gifted a free header from an early corner and forced keeper Keiren Westwood into a fingertip save.
However, Brady shook off the ring rust with an expertly converted eighth-minute free-kick - his third goal in as many games for his country - and as Ireland found a rhythm, the task of providing Keane with the goal he craved became the focus.
Walters risked a word in his ear from manager Martin O'Neill when he left Shane Long's deflected 14th-minute cross for Keane despite being in a far better position and saw his strike partner's effort smothered.
The skipper lifted a 28th-minute lob over keeper Faiz al Rushaidi but onto the roof of the net, although he did not have to wait too much longer for his chance.
Walters knew instinctively where Keane would be when he helped on Brady's lofted ball and the frontman set himself up with his first touch and dispatched the ball into the net with his second before reprising his trademark cartwheel-somersault celebration to the delight of both his team-mates and the crowd.
Walters, who had earlier hit the post with a deft flick, got his name on the scoresheet with a firm header from Brady's 34th-minute cross to hand his side a healthy half-time advantage.
In the second half, as Wes Hoolahan was sent on in his place, Keane took his time to leave the pitch, acknowledging the cheers of the crowd and the applause of his team-mates and then the coaching staff and substitutes on the sideline.
Keane was on the sidelines to celebrate a goal within six minutes of his departure when Walters accepted Harry Arter's pass and rounded Al Rushaidi before slotting inside the far post.
Ireland threatened repeatedly as time ran down with Hendrick, James McClean and Hoolahan all going close, but the final scoreline was largely irrelevant.