O'Neill and Keane restore the buzz as Ireland win

Fri Nov 15, 2013 6:37pm EST
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By Padraic Halpin

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane's task of bringing back the good times started encouragingly on Friday with a 3-0 friendly win for Ireland against Latvia that capped a whirlwind 10 days since the pair took charge.

The arrival of new manager O'Neill and his assistant has dominated the front and back pages of the newspapers with former Ireland captain Keane's first news conference this week packed with foreign journalists and broadcast live on three TV channels.

The home side triumphed with goals from Robbie Keane, Aiden McGeady and Shane Long but, almost as importantly, they played the kind of attacking football the Dublin fans have been begging for.

"I was really excited last night, excited this morning," O'Neill told a news conference. "I'm absolutely delighted with the performance, delighted with the attitude and delighted with the crowd's response.

"I accept the fact there will be sterner tests but it's nice to win, nice to play well and nice to score three goals. We've a lot of hard work ahead of us - it's just the start."

The former Celtic, Aston Villa and Sunderland manager, who received a loud ovation when he followed the team on to the pitch, has promised more attractive football.

His side made an encouraging start with James McCarthy and Wes Hoolihan producing some tidy passing in midfield.

It took 21 minutes for Los Angeles Galaxy striker Keane to turn in a James McClean flick from a corner to give Ireland the lead, bringing his smiling namesake to his feet on the bench.   Continued...

Ireland's manager Martin O'Neill (R) looks on at his coach Roy Keane (L) during their international friendly soccer match against Latvia at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin November 15 , 2013. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton