Senior International Friendly Match - Parken Stadion, Aarhus
Republic of Ireland 4
Republic of Ireland record goal-scorer Robbie Keane boosted his tally to 31 by hitting the back of the net twice in the first half of tonight’s friendly.
The first chance of the contest was presented to the Irish with six minutes elapsed. Aiden McGeady's marauding dribble was cut short when he was dragged down outside of the box but from the resulting free-kick, Andy Reid's clipped shot rebounded back off the defensive wall.
Ireland were lucky not to concede on 14 minutes when Dennis Rommendahl skipped past Steve Finnan down the right channel before crossing to Nicklas Bendtner whose header from eight yards struck the underside of the crossbar and was cleared by John O'Shea.
The opening goal arrived after 29 minutes following a sweeping breakaway movement that began in Ireland's half with Aiden McGeady bursting towards the half-way line.
He found Andy Reid with a pass who, in turn, delivered an incisive through-ball to Robbie Keane sprinting through the middle.
The Irish skipper homed in on goal and elected for the chip, rather than a drive, which deceived Denmark goalkeeper Jesper Christiansen and floated into the corner of the net from the edge of the box.
Reid and McGeady combined to set up Keane's second goal five minutes before half-time.
The Celtic winger collected a deep pass from Reid on the right flank and swiftly curled in a cross to the near post where Keane bravely hurled himself at the ball and Christiansen’s punch only succeeded in rebounding off the Irish striker's back and into the net.
Manager Stephen Staunton made three changes at half-time and two of those entrants created an impact nine minutes in.
Darron Gibson, making his senior debut, fired in a wicked shot from 25-yards that Christiansen could only palm down and there was Shane Long to follow up and stroke the rebound home with panache. It was the Reading striker's second goal in as many games having opened his account against Bolivia in May.
Two-goal hero Keane was withdrawn two minutes later for Sunderland's Daryl Murphy. Kevin Kilbane replaced Steve Finnan after 62 minutes to make it 81 caps for the Wigan player. He now becomes the fifth most Irish capped player in history.
McGeady’s flair undid the Danes again after 66 minutes as he set up Long for his second and Ireland’s fourth goal.
The architect of the strike slipped a pass into the path of Long, who shrugged off his marker, and coolly buried a low shot past a static Christiansen.
Afterwards, Robbie Keane explained how delighted he was with the result and display from his Irish team, especially as it was produced on their travels.
“We’ve got a few decent results at home but that’s certainly been our best away performance. We showed confidence on the ball, kept it really, really well and punished them with the goals. Overall we’re very pleased.
“The goals from Shane (Long) were quality and for me, as a striker, it’s always nice to score goals.
“The win was the most important thing because it gets the confidence up for the two qualifying games ahead.
“Denmark were a decent team and gave us a good test but we showed today, with a lot of the young lads, what a good side we can be.”
Republic of Ireland:
Wayne Henderson - Preston North End
Stephen Carr - Newcastle United
Steve Finnan - Liverpool
John O'Shea - Manchester United
Richard Dunne - Manchester City
Aiden McGeady - Celtic
Darren Potter - Wolverhampton Wanderers
Andy Reid - Charlton Athletic
Stephen Hunt - Reading
Kevin Doyle - Reading
Robbie Keane - Tottenham Hotspur
Darron Gibson - Manchester United for Reid (46 mins)
Andy Keogh - Wolverhampton Wanderers for Hunt (46 mins)
Shane Long - Reading for Doyle (46 mins)
Daryl Murphy - Sunderland for Keane (56 mins)
Kevin Kilbane - Wigan Athletic for Finnan (62 mins)
Stephen Kelly - Birmingham City for Potter (66 mins)
Denmark: Christiansen, Bogelund (Kahlenburg 46 mins), Gravgaard (Kvist 46 mins), Agger. N. Jensen (Kristiansen 46 mins), Wurtz (Lovenkrands 68 mins), Rommedahl, D. Jensen (Laursen 46 mins), Gronkjaer, Bendtner, Tomasson (Nordstrand 59 mins).