Ireland delight for Derby County's Conor Sammon, Jeff Hendrick and Richard Keogh
DERBY County's Conor Sammon, Jeff Hendrick and Richard Keogh made their senior debuts for the Republic of Ireland last night in a 2-0 victory over Poland.
The friendly international at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin, ended with the Rams trio on the pitch, making it a proud night for the club.
Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni has hinted that Sammon could be just the target man the team needs and the striker played the full game.
Midfielder Hendrick came on with about 20 minutes to go and created Ireland's second goal while Keogh, the Rams skipper and central defender, played the last five minutes.
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The fixture was part of Ireland's preparations for back-to-back World Cup qualifiers next month against Sweden and Austria.
Sammon started up front with Shane Long of West Bromwich Albion, although it was Poland who dominated possession in the first half. leaving the Rams player starved of service and having to live off scraps.
He competed strongly in aerial challenges and unsettled defenders at every opportunity with his purposeful running and closing down but there was no pattern to Ireland's play for half an hour due to the poor quality of their passing.
Robert Lewandowski wasted a clear-cut chance to put Poland ahead and that proved costly for the Poles as Ireland took the lead after 35 minutes through Ciaran Clark.
The Aston Villa defender grabbed his first international goal when he finished coolly after Poland struggled to clear a corner.
Former Rams midfielder Paul Green, now at Leeds United, came on at half-time for Stoke City's Glenn Whelan before Sammon's first sight of goal arrived around the hour mark.
A defensive mistake presented the ball to him in the area but he wanted too many touches and the goalkeeper was able to gather.
Sammon's touch let him down on occasions but Trapattoni will have been impressed by the striker's work rate and attitude.
Hendrick was introduced after 71 minutes, replacing James McCarthy, and the Rams youngster needed only five minutes to make his mark.
He controlled the ball on his chest and showed great vision to pick out Wes Hoolahan with a fine pass. The Norwich City player took a touch and fired Ireland into a two-goal lead.
Keogh also came off the bench five minutes from time when he replaced Clark.
Przemyslaw Kazmierczak, the midfielder who had a loan spell at Derby in 2008-09, was an unused substitute for Poland. The 30-year-old plays his football with Polish club Slask Wroclaw.
Rams defender Kieron Freeman helped Wales Under-21s to a 3-0 victory over Iceland in a friendly at Stebonheath Park, Llanelli, yesterday afternoon.
Freeman played a full game at left-back.
The Welsh Under-21s are managed by former Derby midfielder Geraint Williams.
Rams central defender Valentin Gjokaj played 90 minutes on his debut for Albania Under-21s in the goalless draw against Macedonia.