Euro 2016 qualifiers: Ireland looking to leapfrog Scots with Gib win
An early hat-trick in the first 18 minutes from Robbie Keane helped lead Republic of Ireland on their way to a smashing 7-0 win over Gibraltar at the Aviva Stadium in the nation’s second Euro 2016 Group D qualifier. The legendary Green Army striker is a terrific 2/1 with Coral to net first again.
Gibraltar now welcome Ireland to their adopted home in Faro, Portugal, hoping to avoid a fourth defeat by that same scoreline in their pool, and have made another managerial change in attempt to collect their first competitive points since becoming UEFA’s newest nation in 2013.
Their former interim boss David Wilson, now assistant to new head coach Jeff Wood, oversaw GFA’s maiden qualifying goal against Scotland back in March, thanks to Lee Casciaro’s equaliser. You can take tasty odds of 11/4 for both teams to score in this match too.
The tiny British oversees territory went on to lose that game at Hampden Park 6-1, but you can back the Lincoln Red Imps forward at a highly tempting 50/1 to score last this time.
Ireland are the heavy 1/33 odds-on favourites to win this match, which could crucially see them leapfrog their Scottish rivals into third place, if the latter fail to beat Georgia away.
If that happens, it could put Martin O’Neill’s team in pole position to claim the third-place spot which would qualify them for the play-offs to reach the France finals.
Both Ireland and Scotland will have to face current top two Poland and Germany, as well as Georgia and Gibraltar in their last three matches.
O’Neill will certainly not want to take his chances against GFA, although he has called up uncapped duo Aberdeen striker Adam Rooney (3/1 to net last) and Northern Ireland-born Bournemouth midfielder Eunan O’Kane. While Derby County full back Cyrus Christie could get a chance to add to his one appearance for the Green Army.
LA Galaxy star and national captain Keane is certainly determined not to slip up, saying: “If we take our eye off the ball, we could slip up, so first and foremost, we have to win the game.
“You want to win the game of football, it’s in our mindset that we can score one goal, two, seven, whatever it might be.
“For us as staff, we obviously want to see goals, but that’s up to the players to go out and perform and get the right result, take some momentum into the home game.
“The biggest danger – you sometimes see it in English cup games – if you take your eye off the ball or underestimate somebody, then you are in trouble.
“Obviously we are hoping that other teams might slip up but, first and foremost, we have got to do our own jobs.”
Keane is also the subject of a Coral match special, with odds of 9/2 for him to hit another hat-trick (max stake £20). Ireland, meanwhile, are an enhanced 3/1 to win by seven goals or more again.
There are no real noticeable absentees in the visitors’ 28-man squad for their double header against Gib and Georgia, with the likes of established internationals Shay Given, John O’Shea, Seamus Coleman, Aiden McGeady and Shane Long all being called up.
In Englishman Wood’s first Gibraltar (66/1 to win or 20/1 to draw) squad since being appointment full time boss, midfield star Liam Walker (66/1 to net last) will be his dangerman, after the former Portsmouth playmaker caused Germany trouble in both meetings in Group D.
Kyle and Ryan Casciaro join up with their brother Lee again, while the likes of captain Roy Chipolina and Jake Gosling, who recently gained promotion with Bristol Rovers to the English Football League, also make the squad.
But other British-born and based players Scott Wiseman (Scunthorpe United), David Artell (Bala Town) and former Leeds United and York City youth player Adam Priestley (Shaw Lane Aquaforce) have been left out.
Coral’s top tip: Despite being 35-years-old and laying over in MLS, Keane is still a key player for the Irish, and is a tempting 2/1 shout to score first