Norwich City’s Wes Hoolahan delighted with first international goal for the Republic of Ireland

Wes Hoolahan started on the bench for the Republic of Ireland but came on to score a stunning first international goal. Picture: Ken Sutton / SEPA Photo Wes Hoolahan started on the bench for the Republic of Ireland but came on to score a stunning first international goal. Picture: Ken Sutton / SEPA Photo

Thursday, February 7, 2013
1:17 PM

Norwich City forward Wes Hoolahan scored his first international goal for the Republic of Ireland last night – a moment he described as one of the proudest of his career.

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Wes Hoolahan scores his first international goal for the Republic of Ireland against Poland. Picture: Ken Sutton / SEPA PhotoWes Hoolahan scores his first international goal for the Republic of Ireland against Poland. Picture: Ken Sutton / SEPA Photo

Introduced as a 62nd minute substitute for Shane Long with Ireland ahead thanks to Ciaran Clark’s first-half opener, Hoolahan sealed a 2-0 friendly win over Poland at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium by chesting down Jeff Hendrick’s 76th minute pass before drilling inside the far post.

“It was amazing – to score for your country is one of the proudest things I’ve done so it’s a great occasion,” said Hoolahan. “I’ve waited a while to get my chance but all I can do is my best when I’m called upon and prove what I can do.”

Hoolahan, 30, was winning his third Irish cap – a tally he has had to wait five years to achieve after somehow failing to convince current Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni and his predecessors. However, this time Hoolahan will hope he has persuaded the Italian veteran he can be of use come the Republic’s forthcoming World Cup qualifiers in Sweden and at home to Austria next month.

“In the past, I have been asked many questions about Hoolahan and I said we knew him very well,” said Trapattoni. “He is not old, but we wanted to look at the new players, young players like James McCarthy.

Wes Hoolahan scores his first international goal for the Republic of Ireland against Poland. Picture: Ken Sutton / SEPA PhotoWes Hoolahan scores his first international goal for the Republic of Ireland against Poland. Picture: Ken Sutton / SEPA Photo

“I also like to play with two strikers because if you play with only one striker, the opposition may think you fear them.

“Hoolahan, we have seen many times and I have said many times to Marco, it’s a pity. But maybe we have overlooked him because in every game we have seen him play for his club, he has played very well in this position.

“In the future, we will consider this. International football is not the same as club football, it’s not easy, but he is a good option.”

With Clark and Hoolahan’ scoring their first international goals, the night provided a morale-boosting victory. Aston Villa defender Clark thumped home in the 35th-minute to give Ireland the lead against the run of play, before Hoolahan – warmly applauded when introduced – made his mark.

The scoreline flattered Trapattoni’s men, who were grateful for an heroic show from goalkeeper David Forde to keep them in it.

The game had been billed as an opportunity for the Italian to take a look at newer players – John O’Shea and Glenn Whelan were the only members of the starting XI to have started a game at last summer’s finals.

Norwich winger Anthony Pilkington’s involvement was ended before it could begin after he picked up a hamstring strain at the weekend.

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9 comments

  • Yep, Spain don't have any strikers at all and you can tell they're terrified of anybody...

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    LittleYellowBirdie

    Thursday, February 7, 2013

  • Mmmmm, goals.....

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    Mad Brewer

    Friday, February 8, 2013

  • Norwich is a long way to come on a Saturday, even to see the stars in the East. So with loads of sub- standard stuff in the midlands, why bother! You're not expected to win anything anyway!.... In't that rite von trapp?

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    Stew Pydsodd

    Thursday, February 7, 2013

  • Very happy for Wes! What a total legend.

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    Denzil

    Thursday, February 7, 2013

  • He'll more than likely be dropped from the City team on Saturday. – -although von Trapp may have found the answer to Hughtons problems --- Sit him on the bench for the first hour. Scores goals! We can't have that!

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    Stew Pydsodd

    Thursday, February 7, 2013

  • Good ol` Wessi! Get your scoring boots on for City now!! (Sorry, boot - only the left one works. ;-)

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    Mad Brewer

    Thursday, February 7, 2013

  • "Maybe he's been overlooked because every time we have seen him, he has played very well in this position." !?!? What???? That makes as much sense as a roundabout in Italy!

    Report this comment

    Preston Canary

    Thursday, February 7, 2013

  • Huh? What about Barcelona who sometimes don't even play with a nominated striker? I understand that as a national coach you don't get a lot of time to work with your squad and don't want to be distracted by working on several formations. But surely at the very least it's worth having Wes the Wizard on the bench as an option... be a big shame if he doesn't get more chances to play for RoI. Given Bunn's recent form wouldn't be surprised if he got a call-up soon....

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    WoodtonBoy

    Thursday, February 7, 2013

  • Interesting that he says playing with only one striker might make the opposition think you fear them , he may be a plank but he's got that right. Hoots 4-4-2 , we don't fear anybody . Well done to the Norfolk Messi , great goal .

    Report this comment

    mjc75

    Thursday, February 7, 2013

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