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Published: 21:00 | 31/8/16

Keane scores in Ireland win over Oman

Dubliner equals Gerd Muller's record

For one final time, we saw that iconic celebration. We hadn't seen much of the Robbie Keane somersault for Ireland in recent years.

He was perhaps too embarrassed to go through the whole routine following his Euro 2016 qualifier hat-trick against Gibraltar in Dublin in October 2014 or his brace against the minnows in Faro almost a year later.

But we were treated to the whole double cartwheel – and the double pistol to boot – after his brilliant strike in the 4-0 international friendly win over Oman at the Aviva Stadium on Wednesday.

And why not? This was his night after all – the 146th and final appearance for his country in an iconic career spanning 19 years.

And his 30th-minute goal, a brilliant flick over the head of defender Nadir Mabrook and drilled volleyed finish past goalkeeper Faiz Al Rushaidi, deserved the full treatment.

The strike brought him level with Germany's Gerd Muller on 68 goals and joint fourth in the list of Europe's top scorers in international football.

And it was a fitting way to bring to an end a brilliant career, full of goals of such athleticism and cheek.

There are many players in Martin O'Neill's squad with talent, but who among them would have the impudence to try something like that, with his back to goal from an unpromising flick on into the penalty area?

After being mobbed by his team-mates, for a second he was left alone on the pitch near the centre circle as he waved emotionally to his family up in the posh seats, then pointed up at the sky in tribute to his father Robert, who died 13 years ago at the age of 50.

By that stage, Ireland were already 1-0 up and cruising following Robbie Brady's inch-perfect free-kick on eight minutes, the Dubliner's third goal in successive matches for his country.

And the Norwich star, mystifyingly overlooked by Premier League clubs in this transfer window, set up the third goal for Jon Walters on 34 minutes with an exquisite whipped-in cross from the left flank.

Keane was given another moment in the spotlight, substituted on 56 minutes to a standing ovation and a handshake from every one of his team-mates as he returned to the bench.

From then, it was all rather an anti-climax, although Walters netted his second of the night, with a neat finish from Harry Arter's slide-rule pass, a 12th goal for his country which will boost his confidence following his bit-part start to the Premier League season at Stoke.

But there are tougher tests to come than this, against a team ranked 107th in the world and a side former Ireland boss Brian Kerr called “the worst international team I have ever seen play in Dublin”.

For, after the long goodbye to Keane, things turn to matters more serious, as Ireland meet Serbia in the opening qualifying match for the 2018 World Cup in Belgrade on Monday.

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