Republic of Ireland’s final preparations for their upcoming Euro 2016 qualifying campaign went according to plan with a well-deserved 2-0 friendly win against Oman at a near-deserted Aviva Stadium.
Martin O’Neill’s side face Georgia on Sunday in his first competitive match since taking over last November as the long road to France gets underway.
Ireland looked in control from the off as Doyle opened the scoring in the first half, heading home Robbie Brady’s corner.
And Pearce made sure of the result in the closing stages of the game, taking advantage of some sloppy Oman defending from a set-piece before finding the bottom corner with a neat finish.
The few Irish supporters who did turn up applauded their team off the pitch at the final whistle, but the performance will count for little if the players are unable to get off to a good start to their qualifying campaign in four days’ time.
20 - GOAL! Republic of Ireland 1-0 Oman: Republic of Ireland open the scoring through Kevin Doyle, who heads home following a corner into the box from Brady.
30 - WARNING SIGN! The home side are nearly punished as Oman counter with pace - Al Muhaijri manages to play in Al Farsi, but the striker is unable to trouble Given in goal with a weak attempt.
31 - DOUBLE STOP! Pilkington brings a decent save out of Al Habsi after latching onto a through ball, before the keeper is called into action again moments later, this time stopping Pearce's looping header.
35 - MAGIC MEYLER! Meyler picks the ball up on the edge of the box, before attempting to chip Al Habsi with a delightful effort, only for the Wigan man to tip over the bar.
67 - OFF THE LINE! McGeady shows some lovely skill before slotting a strike goal-bound, only to see it cleared off the line by an Oman defender.
81 - GOAL! Republic of Ireland 2-0 Oman: Oman fail to deal with a Republic of Ireland corner once more and there is Pearce to slot home into the bottom corner with a fine finish.
89 - CROSSBAR! A superb effort from McGeady, who rattles the crossbar after Al Habsi had failed to punch clear Whelan's cross.
Republic of Ireland have played eight games under Martin O’Neill, winning two, drawing three and losing three.
Oman sit just one place below Republic of Ireland in FIFA’s official world rankings, in 67th position.
Can Republic of Ireland qualify for Euro 2016? Despite the comfortable win, the real test starts on Sunday as Martin O’Neill’s side begin their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign against Georgia. With World Champions Germany in their group, the Irish face a challenge qualifying for their first major tournament since Euro 2012. This, however, will be as good a chance as any, given that UEFA’s European Championship now has room for 24 teams in it rather than the previous 16.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Ali Al Habsi - The Wigan Athletic goalkeeper put a real shift in for his country in Dublin, making numerous stops to thwart Republic of Ireland over and over. Had it not been for him, Omar could have been on the wrong end of a real beating.
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND - Given 7, Meyler 7, Keogh 6, Pearce 8 , Ward 7, Pilkington 8, Gibson 6, Quinn 6, Brady 8, Hoolahan 7, Doyle 7; Subs: Eliot 6, Whelan 7, Keane 7, McGeady 7, Long 6, Murphy 6.
OMAN - Al Habsi 8, S Al Mukhani 6, A Al Mukhani 5, Al Ghailani 5, Al Owaisi 6, Al Musalani 6, Al Muhaijri 7, Al Farsi 8, Saleh 8, Al Siyani 6, Hardan 5; Subs: Al Hadri 6, Al Busaidi 6, Al Jabri 7, Karim 5, Al Muqbali 6, Al Maashari 6.
THE MATCH IN A TWEET
- Sports & Recreation
- Republic of Ireland
- Kevin Doyle
- Alex Pearce
- Martin O’Neill
- Al Habsi