Captain Doyle delighted with win

Captain Doyle delighted with win

Kevin Doyle is confident he can maintain his 100% record as Republic of Ireland skipper - because he may never get to wear the armband again!

The Wexford-born 25-year-old had the privilege of leading his country in their friendly with World Cup hosts South Africa in Limerick last night in the absence of the rested Robbie Keane.

His big night ended on a high note as Liam Lawrence's 37th-minute free-kick clinched a win which, if possible, broadened the smile on his face.

Doyle said: "I could have that 100% record forever!

"To captain the team was a privilege and if I never get to do it again, I will be delighted with that tonight.

"There are not many [from Wexford] who have played soccer for their country, so to captain I am sure it is probably a first, so I am delighted.

"It's a privilege. My family, everyone, when they heard they were absolutely thrilled, so I was just delighted to go out there, and to win as well was nice."

Doyle was one of only three men who started Saturday night's 2-1 World Cup qualifier victory in Cyprus to get the nod again at Thomond Park as manager Giovanni Trapattoni tested the depth of his squad.

South Africa gave the Italian's new-look side a real test, particularly before the break, but they held firm despite missing most of their big names to secure a second successive victory and erase the memory of last month's 3-0 defeat by Australia in Limerick.

Doyle said: "The amount of changes - there were eight changes from the team the other night - it was great that people could come in and we looked reasonably OK.

"All the lads have been involved in the training over the last year and a half now and they know what is expected of them.

"To win two games in a row is nice. The defeat here wasn't nice last month.

"It was only a friendly, but it's not nice to come to the stadium - it's probably the last time we will be here for a long, long time - and it was nice to get that win tonight after being soundly beaten by Australia."

The next time Trapattoni and his players get together, their World Cup hopes will be on the line.

Home games against Group Eight leaders and current champions Italy and Montenegro inside five days next month will decide whether they qualify automatically, head into a play-off or stay at home and watch the tournament on television.

Full-back Stephen Kelly, who took over as captain when Doyle was handed a well-earned rest in last night's game, said: "Everybody knows what's at stake.

We are two games away from the World Cup and I am sure the fans will be out in force.

"Everybody knows what it is like to get to a World Cup. We were all supporters when we were younger and the whole country just goes crazy."

More in this Section

Handmade Gaelic footballer figurines back in the grooveHandmade Gaelic footballer figurines back in the groove

The science behind the photo that put a hurler on the moonThe science behind the photo that put a hurler on the moon

James Sugrue ready to fly when he finally reaches Augusta’s Crow’s NestJames Sugrue ready to fly when he finally reaches Augusta’s Crow’s Nest

Twenty years on, Cork still responding to Curaheen Park’s callTwenty years on, Cork still responding to Curaheen Park’s call


Lifestyle

Ask Audrey has been sorting out Cork people for ages...Ask Audrey: I’m so ahead of the curve dude, I’m already worried about getting Covid-20

From sweet expectation to bitter defeat.The 7 emotional stages of beginner baking

Fleabag, Love/Hate and a poignant new documentary series are among the options available, writes Des O'Driscoll.What to stream on Netflix, the RTÉ Player and other services

A travel show in Turkey and a look a the science of Coronavirus are among today's top picks.Thursday's TV highlights: Travelling in Turkey and the science of Coronavirus among today's top picks

More From The Irish Examiner