Doyle warns of Slovakia threat

Doyle warns of Slovakia threat

Kevin Doyle has warned his Republic of Ireland team-mates not to allow Slovakia to sneak in under the radar and wreck their Euro 2012 dreams.

A couple of hours before the Republic completed their initial mission by defeating Andorra on the back of their win in Armenia on Friday evening, Slovakia sprang a surprise by winning 1-0 in Russia to dent the hopes of the Group B favourites.

However, while the setback for Dick Advocaat's side might be good news for Ireland, who face both sides in the space of five days next month. Doyle knows from personal experience that the Slovakians will have ambitions of their own to snatch top spot.

He said: "It just shows Slovakia aren't going to be easy to beat either. We had two tough games against them in the last European qualifiers. We probably should have won out there - we gave a goal away in the last minute - and we beat them at home, but it won't be easy.

"Russia obviously won't be easy. The will be wounded, they will want to pick up three points straight away now.

"They are two tough games, but we have been playing well."

Ireland beat Slovakia 1-0 in Dublin in March 2007 with Doyle scoring the only goal, and he was also on target in a 2-2 draw in Bratislava six months later.

But he will rarely strike a ball better than he did at the Aviva Stadium on Tuesday night as he helped his side to a 3-1 victory over the unfancied Andorrans.

The Irish were leading 1-0, courtesy of Kevin Kilbane's 14th-minute header, when Doyle picked up possession 25 yards out and smashed a left-footed drive into the top corner for his ninth senior international goal.

He said: "It's always nice to score, scrappy goals or whatever sort of goals, but a sweet strike is nice. A lot of times they don't, but when they fly in, it's nice to do it.

"We had spoken about hitting it - for some reason, the ball seemed to be moving a lot in the warm-up and Shay Given had mentioned to hit it any chance you get, so I did.

"I struck it sweetly enough and it just flew in, which was nice to see."

However, Andorra midfielder Christian Martinez did his best to steal Doyle's thunder within five minutes with a crisp half-volley which screamed past Given and into the net, although Robbie Keane's 54th-minute strike ensured the points remained in Dublin.

Doyle said: "To be fair, it was a great strike from him. It was probably one of their only shots in the whole game.

"But we didn't panic. We went in at half-time and we were still all pretty confident going into the second half. There was no one shouting and roaring. It was about going out and trying to get as many in the second half as we could to just wrap the game up.

"We would have liked to have got a few more, but we have got six points from the first two games and we haven't done that in a while."

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