Former Cork City striker Sean Maguire was delighted to score his first senior international goal in the Republic of Ireland’s 3-1 victory over New Zealand.
Maguire took home the man-of-the-match award following a superb performance and was relieved to get off the mark for his country two years after making his debut.
“It is just over two years since I made my debut against Moldova so that goal is a long time coming,” the Preston North End striker told RTÉ.
“That was probably the hardest out of the four or five chances I got tonight but thankfully, I got it out from under my feet and struck the ball into the far corner. I was happy to get my first goal and I think it was important to put on the performance that we did, heading into Monday.
“Obviously, the Denmark game is massive, and I’m delighted from an individual point of view to score and from the team’s point of view to win 3-1.
“I felt I was getting into the right areas. It is my bread and butter including that one that Longy played in behind to get one-on-one with the goalkeeper. I just couldn’t get it out of my feet quick enough hand I suppose he made a good save.
“Robbie (Keane) said to me at half time to keep making those runs and into those areas but thankfully I got my chance and it has ended up in the back of the net.”
Josh Cullen produced an equally eye-catching display but took time to pay tribute to an untried New Zealand side that managed to take the lead at the Aviva.
“All credit to them because they are a good side (technically),” said Cullen shortly after the game.
“A lot of movement and rotation, certainly in midfield. I thought we dealt with it (their threat) well and good in possession ourselves. That’s something we spoke about in the lead up to the game. At times you had to be patient because they are a good side, but we are happy to get the win and with how we played.
“It is part of the game when you go behind. Obviously, it was disappointing (to concede) against the run of play but I think we showed out character to come from behind and get the win.”
Cullen praised his teammates that got off the mark at international level on a night Ireland’s second string showed what they are capable of, albeit against limited opponents.
“It was a brilliant header from Derrick (Williams) and he was great for us tonight,” said Cullen.
“Set pieces, we know we are strong from them and have got to use them in every game we play. It is down to the manager if I play or not on Monday. We are a group as one and will all be going into that Denmark game on Monday. Whoever plays, we will be behind them to go and get the result we need.”