Preston North End manager Ryan Lowe was at Lansdowne Road on Tuesday night to see his three Irishmen in action – and was especially chuffed with Robbie Brady’s winner.
On his first competitive start for Ireland since November 2020, Brady was calmness personified in converting the stoppage-time penalty to salvage a 3-2 victory over Armenia.
The return of Brady, initially as a substitute in the defeat against Scotland, was the highpoint of a lacklustre window at the end of another disappointing campaign but this is the most consistent run of games the 30-year-old has enjoyed since snapping his cruciate in late 2017.
Lowe took a chance of recruiting the free agent in the summer on a 12-month contract but he has repaid the faith by featuring in Preston’s first nine Championship matches, eight from the start. They resume their campaign at Sunderland on Saturday.
“To see Robbie after the game with his family and kids was immense,” said Lowe of Brady’s ninth international goal on his 59th cap. “I videoed his goal and was like a big kid jumping up and down. For me to go over to show my support and then him score the winner was a great moment.
“I was made up for him and his family after 15 months out. To get recognition of being back in the national team and to score the winner, there was fantastic relief.
“I was hoping every tackle wouldn't be a bad one, every run not to be a big sprint. Alan Browne played about 15 minutes or so and Troy got 75 but I'm just pleased that they're back unscathed.”
Brady, whose 18th-minute corner assisted John Egan’s opener against the minnows, could reflect on his Ireland return when back in his working environment of Deepdale.
He told the club’s official website: “I enjoyed the week, being back in the squad and we finished with a win which was good.
“We made it hard for ourselves in the space of about two or three minutes.
“We found ourselves at 2-2 but luckily enough we got the penalty at the end and managed to get the win.
“Still, I think we dominated throughout so we deserved to win but we had a bit of sloppiness.
“It was great to be back involved and to finish with a bit of a high was nice for me personally.”