Dublin - Robbie Keane told his Ireland teammates to never
underestimate the honour of playing for their country after he pulled on the
green shirt for the final time.
The Ireland skipper bowed out with his 68th international
goal in his 146th appearance as Oman went down 4-0 in a friendly international
in Lansdowne Road, Dublin.
Robbie Brady and Jon Walters (2) scored the other goals, as
Martin O'Neill's men gave the 36-year-old veteran the perfect send off.
Keane's 30-minute volley drew the Los Angeles Galaxy hitman
level with legendary German striker Gerd Muller at 14th in the international
all-time goalscoring charts.
The Dubliner proved he still had the nose for goals, but has
no regrets about calling time on his career.
"No, I won't regret it," he said, "it's the
right time. Will I miss it? Of course I will, having put that green jersey on
for that long. It was a big part of my life but I don't think I will sit back
and regret it now.
"It's been a pleasure, a privilege and an honour to
have played for Ireland.
"Nothing beats putting that green jersey on, it's the
best feeling in the world and they should never underestimate it, that's what I
told the players in there.
"It's something I will never forget."
Also read: Keane tops bill in provisional 35-man Ireland squad
Keane admitted his first half goal was the perfect ending to
an emotional week, a strike, he says, the whole country was willing him to
"It's been an incredible week, with the amount of
messages and support from former players and managers from all around the world,"
"All I wanted was to go out and play the game and do
well one more time for Ireland and to get the goal topped it all off for me.
"I could sense in the crowd that they were desperate
for me to score, and the team and the staff.
"I've played this game a long time and there will
always be opportunities and I was fortunate to have the opportunity.
"I flicked it over his head as I knew as a defender
it's hard to stop when running that fast. The whole country was desperate to me
to get the goal."
- 'Wonderful journey' -
Keane left the field to a standing ovation in the 57th
minute, a moment that appeared to put a lump in the throat of the usually cool
"It was always going to be emotional for me and the
family, something I will never forget and I appreciate the support and the fans
coming out in their numbers," he said.
"And all I can say is thank you. It's been a wonderful
journey over 18 years. I said to a few players after to never underestimate
putting that jersey on as it's the best feeling in the world. There are players
in there desperate to play for Ireland."
Ireland's win is the perfect warm up ahead of Monday's World
Cup qualification opener in Serbia, a game Keane will watch from the comfort of
the LA Galaxy training ground.
"I said to the team in the dressing room that I wish
them well in qualification, they have a great chance and a good team spirit
among the players," he said.
"I wished the manager well and the best. I will be
watching as a fan which will be strange as I was always a fan in the first
place but not being involved for the first time in 18 years will feel strange.
"We qualified for last Euros and now it's very
important to capitalise on that and try qualify for World Cup.
"I believe in the players and staff and feel we have a
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