Feb 7 2013
Wes Hoolahan and Conor Sammon played their way into World Cup qualifier contention as the Republic of Ireland beat Poland 2-0.
Manager Giovanni Trapattoni was delighted with the pair's contribution as Derby striker Sammon added a physical presence on his senior debut, while 30-year-old Hoolahan came off the bench to score the second goal from the 'number 10' position in which he plays for club Norwich.
Asked if the pair had given themselves a chance of featuring in next month's qualifier in Sweden, Trapattoni said: "In the past, I have been asked many questions about Hoolahan and I said we knew him very well. He is not old, but we wanted to look at the new players, young players like James McCarthy."
Trapattoni added: "I also like to play with two strikers because if you play with only one striker, the opposition may think you fear them. Hoolahan, we have seen many times and I have said many times to Marco, it's a pity.
"But maybe we have overlooked him because in every game we have seen him play for his club, he has played very well in this position. In the future, we will consider this. International football is not the same as club football, it's not easy, but he is a good option."
Asked about Sammon, the Italian said: "He is a good option for Sweden because he is strong physically and Sweden are a technically good team. You have to consider the psychological side of football as well and he is a good option for this next game."
Trapattoni's men spent much of the first half defending for their lives as Poland, and striker Robert Lewandowski in particular, threatened to run riot. But for 33-year-old goalkeeper David Forde they might have done, with the Millwall man pulling off a series of vital saves, one of them one-on-one with the dangerous Lewandowski.
However, it was Ireland who took the lead 10 minutes before half-time when, after his initial header from a corner had been saved by keeper Artur Boruc, Ciaran Clark drilled the loose ball into the bottom corner for his first senior international goal.
Half-time substitute Wojciech Szczesny had to make a fine fingertip save to deny McCarthy a second goal three minutes after the restart. However, the Arsenal keeper was powerless to keep out Hoolahan's 76th-minute strike as Ireland grew in confidence and finished the game on top.
Poland boss Waldemar Fornalik was philosophical in defeat. He said: "Football is a game where really what counts is the goals that a team can score. Ireland scored two goals and we would like to congratulate them on their victory."