Ken Early: Ireland’s players look like they’re finally enjoying it again

Second goal combined rare blend of energy, persistence, intelligence and quality passing

Chiedozie Ogbene was the type it is hard to remember Ireland scoring before. Photograph: John Walton/PA

Chiedozie Ogbene was the type it is hard to remember Ireland scoring before. Photograph: John Walton/PA

It is said that in the streets of Luxembourg City they are calling Ireland “the clockwork orange.” The 1,000 or so Ireland fans who made the trip to see the last match of the World Cup qualifiers got to see the orange-shirted Irish team fight its way off the ropes and finish the game in style with a flurry of goals, including one the likes of which you struggle to recall an Irish team scoring before.

There didn’t seem much on when Chiedozie Ogbene chased Jeff Hendrick’s pass up the right wing, but as Ogbene closed down Michael Pinto, Hendrick was following close behind, meaning he was in position to intercept Pinto’s poor pass into midfield. Hendrick bore down on the penalty area and sent Jason Knight through with a perceptive ball that flummoxed the Luxembourg back line. Knight’s beautiful touch took the keeper out of the game and Ogbene lifted it over the last defender to kill off the game at 2-0.

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