O'Neill looks ahead to Georgia after satisfying Oman win

O'Neill looks ahead to Georgia after satisfying Oman win

MARTIN O’Neill has admitted that whilst he was pleased with Ireland’s 2-0 victory over Oman in last night’s home friendly, “improvements are needed” ahead of Sunday’s Euro 2016 qualifier.

The win at the Aviva Stadium is O’Neill’s second as Ireland manager, and is the final warm-up game before the team head to Tbilisi to face Georgia and kick off their European campaign.

"I thought beforehand that we would need the game, and I think it was proved," said O'Neill.  "It's nice to win - there's plenty of improvement needed but it was just nice to win and for things to work out."

Kevin Doyle and Alex Pearce both scored either side of half time, with Crystal Palace newcomer Doyle netting his 14th international goal on a night where he achieved his 60th cap.

The line-up also included the returning Shay Given, from international retirement, and Darron Gibson, from long-term injury.

Given – who had not played for Ireland in two years – shared goalkeeping duties with Rob Elliot, but was not really tested by the visiting side for the 45 minutes that he was on the pitch.

Everton midfielder Gibson featured in the starting line-up last night, 10 months after suffering a cruciate ligament injury the same venue.

Last night’s game served as a chance for O’Neill to test his fitness ahead of Sunday’s game, and he played for 70 minutes before being replaced by Glenn Whelan minutes after picking up a yellow card.

O'Neill added: "We had a chance to look at Darron Gibson and Robbie Brady, who I hadn't seen play for us.

"I obviously haven't seen much of Darron at all in the last couple of years, so I thought the game was needed."

Seamus Coleman was an unused substitute in Dublin, whilst James McCarthy was not included in the squad as a precaution, and O’Neill explained that little niggles were a contributing factor in his selection.

"It would have been an impossibility for me to play my first XI even if I wanted to," said O'Neill.

The Ireland boss admitted that he was eager to manage his first competitive game since taking over the reins from Giovanni Trapattoni last year.

"It's been a long, long time, a really long period. I remember sitting here in November after the match against Latvia and maybe thinking this day would never come around,” he said.

"It's here upon us, we have got the whole campaign starting off on Sunday.

"I'm just having a look at the fixture list here, where we have got a host of away games, then we have got some matches at home, and it will be a long road."