Robbie Keane grabbed a double as the Republic of Ireland beat 10-man Northern Ireland 5-0 in the Nations Cup in Dublin on Tuesday night.
Keane claimed his 47th and 48th goals for the national team as Wolves utility man Stephen Ward and West Brom striker Simon Cox marked their debuts with their first international goals.
It proved to be a disappointing night overall for Northern -Ireland, who were cheered on by a sparse band of supporters after fans staged a boycott in protest at traveling restrictions placed upon them.
Ward opened after 24 minutes and Keane doubled for the hosts following a dreadful pass-back by Lee Hodson eight minutes before the break.
There was further misery for Northern Ireland when Craig Cathcart netted an own goal a minute before the interval.
The Republic added to their tally nine minutes after the restart when Adam Thompson was deemed to have fouled Keane in the box and was given a straight red card by Scottish referee Craig Thomson. Keane stepped up to secure the penalty.
The victory put the Republic at the top of the Nations Cup table ahead of Scotland’s game against Wales last night.