Republic of Ireland finished a poor FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign on a high with a 3-1 Group C win over Kazakhstan on Tuesday.
Ireland, who have slipped to 59th in the FIFA rankings following a poor run that saw previous manager Giovanni Trapattoni sacked, triumphed courtesy of goals from captain Robbie Keane and defender John O'Shea, with a late Dmitriy Shomko own goal adding gloss in Dublin.
They trailed in the early stages after Shomko's stunning strike from distance but Keane scored from the penalty spot – his 61st goal for his country in 130 appearances – to level proceedings in the 17th minute.
O'Shea then punished Kazakhstan goalkeeper Andrey Sidelnikov for spilling a header with his first goal in more than 10 years for Ireland before Shomko turned into his net in the latter stages as Ireland won just their second World Cup qualifier of the year.
Keane recovered from an ankle injury to headline four changes made by interim Ireland manager Noel King, who also handed Andy Reid his first international appearance in almost six years and recalled O'Shea and Richard Dunne after suspensions.
Keane had the game's first chance in the ninth minute and although his flick header was tame, Sidelnikov fumbled it in a sign of things to come.
The visitors should have taken the lead moments later, only for Maxat Baizhanov to put a free header over the bar, but their frustration did not last long thanks to Shomko's brilliant effort.
Shomko made the most of a poor attempted clearance from Seamus Coleman, hitting a stunning left-footed strike from 25 yards that went in off the inside of the post and left Ireland goalkeeper David Forde with no chance.
Ireland were quickly back on level terms after Kazakh defender Alexander Kislitsyn needlessly handled a Reid corner.
Keane converted the resultant penalty with ease before another mistake allowed Ireland to score, with Sidelnikov the culprit on this occasion.
The goalkeeper flapped at a Dunne header following another innocuous Reid corner and O'Shea reacted quickest, hooking into the net from close range with his left foot.
The first half petered out following Darron Gibson's knee injury, which forced him off on a stretcher after a fall.
Keane shot wide in the first minute of the second half and a sustained period of pressure followed, as Reid, Glenn Whelan and Marc Wilson went close for the hosts, who were nearly made to pay for their profligacy when Kazakh sub Igor Yurin flashed an effort wide.
Reid had two more efforts on goal before Ireland sealed the result with 14 minutes to play.
Anthony Stokes did well to keep a ball in at the byline, and he fed Aiden McGeady, who saw his ball across the face of goal turned in by Shomko.
|Coach: N. King|
for D. Gibson 37'
for A. Reid 75'
for A. Stokes 87'
|Barca in best form of season, says Neymar|
|Lopetegui bemoans ´bad´ start to Bayern rout|
|PSG could not match Barca´s level - Luiz|
|Football League Review: Southend edge crunch clash as Worrall returns to haunt Bury|
|Barcelona 2 Paris Saint-Germain 0 (5-1 agg): Neymar at the double as Catalans cruise through|
|Bayern Munich 6 Porto 1 (7-4 agg): Guardiola´s men run riot in first half|
|Vidal fit for Monaco clash - Allegri|
|Jardim calls on Monaco to rediscover home form|
|AFC Champions League Review: Wanderers on brink of elimination|
|United yet to decide on Falcao future - Vasilyev|
|Schurrle and De Bruyne to miss Napoli trip|
|Toure open to ´new challenges´|
|Keshi returns to Nigeria post again|
|Sanchez ´surprised´ by Arsenal quality|
|Simeone: Pressure off Atletico in Madrid derby|
|Relegation run-in favours Leicester - Walsh|
|Fiorentina v Dynamo Kiev: Pasqual calls for response in second leg|
|Schmidt extends Mainz deal|
|Parma on the market for €20million|
|Zenit v Sevilla: Villas-Boas wary despite key player returns|
|Title a step too far for United, says Evans|
|De Bruyne agent reveals Manchester City talks|
|Kroos not making excuses about absences|
|BREAKING NEWS: Smalling signs new United deal|
|Depay like a young Ronaldo - De Boer|
|Napoli v Wolfsburg: Benaglio eyes return to form|
|Frontzeck: Survival fight is not about me|
|Real can cope with injuries - Ancelotti|
|Dnipro v Club Brugge: Preud´homme prepares to show his hand|
|Silva returns to training after cheekbone scare|
|Villa and Reading charged over alleged FA Cup crowd trouble|
|Zeman resigns from Cagliari post|
|Opportunity knocks as Dyche plans for Barnes absence|
|Berbatov dreaming of Champions League semi-final|
|Benzema joins Real´s injury list|
|Jenkinson: West Ham will not settle for mid-table|
|Montella calm over fan frustrations|
|Blanc: Barca are the model for PSG|
|Newcastle just need three more points - Janmaat|
|Gaya: Six finals left for Valencia|
|Muller wary of Porto counter-attacks|
|Bartomeu plays down Pogba link|
|Verratti hails ´essential´ Ibrahimovic|
|Zidane backs PSG to upset Barca|
|America v Montreal Impact: Klopas unfazed by host´s form|
|Vlaar open to Villa stay|
|Shepherd urges fans not to boycott Newcastle|
|Maritimo 1 Nacional 1: Tiquinho ensures derby finishes all square|
|Fiorentina 0 Verona 1: Diamanti and Neto pay the penalty|
|Elche 1 Real Sociedad 0: Bergara gifts win to hosts|
|Van Persie returns in Under-21 game|
|Turkish Super Lig Review: Galatasaray slip sees Fenerbahce go top|
|Russian Premier League Review: Arsenal Tula and Rostov maintain survival bids|
|Frontzeck named as Korkut´s replacement at Hannover|
|Lopetegui wary of Bayern backlash|
|Pastore plays down Cantona´s world best tag|
|PSG absences no excuse for failure - Blanc|
|Suarez sad to see Gerrard leaving Liverpool|
|Cleber injury adds to Hamburg woes|
|Northern Ireland free to play Romania at Windsor Park|
|Juve sweating on Vidal availability|
|Monaco v Juventus: Evra ready to take control|
|Striking concerns for Chelsea after Drogba injury|
|PSG and Chelsea have bid for Dybala, claims agent|
|Pogba can leave Juve for ´right offer´|
|Bendtner dropped after arriving late for training|
|Messi achievement unrepeatable, says Luis Enrique|
|Football League Preview: Preston and MK Dons battling to join Bristol City|
|Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid: Ancelotti optimistic amid injury concerns|
|Iniesta declared fit for PSG second leg|
|Bale remains a doubt for Atletico clash|
|Schweinsteiger set to face Porto, Ribery to miss out|
|No broken cheekbone for Silva|
|Final appearance can remove negativity at Villa - Fox|
|Bale selected in Football League Team of the Decade|
|PSV director: United and PSG want Depay|
|Korkut sacked by relegation-threatened Hannover|
|Sherwood: Pressure all on Arsenal|
|Newcastle in a ´dangerous moment´ - Colback|
|Kovac hopes to have Modric fit for Euro qualifier|
|Copa Libertadores Preview: Cruzeiro boss Oliveira does not fear sack|
|MLS Review: Revs extend unbeaten run, Timbers stun City|
|Fournier proud and disappointed|
|Shaw ready to make an impact|
|Hazard among best three in the world - Mourinho|
|Carver: Newcastle are in relegation battle|
|CAF Champions League Review: Setif get two away goals, Al Ahly denied late on|