Caretaker boss King shrugs off controversy to bow out with Kazakhstan win as Republic prepare for new era

By Colin Young

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Ireland finished their disastrous World Cup campaign with a win to claim a place among the Euro 2016 second seeds but there were still clouds hanging over caretaker manager Noel King as he prepared to leave the post to Giovanni Trapattoni’s eventual successor.

Everton midfielder Darron Gibson looks certain to be out for months after suffering a serious knee injury and two players, Shane Long and James McClean were unable to hide their disgust at being left on the bench for King’s two games in charge.

King, who was again predictably ridiculed by outspoken TV pundit Eamon Dunphy, also became embroiled in a spat with RTE’s Tony O’Donoghue as he defended his team selections.

On his way: Caretaker boss Noel King will make way for a permanent Republic of Ireland manager soon

On his way: Caretaker boss Noel King will make way for a permanent Republic of Ireland manager soon

Ireland teammates celebrate with John O'Shea after he scores their second

Top man: Ireland teammates celebrate with John O'Shea after he scores their second

Robbie Keane celebrates after equalising Kazakhstan's opener with a penalty

Spot on: Robbie Keane celebrates after equalising Kazakhstan's opener with a penalty

This all came despite Ireland claiming the victory to keep alive hopes of being in the second seeds for next year’s European Championship qualifying draw. Ireland now need Romania not to qualify for the Brazil finals in next month’s World Cup play-offs.

At least the job looks enticing as the FAI look to choose between early leading candidates Martin O’Neill, Mick McCarthy and Roy Keane.

But as well as facing TV criticism, King had to deal with abuse from within the camp.

Two hours before kick-off West Brom striker Shane Long, who did not play against Germany or Kazakhstan, tweeted: 'Cowboy!!...nuff said??'.

That was later retweeted by Wigan winger James McClean, another unused player, who earlier deleted his own tweet which exclaimed: 'Long, long 10 days.'

In the frame: Martin O'Neill (left) and Roy Keane (right) are among the favourites for the Ireland job

In the frame: Martin O'Neill (left) and Roy Keane (right) are among the favourites for the Ireland job

Republic of Ireland's Robbie Keane
Dmitriy Shomko gives Kazakhstan an early lead against the run of play

Unexpected: Dmitriy Shomko gives Kazakhstan an early lead against the run of play

But King said: 'I have addressed the group and I understand. How would you not be happy spending ten days and not playing? He is right, it is horrendous.

'And what about the four players out in Germany? I said I was happy with them and then I leave them out. Do you think they are dancing? They will be disgusted.

'I spoke to them as a group and individually and they know where I am coming from. I understand they are not happy but that’s life. Not one of them has sulked and not one of them didn’t perform.'

Richard Dunne (left) congratulates John O'Shea for giving Ireland the lead on 26mins

In front: Richard Dunne (left) congratulates John O'Shea for giving Ireland the lead on 26mins

Hero to zero: Kazakhstan goalscorer Dmitriy Shomko nets an own goal to give Ireland a 3-1 win

Hero to zero: Kazakhstan goalscorer Dmitriy Shomko nets an own goal to give Ireland a 3-1 win

The one major sour note, apart from a half-empty Aviva Stadium, was a medial ligament injury suffered by Gibson who had to be stretchered off after just half an hour after falling awkwardly.

Gibson had only returned to the squad under King after refusing to play for Trapattoni in this World Cup qualifying campaign after the former manager did not play him in last summer’s Euro 2012 finals.

The former Manchester United midfielder was comforted in the Ireland dressing room by Everton manager Roberto Martinez after he was carried off in agony.

Martinez, who also had Seamus Coleman and James McCarthy in the Ireland line-up, had hoped to see Gibson continue his recovery from the knee injury which ruled him out of the start of the season.

Sore point: Ireland's Darron Gibson is stretched off in the first-half watched by caretaker boss Noel King

Sore point: Ireland's Darron Gibson is stretched off in the first-half watched by caretaker boss Noel King

Concerned: Everton boss Roberto Martinez attended the game to watch his players Darron Gibson, Seamus Coleman and James McCarthy in action

Concerned: Everton boss Roberto Martinez attended the game to watch his players Darron Gibson, Seamus Coleman and James McCarthy in action

Seamus Coleman (left) clears the ball from Kazakhstan's Maxat Baizhanov during the game

Hoof it! Seamus Coleman (left) clears the ball from Kazakhstan's Maxat Baizhanov during the game

Gibson is expected to have a scan on the injury on Wednesday. Last night the FAI could shed little light on the seriousness of the injury other than to announce 'it doesn’t look good'.

King said: 'It wasn’t nice and it doesn’t look the best but he is with the medical people.'

Ireland recovered from an early scare to clinch the win after Dmitriy Shomko silenced a half-empty Aviva Stadium with a wonder-strike from 30 yards.

The home side, inspired by Andy Reid, who was described by King as `immense’ equalised quickly through a Robbie Keane penalty. John O’Shea scored his first goal for ten years before a Shomko own goal sealed the win.

In glove and war: Kazakhstan's goalkeeper Andrey Sidelinikov had a busy night in goal

In glove and war: Kazakhstan's goalkeeper Andrey Sidelinikov had a busy night in goal

Robbie Keane points the way for Ireland to find a new manager

Which way now? Robbie Keane points the way for Ireland to find a new manager

King said: 'The next man will be a hardy professional and will understand the rigours of this job and will be paid accordingly, which is correct, and I am sure he will be able to handle the criticism.

'For my own part, I am a happy man and there is a huge burden and pressure off me. We had two good performances so I am happy. It has been tiring, harrowing and fantastic, and marvellous working with the players.'

And he received some support from captain Keane and man of the match Reid.

Battle: Ireland striker Kevin Doyle challenges Kazakhstan's Dmitriy Shomko for the ball

Battle: Ireland striker Kevin Doyle challenges Kazakhstan's Dmitriy Shomko for the ball

Keane said: 'He’s been honest as they come, a credit to himself the way he handled himself. To come into senior set-up, when he hasn’t been involved in this set up before and he’s dealing with big players here. To come in, to change it all up, leave out players who want to play. All the lads enjoyed him, one of our own. He’s been fantastic.

'If he’s here in November the lads will support him but you’d imagine the game in November is the perfect time to have a new manager. You need a new manager to come in, otherwise what’s the point in having these friendlies?’

Reid added: 'I think he has been fantastic. It was a very difficult job for anyone to take on.'

 

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