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Interim Ireland boss Noel King happy to sign off with a victory

Updated: Wednesday, 16 Oct 2013 09:39 | Comments

Andy Reid made a long overdue return for Ireland
Andy Reid made a long overdue return for Ireland

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Noel King was rewarded with the victory he craved as the Republic of Ireland ended their World Cup qualifying campaign on a high note.

The interim manager, who was asked to take over for the games against Germany and Kazakhstan following Giovanni Trapattoni's departure, saw his team fight back from a goal down to win 3-1 at the Aviva Stadium and justify his selections of both system and personnel.

Asked if he had enjoyed the experience, King admitted: "It's been tiring, it's been harrowing, it's been fantastic.

"Working with the players, who are terrific, really professional players was terrific and enjoyable and, I would imagine, educational for everybody."

King's short reign has not been without criticism with pundits having poured scorn on his approach in Cologne amid murmurings of discontent from players left out of the line-up.

However, he insisted he had no problem with players being disappointed not to be involved.

He said: "I have addressed the group and I understand. How would you be happy spending 10 days and not playing? Try it, it's horrendous.

"I don't mind if they are unhappy, that's life. They may have been unhappy, but not one of them sulked and not one of them didn't perform any of the things I was asking them to do."

Those who did stand duty on Tuesday night had to recover from a difficult start, and it took a 16th-minute Robbie Keane penalty to drag them back into the game after Kazakhstan defender Dmitriy Shomko had blasted an unstoppable shot across keeper David Forde.

John O'Shea proved the unlikely hero 10 minutes later when he stabbed home just his second international goal in 93 senior appearances, and it was not until the unfortunate Shomko put through his own goal 13 minutes from time that the win was secure despite the Republic's second-half dominance.

It proved a excellent return to international football for Nottingham Forest midfielder Andy Reid who, after being consigned to the wilderness by former boss Trapattoni, marked his first cap for almost six years with a fine individual display.

King said: "I was so pleased for him, so pleased for him. He was disappointed not to play in Germany.

"He's a wonderful little character, he's a wonderful little player. He's a throwback. He was immense.

"I just thought he was getting tired a little bit - he doesn't agree, which is fair enough, and as I was getting to change him - it was probably about an eight or nine-minute spell to change, and he played the best eight or nine minutes of the game.

"He had a terrific game, a great game. I was delighted with him."

Kazakhstan coach Miroslav Beranek admitted Ireland had deserved to win the game after his side's bright start.

And when asked if he had considered resigning, he added: "This is the last of the games to qualify for the World Cup and it's the last game of my contract."

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