Conor Hourihane on target as Republic beat Georgia

Republic of Ireland's Conor Hourihane (left) and James McClean celebrate
Republic of Ireland's Conor Hourihane (left) and James McClean celebrate

Conor Hourihane’s first senior international goal handed the Republic of Ireland a deserved Euro 2020 qualifier victory over Georgia as Mick McCarthy was treated to the perfect homecoming.

Ireland, who had scraped their way to a 1-0 win over Group D minnows Gibraltar on Saturday evening, were more than value for the points as they won by the same score at the Aviva Stadium with the Georgians rarely looking like ending their wait for a win over the Irish at the 10th attempt.

Hourihane’s 39th-minute free-kick ultimately settled the game, although goalkeeper Darren Randolph had to make a good reaction save to deny Valerian Gvilia an equaliser and Jaba Kankava hit the post five minutes from time.

Man-of-the-match McDavid Goldrick hailed the team’s performance and admitted his difficult time at Ipswich gave him a much-needed “kick up the bum”.

The 31-year-old was released by the Championship side in June last year after a long injury lay-off before signing a one-year deal with Sheffield United after impressing on trial.

“It was a great team performance. We were brilliant, the end of a good week,” McGoldrick told Sky Sports.

McGoldrick played under new Ireland boss McCarthy at Portman Road before his departure - which was confirmed by then new Ipswich boss Paul Hurst - and said: “I think I needed that, I needed a kick up the bum.

“I’m still proving myself now at international level and club level.”

Ireland boss McCarthy hailed goalscorer Hourihane and striker McGoldrick.

“He’s a wonderful left foot. His free-kicks on Saturday were brilliant,” McCarthy said of Hourihane.

“I have always admired him and tried to sign him but had no money.”

He added on McGoldrick: “He had an outstanding performance. He created the goal for us on Saturday and here he played well up front and led the line. The lads have worked an unbelievable shift tonight.”