Collins wins fourth cap as Ireland beat New Zealand

James Collins puts in a challenge against New Zealand
James Collins puts in a challenge against New Zealand

Luton striker James Collins won his fourth cap for the Republic of Ireland during their 3-1 friendly win over New Zealand at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin last night.

Home boss Mick McCarthy picked an experimental side for the clash against a side who had not played an international match for 525 days, with Collins named on the bench.

They fell behind against the run of play on the half hour when Callum McCowatt converted a cross from Wellington Phoenix team-mate Liberato Cacace.

However, Derrick Williams levelled just moments before the break, powering home a header from Robbie Brady's corner.

The hosts were in front on 52 minutes too when Troy Parrott found Luton-born Sean Maguire, who smashed home from the edge of the box.

Collins replaced Maguire with 17 minutes to go, as Sheffield United striker Callum Robinson then became the third player to score his first goal for Ireland moments later.

The Town attacker will now be hoping to earn selection for their crucial must-win Euro 2020 qualifier against Denmark at the Aviva on Monday night.

Speaking afterwards, McCarthy said: "I'm satisfied. I thought we played some decent football in the first half, but I could see their goal coming.

"It was a good goal by them, but I wasn't happy with the way we let them through us, so that was a bit disappointing.

"But it was great that the lads got their first goals for the country, the debutants all did well in the game, so I'm really pleased."