Robbie Keane’s goal helped the Republic of Ireland claim the inaugural Nations Cup with a 1-0 win over Scotland on Sunday.Hosts Ireland enjoyed the first real chance of the match at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium, with striker Simon Cox evading tackles in the box only to see his shot blocked by Blackpool midfielder Charlie Adam.
Scotland went close when Adam fizzed an effort over the bar.
Sunderland fullback Phil Bardsley then forced Ireland goalkeeeper Shay Given to turn the ball over the bar from a blistering 30-yard strike.
But it was the hosts who found the breakthrough in the 23rd minute, with a goal that would also prove to be the winner.
First Paul McShane escaped challenges from Steven Naismith and debutant James Forrest to play in Keane.
The Ireland captain advanced from close to the half-way line, reaching the edge of the penalty area before beating Allan McGregor with a low drive.
Newcomer Forrest might have scored for Scotland shortly after the hour mark, but the Celtic teenager volleyed wide at close range from Barry Robson’s cross.
Kenny Miller had a strong penalty claim turned down after he was fouled inside the box by Wolves winger Stephen Hunt.
And the protests of the Bursaspor striker would draw a yellow card from referee Mark Whitby.
Scotland were in control of general play late, but both Gary Naismith and Miller passed up opportunities to equalise.
Ireland escaped with a narrow victory in front of nearly 18,000 supporters, up on the disappointing crowds of the tournament’s opening matches.