Burke on the mark for Ireland

By Stephen Leonard

SHAMROCK Rovers striker Graham Burke marked his first start for Ireland with his first senior international goal as Martin O'Neill's side beat the USA 2-1 in last night's friendly at the Aviva Stadium.

His second half equaliser was all the more special given that it was the first goal by a home-based player for Ireland in a senior international in some 40 years.

In what was defender John O'Shea's last match for Ireland after amassing 118 caps, the homeside trailed to a Bobby Wood goal that came almost right on the stroke of halftime.

graham burke

Yet Ireland fought their way back on to level terms some 10 minutes into the second half when Kevin Long nodded Callum O'Dowda's delivery back into the six-yard box where Darragh Lenihan took it down and unleashed a shot that was seen over the line by Burke.

Lenihan was desperately unlucky not to get on the scoresheet after his header was ruled out for offside.

But Ireland served up a dramatic winner in the closing minute of regulation time when Alan Judge produced a sublime finish after some neat footwork by James McClean propelled the ball into his path.

The match also marked a senior international debut for former Shamrock Rovers full back Enda Stevens who was brought on to replace Shane Duffy on 77 minutes.

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