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Stoke City (A) Wed 4 Mar 2015, 19:45, Barclays Premier League

by Hamish Dufton @efchamishdufton

James McCarthy and Seamus Coleman both impressed as the Republic of Ireland made a winning start to life under Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane.

The Everton duo both started the 3-0 win over Latvia in Dublin, with the former almost opening the scoring when his goal-bound effort was blocked by Sunderland’s John O’Shea, and the latter laying on the third goal for West Brom striker Shane Long.

Both McCarthy and Coleman will hope to retain their places when Ireland tackle Poland on Tuesday.

Midfielder McCarthy almost registered his first international goal before O’Shea’s inadvertent interception, but remained philosophical when he said, “It would have been a dream start [to score] but these things happen.

“It's about the team. As a squad we're looking strong. It's very positive.

"It's a good result for us. We just wanted to get the ball down and pass it, which suits me. I think it was it was a good team performance and we were deserved winners.

“There's a good buzz about the place."

Coleman echoed that sentiment, revealing the duo’s delight at working under two respected names in the game. “It was very positive,” reflected the full-back.

“I think everyone had a bit of a spring in their step, everyone was trying to impress the two of them.

"I think we've worked well all week and we've got another important game coming up. I know it's only friendlies and it's only short term now, but it's a long way away the Euros.

“That's what we are all aiming for and we are starting to get a team together now."

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