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Stephen Kenny hails Michael Obafemi for producing ‘moments of immense quality’ in Scotland victory



MICHAEL OBAFEMI produced ‘moments of immense quality’ as Stephen Kenny’s players proved they have his back by smashing Scotland.

The Swansea City striker provided a sublime assist for Troy Parrott to score after Alan Browne put Ireland ahead.

And then he scored a thunderbolt from distance to copper-fasten a dream first start, having come in from the cold in this window after four years out of the squad.

Obafemi also handed Kenny a belated first competitive home win but shipped a groin injury and is a doubt for Tuesday’s clash with Ukraine in Poland.

Stand-in skipper John Egan – who was a surprise starter having been ruled out on Friday with an ankle issue – is also an injury doubt for that game.

And his defensive partner Shane Duffy definitely misses out through suspension after a booking here.

But Kenny was purring about Obafemi’s performance and said: “He had two significant moments in the game.

“His assist for Troy’s header was a great bit of combination play between the two players.

“We’ve had some good passages of play in other games, and that was a moment of brilliance.

“But his goal was a moment of immense quality. It was great to see it hit the back of the net.”

Kenny continued: “I watched him play a lot towards the end of the season and his performances for Swansea were the best of all our strikers.”

Kenny dodged questions on whether he felt personally vindicated after a difficult week.

“I’m not here to make any statements about justification,” he said.

“The Irish supporters really believe in this team. They know we’re not perfect and we have a lot of imperfections.

“I asked the players before the game what was their most significant victory they had at the Aviva Stadium in a competitive game, against a team ranked above us.

“It was Bosnia in 2015 and we said this would be our biggest result since then and that we could enjoy it with our families – if we won.

“It’s the most significant win at home in seven years.”

Kenny continued: “We went into this game after real setbacks this week, losing the two games.

“We ended up conceding more chances today than in those games but Scotland didn’t take them and we capitalised on ours.

“Once we got the first goal, the crowd really got behind us and inspired the players who fed off it, scored two more and could have had more.

“But any win over Scotland is a big win as they have been a terrific team the last few years.

“I think we’re an emerging team and people can see the potential that exists as we didn’t have Idah, Omobamidele and experienced players like Doherty and Coleman.

“We’re going to improve and get better and victories like that won’t do the players’ confidence any harm.”





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