Kelly: Estonia win mind-blowing

Friday night’s 4-0 rout of nine-man Estonia in Tallinn left

Giovanni Trapattoni’s men on the brink of play-off victory, with

just 90 minutes at the Aviva Stadium on Tuesday night standing

between them and a trip to Poland and Ukraine next summer. While

Ireland headed for the former Soviet Republic with high hopes of

returning with a foothold in the tie, Fulham defender Kelly

admitted they could hardly have asked for anything more than they

got. He said: “You couldn’t have wished for something as good as

that. “To come away with a 4-0 win away from home is just

mind-blowing. It hasn’t even really sunk in for all of us. We were

coming off the pitch saying, ‘Was that a dream?’. “It was an

all-round good performance – and it was nice for once to get the

decisions we deserved to get. “All the decisions the ref had to

make, he got them spot-on and for us, it was so good. “To come away

with a 4-0 win going into the second leg is just amazing. It really

is a fantastic feeling.” Those decisions equated to a rash of

yellow cards which will deprive Estonia boss Tarmo Ruutli of

goalkeeper Sergei Pareiko and central defensive pairing Andrei

Stepanov and Raio Piiroja in Dublin. More significantly, however,

four of them meant that neither Stepanov or Piiroja finished last

night’s game, and with Hungarian referee Viktor Kassai also

awarding a late penalty – converted by Robbie Keane – for Ats

Purje’s trip on Stephen Hunt, the home side felt more than a little

aggrieved. However, they received little sympathy from a ruthless

Ireland side, who exploited their deficiencies to the full as goals

from Keith Andrews, Jon Walters and Keane’s double secured a

seemingly impregnable first-leg lead. Full-back Stephen Ward said:

“So many times, it is so close and nervy, but this time we got four

goals which, coming away from home, it’s not very often you do, so

everyone is delighted. “But we will do things right on Tuesday and

be professional about our business. “But it’s no more than we

deserve after coming through a tough group. “With the draw, it was

never going to be easy, but we came out here and we have done

exactly what we came to do, and we will have to do the same job on

Tuesday night.”