Holland the hero!

IPSWICH skipper Matt Holland was Ireland's goal hero as the Republic opened their World Cup campaign with a battling 1-1 draw with African champions Cameroon.

IPSWICH skipper Matt Holland was Ireland's goal hero as the Republic opened their World Cup campaign with a battling 1-1 draw with African champions Cameroon.

With Holland and Charlton's Mark Kinsella working hard in central midfield, Ireland barely seemed to miss the disgraced and absent Roy Keane.

And Holland showed how well he can fill the departed Manchester United star's boots with a superb strike that Keane would have been proud of.

Picking up the ball just outside the penalty area, Holland drove it first-time, hard and low just inside the foot of the post.

It was a wonderful tonic for the Irish, who had looked like going the way of France when they trailed 1-0 at half-time to a goal by Cameroon and Sunderland striker Patrick Mboma.

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