With the Republic of Ireland due to face up to Georgia on Thursday night (7.45pm), manager Martin O’Neill will be pleased with the nifty knack his side seems to have picked up during the course of his reign.
Since the Derry man took over the stats suggest more often than not his charges have found their way to goal on a highly regular basis.
In his 32 games over the Boys in Green, 27 of them have seen Irish fans celebrate hitting the back of the net at least once. That means Ireland have scored in over 84% of matches were O’Neill has been on the sideline, and that’s a good bloody habit to be in!
When you add in the fact Ireland have scored in all bar one (Belgium at Euro 2016) of their last 17 contests, than you must feel like its only matter of time before the Aviva erupts against Georgia.
But who are the likely candidates to find the net first? Well we’ve a look for you…
It won’t be surprising to many Irish fans that popular Stoke City striker Jonathan Walters jointly leads the market for the first goalscorer at with Shane Long.
Walters snatched the man of the match award out of the retiring Robbie Keane’s hands on his last Ireland outing by scoring an impressive brace and setting up Keane’s swansong strike against Oman in late August.
Walters just loves playing at the Aviva Stadium, with nine of his 12 international goals coming in home surroundings.
With him now being back to full fitness we think he might be worth a nibble for the first against Georgia. Or at the very least at to hit the onion sack anytime.
Don’t forget he also takes Ireland’s spot kicks too, so that makes him even more likely to be on scoresheet for the Boys in Green.
A concerning factor for O’Neill is that his frontman Shane Long has not scored a goal for his club side all season.
Poor Long is now on a desperate 17-match goal drought for club and country, this is why we have gone for Walters ahead of the Tipperary man.
Thursday night would be as good a time as any though to get off the mark for Southampton forward at anytime or a shout for the first goal.
One of the most pleasing aspects of Martin O’Neill’s time in charge of Ireland has been the rise to prominence of schoolboy teammates Robbie Brady and Jeff Henrick.
The former St Kevin’s Boys players have become two of the first names on O’Neill’s starting team list and after both had stellar performances at Euro 2016 their international manager must have felt his faith was restored many times over.
Hendrick landed a move to Premier League side Burnley on transfer deadline day and he’s caught the eye of many with his swashbuckling style in midfield. The Dubliner landed his first international goal, as we told you, in Serbia last time out and don’t rule him out to net a second in a row at anytime versus Georgia.
Brady for his part was the nation’s darling in the summer following his winner over the Italians and his utter coolness to net the opener against France from the spot at Euro 2016.
The over-expensive price tag Norwich slapped on has left him marooned in the Championship for the time being, but quality strikes against Oman and more recently at Wolves will remind all of his the wonderful technique on the ball.
Ireland’s deadball specialist is for the first on Thursday and his most certainly worth an punt for goal at anytime in the contest.