Sunderland’s Irish stars keep World Cup ambitions on track with Ireland

Republic of Ireland's Rpbbie Keane celebrates scoring his hat-trick against the Faroes last night

Republic of Ireland's Rpbbie Keane celebrates scoring his hat-trick against the Faroes last night

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SUNDERLAND’S Irish contingent kept their World Cup dreams on track last night, as Giovanni Trapattoni’s Republic of Ireland side coasted past the Faroe Islands.

But Black Cats team-mate Seb Larsson couldn’t prevent Sweden suffering a costly defeat to Austria in the same qualification group.

Sweden now lie in fourth spot in Group C, trailing both Austria and Ireland, plus group leaders Germany.

Larsson played the full 90 minutes of the 2-1 loss in Vienna, with ex-Bolton striker Johan Elmander’s late goal insufficient to overhaul first-half goals from Austrian duo David Alaba and Marc Janko.

John O’Shea was the only Sunderland player in the Ireland starting line-up in Dublin and he enjoyed a comfortable evening as Robbie Keane took his international goal tally to 59 with a hat-trick.

James McClean was introduced as a 76th-minute substitute and had a hand in Keane’s third goal, as his cross was diverted into the path of the LA Galaxy striker by Conor Sammon.

Keeper Keiren Westwood was an unused substitute for the Irish, as was Simon Mignolet for Belgium, who beat Serbia 2-1 in Group A.