Robbie Keane marked his milestone 126th international appearance with a treble as the Republic of Ireland made light work of the Faroe Islands in a 3-0 win in Dublin.
The script was written for the LA Galaxy striker – surpassing Shay Given's caps record – to make an early contribution and he obliged after just five minutes. Keane struck again 11 minutes into the second half, before completing a hat-trick and lifting Giovanni Trapattoni's charges into third place in FIFA World Cup qualifying Group C.
The home team were swift to examine the scars the Faroe Islands incurred in a 6-0 defeat by Austria last time out. Wes Hoolahan – making his first competitive start – picked out Aiden McGeady, whose inviting centre from the left was rolled in first time by Keane.
Ireland's No10 wheeled away in trademark fashion and was almost celebrating again when goalkeeper Gunnar Nielsen rushed to deny him converting Glenn Whelan's inventive free-kick. Jon Walters then headed straight at Nielsen and only a smart reflex save prevented Keane from rubber-stamping a one-sided half.
Keane was thriving in the role of chief protagonist and exhibited all his predatory instincts by stabbing in Hoolahan's intelligent cross. He was in the right place at the right time again nine minutes from time, prodding in from close range after being set up by Connor Sammon.