Westwood delighted to impress

Young shot-stopper makes crucial save in second half

Westwood: Made crucial save

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Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Keiren Westwood admits he was delighted to play an important role in his side's victory over Macedonia.

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The Coventry City shot-stopper made his competitive debut for Ireland in the crunch Euro 2012 qualifier at the Aviva Stadoium and goals from Aiden McGeady and Robbie Keane earned the three points.

Ivan Trickovski pulled one back for Macedonia on the stroke of half time, but Giovanni Trapattoni's men held out to go level on points at the top of Group B.

Westwood put in an accomplished display between the sticks and produced a vital stop in the second 45 to keep the score at 2-1.

Asked about the importance of the win, he told Sky Sports: "It's massive. We've got a lot of key players out but we worked hard and I thought we deserved it.

"I'm just happy to be involved. Sometimes you don't really want to touch the ball but I was delighted to make the save and happy to have contributed."

Westwood added that he was proud to make his competitive debut and he praised regular No.1 Shay Given who was absent through injury.

"I'm very proud and honoured. Shay's been great [to me] since day one," he remarked. "I was only 23 when I got into the squad and he's been brilliant for me.

"He's dominated this position and he's a legend."

Back on track

Russia could only muster a 0-0 draw with Armenia so Ireland are level at the top of the table after five games.

Winger Damien Duff, who also had an impressive game, admits it was an extremely tough match but is pleased to get the campaign back on track.

"I was maybe cramping after an hour, that shows what a shift we had to put in," he added.

"There are no easy games in Europe anymore. Macedonia put up a great fight but it's a massive three points.

"We knew the Russia result coming in so that gave us a little lift.

"We believe we can do it. We went close to the last World Cup and we're going to put in a big effort to get to Ukraine and Poland.

"We have to make this (Aviva Stadium) a fortress like Lansdowne Road used to be and this result goes a long way to that."

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