McGeady breaks duck in Ireland win

DUBLIN - Ireland joined Slovakia and Russia at the top of Euro 2012 Group B qualifying after a long overdue first international goal by Aiden McGeady and dreadful goalkeeping helped them beat Macedonia 2-1 on Saturday.

Spartak Moscow winger McGeady ended his 38-cap wait for a goal and had the poor Edin Nuredinovski to thank. The Macedonia keeper also gifted captain Robbie Keane a second before Ivan Trichkovski pulled one back for the visitors.

Macedonia, who twice derailed Irish qualification campaigns in the late 1990s and almost held the Slovaks away from home in September, played some tidy football but faced too tough a task after Nuredinovski handed Ireland a 2-0 lead inside 21 minutes.

The keeper let McGeady's long drive slip through his grasp after just 85 seconds and then spilled a Darron Gibson free kick to hand the prolific Keane his 46th and perhaps easiest international goal from two metres.

Trichkovski struck just before half-time, cutting inside defender Richard Dunne to slot home after nice work from Inter Milan striker Goran Pandev, and the lively APOEL Nicosia winger could have snatched a draw 15 minutes from time.

Ireland, boosted by Russia's earlier 0-0 draw in Armenia, hung on for victory and next face Macedonia again in three months' time.

Russia, Ireland and Slovakia are all locked together on 10 points.