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Last Updated: Saturday, 29 May, 2004, 17:09 GMT 18:09 UK
Kerr defends weary Irish
Republic of Ireland boss Brian Kerr
Brian Kerr's side made little impression against the Nigerians
Brian Kerr refused to criticise his Republic of Ireland team after they slumped to the country's heaviest defeat in nine years.

The 3-0 Unity Cup against Nigeria was the worst result since a similar defeat by Portugal in 1995.

"It was not an ideal situation playing on Thursday at 7.30pm and then today at 3.00pm," said Kerr.

"The players gave so much on Thursday to try and win the match against Romania, who were a very good team."

"We started with six of the players who played on Thursday and it was hard going for them.

"You could see from the start that they didn't have the zest, and I think that is understandable in the circumstances - they had nothing in their legs.

"I wasn't exactly jumping up and down at the prospect of playing on Thursday night and then again today, but there was no suitable alternative.

"We could have played this game on Monday instead, but then we'd have been playing Monday, Wednesday and Saturday of next week, which would have been no better."

Despite the heavy defeat, Kerr was pleased that some of the younger members of the squads gained more international experience.

"The positive I can take from it is that we had lots of players playing who have not played much international football.

"In the second half we had six on the field who had not started an international match previously.

"We are really digging into the squad now and have used 19 players in the two matches, but that is what these games are there for."

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