KEVIN Long achieved a child hood dream on Tuesday night when he scored his first goal for the Republic of Ireland in their 3-1 win over Bulgaria at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.

Burnley's longest serving player restored his sides lead in the 83th minute as the game looked to be playing out to a 1-1 draw.

Alan Browne gave the Irish the lead just before the hour mark before Ivelin Popov levelled proceedings 10 minutes later from the penalty spot.

The centre half then rose highest to nod home the goal that restored Ireland's lead before debutant James Collins sealed the victory in the friendly.

"It is a brilliant feeling to play for your country," Long said.

"A magnificent feeling and to top it all off with a goal is brilliant. I think in the first half that we kept the ball well but it just wasn't quick enough.

"Second half, we upped the tempo and played a lot more forward balls. I think we dictated the game."

The 29-year-old earned his first cap for the Republic of Ireland in June 2017 and has since made 11 more appearances for his country.

Long was signed for Burnley in 2009 from Cork City, he has since been on six different loan spells to Accrington Stanley twice, Rochdale, Portsmouth, Barnsley and MK Dons.

In nearly 11 years at Turf Moor, Long has gone on to make 47 appearances.

Four players who had represented Cork City were on the field for Ireland and Long admitted it was a special moment for his former club.

"It is brilliant that there were four Cork lads on the team tonight," Long told RTE Soccer.

"That's brilliant for Cork and brilliant for the lads themselves. I have not been playing for Burnley lately so it was a bit of a chance to get a game here.

"Playing for your country is always a proud moment. To get a goal as well, as I said, is brilliant.

"Jack Byrne was outstanding. He's a great player and technically very good. You could see that when he came on and some of the passes he made including the delivery for my goal."