A simple draw wouldn’t have been enough. They knew they had to win in Cardiff, and they did, thanks to a James McClean goal in the 57th minute.
I’m so proud. They were magnificent. Playing away from home, against a very strong Welsh side who were magnificent in the Euros, for us, to come and win here on their territory, is a great result for us
the Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill told Sky Sports soon after his team’s huge 1-0 win over Wales. This victory pushed the Irish second in the group table, behind Serbia, with just enough points to secure them a spot in the playoffs.
The last half an hour seemed an eternity, to be perfectly honest. We had to withstand pressure, as you’d expect, but also at the same time we knew, at some stage, we’d have to win the game
O’Neill said, before explaining why his team’s success looks even biggerto his eyes.
When the draw was made, personally speaking, I thought outside of Spain and Italy’s group, because they are two world-class sides, we had a very difficult group. Georgia, who were down at sixth in the pot, were the strongest in their section, without a doubt. Teams would take points off each other, I predicted that right from the start, and anybody who finished in front of Serbia would probably win it. We were fourth seeds, so we’ve come through
the Northern Irish coach said.