Saturday, 16 December, 2017

Martin O'Neill's contract extension raises stakes for Republic of Ireland

Jeff Hendrick celebrates scoring the winning goal for Burnley against Everton yesterday with his Ireland team-mate Stephen Ward PNE duo in the Republic of Ireland squad
Lillian Steele | 07 October, 2017, 00:48

For there to be good news for Ireland, it will require whichever team finishes second in Group H dropping points in the final two games. The Boys in Green will be hoping they can get three vital points to boost their chances of playing in Russian Federation next summer.

Wales play Georgia in the early kick off but will be without superstar Gareth Bale, who will be missing for both Friday's game and Monday's clash against Ireland. I certainly would be looking forward to it.

Asked if his team had got what they deserved from the campaign, he said: 'I don't think we have achieved anything and I believe it was probably one of the weakest campaigns for qualification for the World Cup for our national team'.

"I had a conversation with John [Delaney, FAI chief executive] not so very long ago and John would like me to continue", O'Neill said.

In advance of pivotal World Cup games against Moldova and Wales the Football Association of Ireland announced the manager and his assistant Roy Keane would continue for the Euro 2020 qualifiers, without knowing whether he will succeed in reaching Russian Federation 2018. Global football was something I didn't know whether you'd get used to or not, but obviously with qualification for the Euros made it all worthwhile - and we're still in this competition also. "I think if they were called upon to go in, whether it's to start or go in, I think they will be ready".

Assistant boss Roy Keane is yet to be confirmed as staying on.

The quartet of David Meyler, Wes Hoolahan, Callum O'Dowda and Jeff Hendrick linked-up superbly throughout the evening, their passing and movement the platform for Ireland's win.

"But he's been excellent for me, I must admit, he's been excellent in the dressing room and I actually think he's enjoying it here, too".

"But it's not about bringing things over to Cardiff". If we win the game, that will be enough confidence to take us to Cardiff regardless.

Nearer home, Cork City's Steven Beattie is suspended for this night week's away league game with his old club Bohemians at Dalymount Park while Bohs' Paddy Kavanagh will be eligible to play against the champions-elect as he sits out the Gypsies game away to Sligo Rovers tomorrow.

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