Wednesday 28 September 2016

Ireland goal hero Wes Hoolahan: It's disappointing not to win but we'll be ready for Belgium

Tom Rooney

Published 13/06/2016 | 19:38

13 June 2016; Wes Hoolahan of Republic of Ireland celebrates after scoring his side's first goal during the UEFA Euro 2016 Group E match between Republic of Ireland and Sweden at Stade de France in Saint Denis, Paris, France. Photo by Paul Mohan/Sportsfile
13 June 2016; Wes Hoolahan of Republic of Ireland celebrates after scoring his side's first goal during the UEFA Euro 2016 Group E match between Republic of Ireland and Sweden at Stade de France in Saint Denis, Paris, France. Photo by Paul Mohan/Sportsfile

Wes Hoolahan has described his spectacular opening goal against Sweden as one of the finest moments of his career and believes the point earned in the Stade de France this afternoon gives Ireland plenty to play for against Belgium on Saturday.

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When considering the entire contest, Ireland’s performance was frustratingly uneven, but in the in moments they found rhythm, the Boys in Green were fantastic.

As the first half came to an end, Ireland could lament not being at least two goals in front.  Jeff Hendrick cracked the upright, went close on a number of other occasions, while there was a slew of other chances that went begging.

Eight minutes after the restart, Wes Hoolahan broke the deadlock in the most memorable manner. Seamus Coleman cut inside from the right and crossed invitingly, and the Norwich man struck the sweetest of half volleys, on his weaker foot no less.

Talking to RTÉ after the game, Hoolahan said he was delighted to find the net on such an occasion, while momentarily lamenting Ireland's failure to protect their the lead.

“Yeah, of course, it’s up there. To get a goal for Ireland in the Euros is a great achievement. Fair play to the boys out there, they were magnificent out there. It’s disappointing not to get the three points but we’ll take a point,” he said.

Hoolahan noted Ireland’s profligacy in front of goal in the opening period and the collective lapse in concentration following his goal. After sustained pressure, Ciaran Clark’s own goal was of little surprise.

However, the midfielder claimed that Ireland would quickly turn their attention to the talent laden Belgian outfit they face in Bordeaux this weekend. Belgium meet Italy later on this evening.

“We started well and created a lot of chances; Jeff (Hendrick) off the crossbar, Longy nearly got a chance and O’Shea nearly off the back stick.

“In the first half we were excellent and at the start of the second half we were excellent as well. Unfortunately in the last 20 minutes we let it get away from us. The boys should be proud of themselves – they put in a great performance.

“It’s a great point in the end, and we’ll look forward to Belgium, but we’ll look at it tonight and see how it goes.”

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