'I thought I would cause them problems' - Shane Long reacts to his greatest ever goal
Match-winner Shane Long has described the feeling of netting the Republic of Ireland’s only goal against Germany at Aviva Stadium as 'phenomenal'.
The Southampton striker was only on the pitch five minutes when he latched onto fellow substitute Darren Randolph’s huge clearance before blasting a fine effort past Manuel Neur.
Many an eyebrow was raised when Martin O’Neill’s team sheet showed that Ipswich’s Daryl Murphy had been selected to start ahead of Long, but the Tipperary native said he was more than ready when the manager called his name.
Speaking to RTÉ immediately after a heart-stopping 94 minutes, the elated Long could barely catch his breath, though was quick to thank Randolph for his assist.
“The gaffer sent me on, as you can see it was a big effort and we tried to frustrate them. I think when I came on there was some tired legs, and the gaffer said to me to test them in behind and put them under pressure," he said
“Thankfully when the ball came through to me, I finished it off. Darren did really well when he came in for Shay, and we were always confident when he would kick it long, and I thought myself and Johnny Walters would cause them problems when it came in and we did.
“It’s been amazing; to beat the world champions and go Poland with everything to play for, it’s nice to have it back in our own hands. To see the atmosphere here, it’s been amazing, but to get the winning goal is phenomenal,” he said.
Meanwhile, man of the match Wes Hoolahan lauded Ireland’s tireless defensive effort and, of course, Long’s composure for sealing the tie in the 70th minute.
The Norwich playmaker also looked forward to Sunday’s clash with Poland in Warsaw, particularly with the knowledge that Ireland have secured a playoff place regardless of the outcome.
“We knew it was going to be difficult today and we defended straight from the off, but we knew we’d get chances on the break. We were lucky enough that we did and Shane took it, and what a goal it was.
“At least we have a playoff; we’ll be resting up tonight for going there on Saturday to hopefully get the win and second place,” he said