Saturday 3 December 2016

'The biggest excitement took place in Tbilisi' – RTE panel pore over Gibraltar victory

Published 04/09/2015 | 22:25

Robbie Keane celebrates at the end of the game with Jonathan Walters.
Robbie Keane celebrates at the end of the game with Jonathan Walters.

There was an unusually positive atmosphere among the RTÉ panel immediately after Ireland’s 4-0 win over Gibraltar in tonight’s Euro 2016 qualifier, but most of the renewed enthusiasm had nothing to do with the Irish performance.

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Georgia’s 1-0 win over Scotland earlier in the evening meant an Irish victory would put Martin O’Neill’s men back into the playoff spot and they duly held up their end of the bargain.

The panel reflected on how exciting it was to see the Georgian’s hold on against Gordon Strachan’s men.

“A very positive day in the campaign – mainly because of the Georgia win,” Richie Sadlier said after Ireland’s victory.

“The biggest excitement took place in Tbilisi for me,” concurred Liam Brady.

“It gives us a great chance of qualifying. When we only took one point against Scotland I feared our chance had gone.”

4 September 2015; Robbie Keane, Republic of Ireland, celebrates after scoring his side's second goal. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Gibraltar v Republic of Ireland. Est?dio Algarve, Faro, Portugal. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
4 September 2015; Robbie Keane, Republic of Ireland, celebrates after scoring his side's second goal. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Gibraltar v Republic of Ireland. Est?dio Algarve, Faro, Portugal. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
4 September 2015; Robbie Keane, Republic of Ireland, celebrates after scoring his side's second goal. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Gibraltar v Republic of Ireland. Est?dio Algarve, Faro, Portugal. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
4 September 2015; Robbie Keane, left, Republic of Ireland, celebrates after scoring his side's second goal with team-mate's Jonathan Walters and Jeff Hendrick, right. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Gibraltar v Republic of Ireland. Est?dio Algarve, Faro, Portugal. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
Jonathan Walters has a goal disallowed, for offside, in the first half.
Jonathan Walters in action against Erin Barnett of Gibraltar.
Republic of Ireland supporters before the game in Faro, Portugal.
4 September 2015; Wes Hoolahan, Republic of Ireland, in action against Lee Casciaro, Gibraltar. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Gibraltar v Republic of Ireland. Est?dio Algarve, Faro, Portugal. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
4 September 2015; The Republic of Ireland team, back row, from left to right, James McCarthy, Jonathan Walters, John O'Shea, Cyrus Christie, Glenn Whelan and Ciaran Clark. Front row, from left to right, Wes Hoolahan, Robbie Brady, Robbie Keane, Shay Given and Jeff Hendrick. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Gibraltar v Republic of Ireland. Est?dio Algarve, Faro, Portugal. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
4 September 2015; Republic of Ireland supporters, from left, Owen Daly, Mark Doyle and Karl Harte, all from Cork City, before the game. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Gibraltar v Republic of Ireland. Est?dio Algarve, Faro, Portugal. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

Read more: Ireland player ratings - Cyrus Christie pick of the bunch in comfortable Irish victory

But when the discussion shifted to the Irish performance and their prospects against Georgia, Sadlier and Brady were considerably more measured.

Despite the 4-0 scoreline, Ireland weren’t as effective in possession as they could have been in Faro, with an inability to hold onto the ball for sustained periods in the final third a point picked up on by Sadlier in the post-match discussion.

“For large spells, particularly in the second half, we were 3-0 up against a team of woeful quality and we were still a little one-dimensional.”

Brady certainly didn’t agree with host Darragh Maloney’s contention that Ireland were in a no-win situation, while also expressing caution ahead of the visit of Georgia on Monday.

“If you beat a team 10-0 you know you played really well,” Brady said.

Read more: Flat atmosphere and cold hot dogs aside, Euro 2016 is a possibility again

“If you beat a team like that 4-0, I think it is an average performance, which is what we had tonight.”

“Am I going into Monday night thinking it is a definite win?” Brady continued. “No because I don’t have confidence in the team. I don’t think we are that good.”

Sadlier also didn’t want to get lured into a false sense of security ahead of the Georgia game.

“If I’m trying to think of one performance in this campaign where I can say, ‘If we repeat that we will win’, I can’t,” Sadlier concluded.

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