'There were some real heroes out there. A great night for Irish soccer' - Emotional Dunphy reacts to Irish win
RTE football pundit Eamon Dunphy has said that Ireland showed some great courage in their 1-0 win over Wales in Cardiff on Monday.
The win sees Ireland finish second in Group D meaning that Ireland will advance to the UEFA World Cup play-offs where they will draw one of the seven other second placed teams from the qualifiers.
Dunphy said that it was a wonderful night for Irish soccer and that Martin O'Neill was vindicated after omitting Wes Hoolahan from the starting team.
"There were some heroes tonight," said Dunphy on RTE's post-match show.
"James McClean of course, brilliant goal with his wrong foot. Harry Arter with a beautiful dummy.
"Others that have to be mentioned, Shane Duffy as Jim [Beglin] rightfully said was the man of the match. He led the defence, he led the team and I think the goalkeeper Darren Randolph was superb.
"He was composed, made a couple of great saves. Meyler was outstanding. It was just a great night, and how often have our players performed heroically when all the odds were against them?
"I just feel it is a wonderful night for soccer and it's a form of vindication for Martin O'Neill in particular.
"He would have been getting some welly in this studio from me about the Wes Hoolahan thing but there's one thing that's more admirable than any other quality and it's courage... and we had it."
Former Ireland captain Liam Brady said that West Brom winger James McClean deserved his match-winning goal and that goalkeeper Darren Randolph was one of Ireland's standout performers on the evening.
"I said O'Neill would be absolutely right if he pulled it off and he was," said Brady.
"His tactics worked a treat. It was rough stuff, we got stuck in, we roughed them up. You could tell at half-time they'd run out of ideas. We weren't really in trouble at any time towards the end of that first-half.
"And as Eamon described some of the performances they were absolutely heroic. Great defending, when they did breach our defence the goalkeeper was brilliant.
"McClean deserved it and Martin O'Neill was absolutely correct."
Fellow pundit Richie Sadlier that it was fiar to question the aesthetic qualities of Ireland's performance but that you could not question the players' commitment.
"We said before if they could marry up the intensity and the physicality and all those aspects, which we knew they would come into this game in spades with," said Sadlier.
"But there was moments of composure and real quality. Martin O'Neill said in the build up that we need to be clinical in front of goal when the chances came. We only had one chance in the second-half and it was superbly taken by James McClean.
"Then the team had to collectively defend and they did so brilliantly. You can say what you like about the tactics and how good it is to watch and how entertaining it is, but you can't question the commitment of these players."
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