Wednesday 16 August 2017

Robbie Brady: I might have to give my award to Jon Walters

Republic of Ireland's Jonathan Walters and Robbie Brady embrace after the final whistle.
Republic of Ireland's Jonathan Walters and Robbie Brady embrace after the final whistle.
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Ireland's RTE man-of-match Robbie Brady revealed how he and goal-scoring hero Jon Walters had discussed the move that led to the second goal prior to the game.

Brady's deliveries from set-pieces had been inconsistent throughout the game but he provided an inch perfect cross that Walters duly finished.

"I told him before the game to make sure he was around that area and he stuck with it," a beaming Brady said afterwards.

"He persisted with me. I got one right in the end and he put it away. Unbelievable."

Walters' brace sealed Ireland's ticket to France and Brady admitted that he might have to pass on his man-of-the-match award to the Stoke forward.

Brady has impressed throughout Ireland's qualifying campaign and despite being regularly shifted from left back to left wing, the 23-year old certainly came of age on the international stage in recent months.

"I did all right. I don't think my set pieces were on point throughout the game," he acknowledged.

"I think I might have to give this (man-of-the-match award) to Jonny Walters. I thought he was outstanding but to take some credit not only from this game but throughout the group is a major credit for me.

"Words can't describe how I'm feeling now and the rest of the lads. Growing up you live for these type of days.

"I've seen all them important games over the years and to be a part of it, to help the team and the country get to where we want to be in a major tournament is beyond belief for me. I'm just so proud of everyone involved. Bring on France!"

Brady also hailed the team spirit within the Ireland squad and singled out Jeff Hendrick, a player he has grown up playing alongside through the Ireland ranks, for praise after another excellent performance.

"I only spoke about it a couple of days ago, about being with Jeff from day one really when we started kicking a ball," Brady reflected.

Unbelievable

"To be able to share this moment is unbelievable. He's been a great player for us all through the tournament, so all credit to him.

"Everyone seems to get on. There's no bad egg. Everyone's best mates, on and off the field. It's a great atmosphere. Like I said I'm just proud of everyone involved.

Martin O'Neill agreed with Brady's sentiments that Walters perhaps deserved the accolade but nevertheless, he maintained that he was immensely proud of all of his players as well as the supporters who turned the Aviva Stadium into an intimidating place for Bosnia to come and play.

"There have been a number of fantastic performances and fantastic performers as well and I think Walters has topped the lot. I think he's just been sensational," O'Neill said.

"It is very special. Naturally I can't really take it all in at this moment. I'm delighted for the nation, delighted for the players.

"The fans turned out in great numbers. They were magnificent tonight. They kept us going.

"The last 15 minutes were a long time in the game but we saw it through and we deserved to go to France. It's really great. Mostly I'm delighted for the players. They have been absolutely fantastic, and I couldn't be more pleased.

"If they hold me in any sort of regard, it's minuscule by comparison to the esteem I hold them in. They've been fantastic."

Irish Independent

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