Friday 21 October 2016

Relief the overriding emotion after Ireland's very kind World Cup draw

Published 25/07/2015 | 19:03

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill
Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill

It might be dangerous to be overly optimistic about Ireland’s chances of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup, but fans are definitely more confident after this evening’s relatively kind draw.

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Ireland were put in Group D along with Wales, Austria, Serbia, Moldova and Georgia. Luckily for Martin O'Neill's men, Wales were the top side drawn in their group. While Chris Coleman’s side are on course for Euro 2016 qualification, they will be seen as an easier touch than the likes of Germany or Spain.

Former Ireland manager Brian Kerr certainly thought so anyway. Speaking on RTÉ after the draw, the Dubliner, if not bullish, was certainly quietly confident.

“On my wish-list if I was a manager, I’d say Wales were the team you wanted from pot A,” Kerr said.

“They are doing well at the moment but they haven’t gotten to a World Cup since 1958.”

Former Republic of Ireland international Clinton Morrison said: "It's a difficult group. I knew we'd get one of the home nations.

"It's a difficult group. It was always going to be difficult....we played Georgia and claimed a narrow win. Those kind of places are hard to go.

"Hopefully by the time they (the matches) come around, we'll be ready.

"He'll (manager Martin O'Neill) be very happy. There are a lot of harder teams they could have got, but Wales will be favourite.

"The Irish fans will be happy with that and the Irish will be looking at ways to stop Aaron Ramsey."

A lot of journalists also tweeted out their delight at the draw, although not all of them shared the same enthusiasm about Ireland’s qualification hopes.

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