NO MORE shadow-boxing but the real thing from now on, as John O'Shea insists that Ireland are ready to face Croatia in Poznan on Sunday.
“We know that no matter who we play we can cause them problems so we're looking forward to the challenge, against Croatia and against everyone in the group,” O'Shea said after last night's 0-0 draw in Hungary.
“All of the group games will be tough and Croatia is a real hard one as it's the first one up, they are such a good side but when the 90 minutes against us are up, Croatia will know that they've been in a real game.”
There were a few sidebars attached to last night's draw in Hungary. Ireland extended their unbeaten run to 14 games, Damien Duff went closer again to the 100-cap mark (he's now on 97), and Aiden McGeady is now one appearance away from the 50-cap landmark.
But simply playing in the match was a big deal for O'Shea, who needed to get 90 minutes under his belt to prove that the injury problems which hampered his build-up to the tournament were gone.
“I just wanted to get through the game,” O'Shea said. “The pitch was a bit suspect, after training on it the previous night, it had been firm but was then very soft after the heavy downpour.
“But I felt okay and I'm just looking forward to getting going in Poland. It was good for me to get 90 minutes under my belt but it was more important for everyone else to come through okay.”