Wednesday 16 October 2019

'I'm like Jon Walters, the son of an emigrant' - Passionate Eamon Dunphy on brilliant night for Irish football

Will Slattery

Will Slattery

After a fantastic night for Irish football, it was no surprise that Eamon Dunphy was a more than a little emotional on RTÉ.

The pundit sounded like he was close to tears after Ireland booked their place at Euro 2016 following a comprehensive 2-0 win over Bosnia Herzegovina.

"Yes, I am," Dunphy said when asked by Darragh Maloney whether he was emotional.

"I'm like Jon Walters, the son of an emigrant. What a phenomenal soccer player.

"A great night for Irish soccer. A great night for the players and a great night for Irish fans. We've had a lot of pain but we are going to the festival of football now."

There were great performances throughout the Irish side, particularly from two-goal hero Jon Walters and Robbie Brady. Brady was given the Man of the Match award and his namesake on the RTÉ panel said the Norwich City midfielder and the Stoke attacker were 'the two main men from this campaign'.

Liam Brady also praised the spirit and resolve showed by Martin O'Neill to overcome Bosnia over two legs.

"Biggest home game ever, absolutely," Brady said.

"To play in a major finals was on the line. We were too tough for Bosnia. They couldn't break us down.

"It was the character of the team all through this qualifying stage. We got a lot of last minute goals, that shows character."

Ireland didn't always keep the ball well, but the defensive triangle of goalkeeper Darren Randolph, Ciaran Clark and Richard Keogh performed solidly for the second game in succession.

Like Brady, John Giles also praised the side's battling qualities.

"Whatever criticism we have had over the years, you could never find them guilty of not giving 100%," Giles said.

"I think that is what has got them through more than anything else to the Euros."

But there was one word of caution from the panel. Ireland's last participation in the European Championship's saw Giovanni Trapattoni's men completely humiliated and Dunphy prayed that there wouldn't be a repeat this summer.

"Putting back on my pundit's hat, we need to go to the European Championships now and acquit ourselves well and do justice to the fans," Dunphy said.

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