Thursday 23 November 2017

Captain Meyler: 'It's the best night of my football life'

Captain David Meyler celebrates by kissing the Ireland badge following their victory in Wales. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Captain David Meyler celebrates by kissing the Ireland badge following their victory in Wales. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

David Meyler had no doubt about it. "This was the best night of my football life."

Flushed from the effort put in over the course of 98 tough minutes at Cardiff, Meyler was a picture of happiness as he surveyed the passport to a World Cup play-off place next month.

"I've had some great days with Hull, and I've played in the Premier League - but to be captain of my country, to come to Wales in a game in which is was win or bust and then to get the win!

"Well that makes it the best night of my football life."

Many of Meyler's family were in the huge Irish crowd and they roared him on in a physical encounter that Meyler clearly relished.

Never a shrinking violet, Meyler got stuck in and dished out plenty of punishment to the Welsh who thought they could run through the heart of the Irish midfield.

Ecstasy

He'll miss the first leg of the play-off, but Meyler is ready for two more 90-minutes of agony and, hopefully, ecstasy at the end.

"I'm young, but my heart can take it," the Corkman laughed. "Whoever we get next Tuesday is in for a battle in November. We won't give up on this."

For Cyrus Christie, it was another job well done at the back. "I think that's our seventh clean sheet of the campaign. We've gone to Serbia, to Austria, and now to Wales and we've got seven points out of nine. That says something about us.

"We'll always fight and though it was a bit harum-scarum at times, they didn't create many clear-cut chances," added the Middlesbrough right-back. "They were throwing balls forward but we were ok with that. Especially when the boss got Glenn Whelan on to sit in front of us and then Keith Long came on to make it three centre-halves. From there we were ok, they were not creating anything, and the one time they did, earlier in the match, Darren Randolph made a great save.

"We pride ourselves on being well-organised and concentrating well and that paid off for us tonight."

Jeff Hendrick added to the feel-good factor and hailed the team's character. "Unbelievable, unbelievable unreal," a delighted Hendrick said.

"The first half they had a lot of time on the ball and whenever we pressed them we thought they could give us something so we just gambled on it and James put it in the back of the net.

"It was brilliant. On his bad foot as well! He doesn't do that often.

"We knew it would be hard but when it comes down to one game, the spirit in this group, we can do anything. We've got to keep making special memories for the fans."

Irish Independent

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