Not for the first time in his career, Eamon Dunphy divided opinion on the RTE football panel last night with John Giles suggesting his colleague was getting "carried away" after the defeat of Georgia.
rior to the match, the panel were predicting a cagey encounter, one Liam Brady said could define Martin O'Neill's tenure. While Dunphy had hoped for a narrow win, he didn't rule out a draw, while Giles was fearful that a 0-0 result in the European qualifier might be the best we could muster.
A goal from Jon Walters with 21 minutes remaining was enough to separate the sides and coupled with Germany's defeat of Scotland, the Boys in Green currently sit in third position, four points adrift of leaders Germany and two behind Poland. With two games left in Group D, they now have a four-point cushion over Scotland for the race for third and a place in the play-offs.
Despite his reservations prior to kick-off, Dunphy was more bullish afterwards on our chances in our next game, a daunting home fixture against Germany. The world champions, who defeated us 6-1 the last time they travelled to Dublin, are not the side they once were according to the outspoken pundit.
"We need to stop talking ourselves down," he said.
"I think we can beat Germany when they come here. I think the German team is poor. They have players who can’t get in Premier League teams.
[Emre] "Can? Well any Liverpool supporter will know he's okay, but no better than that. A lot of their best players have retired. We have to believe that we can beat them when they come.
"I think we can get a result in Poland if we need it."
Host Darragh Maloney asked Giles if he agreed with Dunphy's assertion.
"I wouldn't get carried away, Darragh," he responded. "Things looked very black a while ago and nobody gave us a chance."
Dunphy however refused to back down and reminded his colleague that his view wasn't a knee-jerk reaction to the victory over Georgia.
"I'm sorry John, but I said in the studio in June that I thought we could qualify. I never believed we couldn't qualify.
"Are you saying we wave the white flag now for Germany?
"It's possible we could beat them," the former Ireland international and manager responded, "but I think he's [Dunphy] getting carried away to be honest. We have a lot to do yet.
John Giles felt the introduction of Shane Long for Robbie Keane at half time was crucial, and also marvelled at just how dramatically Ireland's fortunes have improved in the last few days.
"Long made a difference in coming on with a bit of pace up front," Giles said.
"We well deserved to win the match. The weekend has been absolutely brilliant for the Irish team. It couldn’t have gone better and they deserved to win tonight.
"They [Georgia] had no conviction to win the match," he continued.
"They were just hoping to get a 0-0 draw."