THE REPUBLIC OF IRELAND were roared over the line at a vibrant Aviva Stadium in Dublin last night to book their spot at Euro 2016 in France next summer.
Following a 1-1 draw against Bosnia & Herzegovina on Friday night at the foggy Bilino Polje in Zenica, Martin O’Neill’s side were 2-0 winners in Dublin in the return leg last night with Jonathan Walters scoring a goal in either half to seal a 3-1 aggregate win.
Here’s the scenes at the final whistle, courtesy of RTE Soccer’s facebook
Walters, who was suspended for the first leg, put in an excellent shift, scoring a 23rd minute penalty after Senad Lulic was penalised for handball. Then, the Stoke City striker added his second from close range 20 minutes from time.
Donegal was well represented with Ciaran Clark, James McCarthy and Seamus Coleman all playing their part in the victory.
Clark’s late grandmother Vera Clark was from Manorcunningham and his father Michael was brought up in Ballyare, while Glasgow-born McCarthy qualifies for Ireland through his late grandfather Paddy Coll from Doire na Mainsear, Annagry.
“You grow up wanting to be in these tournaments and now I can’t wait,” beamed right-back Coleman, who is a native of Killybegs.
“From day one, we’ve all believed we can get there. We have had a few difficult moments along the way but what a feeling now – I haven’t experienced anything like that playing for my country.
“In the changing room, when the manager spoke to us, it was an amazing feeling. When you are long gone and retired, these are the moments that you will remember.”
Coleman missed out on Euro 2012 when he was overlooked by then Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni ahead of the finals in Poland.
“I was so disappointed to miss out on the last one [tournament], although I have no complaints about not being there,” Coleman added.
“Hopefully I will be in the 23 when we go there [to Euro 2016]. It’s an amazing feeling.”
Here’s the celebratory scenes in the Ireland dressing room, courtesy of fai.ieTags: