Martin O'Neill is prepared for Euro play-offs

Martin O'Neill is prepared for Euro play-offs
Martin O'Neill at last night's match. Picture: Inpho

Manager Martin O’Neill has promised the Republic of Ireland will be ready for whatever is thrown at them as they prepare for the Euro 2016 play-offs.

O’Neill’s men will go into the hat for Sunday’s draw after losing their final qualifier in Poland 2-1 yesterday evening to finish third in Group D.

They are unlikely to be seeded and will be without suspended duo John O’Shea, who was sent off for two bookable offences at the Narodowy Stadium, and Jonathan Walters, who collected his third caution of the campaign, through suspension for next month’s first leg.

However, a bullish O’Neill, who saw defender Richard Keogh force a late save from Lukasz Fabianski, said: “Tonight was disappointing in the result but funnily enough for all of that, Richard heads the ball into the net with six or seven minutes left in the game and we’re in France. It’s that close.

“Poland, who are a very, very fine side, went down at every opportunity, as you would expect them to, to cut the game. The game was stop-start a lot of the match and in the second half, it was very much that case, so I will draw great solace and great determination from the players and their efforts.

“We are still there and whoever we play, we will be as ready as we possibly can be.”

Grzegorz Krychowiak handed Poland a 13th-minute lead with a sweetly-struck effort from distance, but Walters gave Ireland fresh hope from the penalty spot just three minutes later.

However, Robert Lewandowski’s powerful header – his 15th goal in six games - with three minutes of the first half remaining proved to be the difference between the teams on a night when striker Shane Long was carried from the field on a stretcher.

Poland boss Adam Nawalka was delighted to have guided his side to next summer’s finals in France after seeing them carry out his orders to perfection.

He said: “First of all, I have to say this was a very difficult game. From the very first minute until the final whistle, it was a fierce battle. But at the end of the day, we managed to qualify, which is why we are extremely pleased about that.

“We had a concrete plan, we knew how to execute it and we succeeded. I have to say that my players did an extremely great job today and this is their success.”

More in this Section

Champions League holders Liverpool suffer first-leg loss at Atletico MadridChampions League holders Liverpool suffer first-leg loss at Atletico Madrid

A rare experience for this Liverpool ties up second leg deliciouslyA rare experience for this Liverpool ties up second leg deliciously

‘Happy’ Kerr reveals talks with FAI's Roy Barrett‘Happy’ Kerr reveals talks with FAI's Roy Barrett

Road Bowling: Nagle edges Murphy in Josie Crean CupRoad Bowling: Nagle edges Murphy in Josie Crean Cup


Cooking in the MasterChef kitchen is just as scary as you’d imagine, writes Georgia Humphreys.Sweet 16 as Masterchef returns

Martin Hayes doesn’t like to stand still. The fiddle virtuoso from East Clare has made it a hallmark of his career to seek out creative ideas from beyond his musical tradition.Martin Hayes: Breaking new ground

Brian Hassett is from Blackrock in Cork, and has been involved in various aspects of music in multiple guises.A Question of Taste: Brian Hassett, Coughlan's Live

'Comics are not like regular books. They spark the intellect to expand the story and the message.'Drawn to reading: Using comics and illustrated stories to promote literacy in children

More From The Irish Examiner