Martin O’Neill and Seamus Coleman hail Ireland’s rugby heroes

By Liam Mackey

Martin O’Neill and Seamus Coleman were only too happy to reveal how, on Saturday evening, the boys in green in Aarhus had been brought to their feet by the boys in green back in the Aviva.

Hailing the Irish rugby team’s vanquishing of the All Blacks on Saturday, a game that he and his players watched on TV at their hotel, here in Denmark’s second city, O’Neill said: “I thought they were fantastic and the roars of the lads who were watching it was really terrific, every one of them cheering them on.

“When the big boy, the big New Zealand lad, dropped the ball in the last minute, the boys were all up here.

“It was a fantastic win and it sets them up nicely for the World Cup.

“A lot of things can happen, of course, in that time — they might lose a couple of players — but their bench is very strong and, from what I know about the game, it’s the strongest Irish side that I have known.”

Said skipper, Seamus Coleman: “It was a great night. We all sat down to watch it, and to beat the All Blacks was amazing. We should be very proud. It was a great night for the country.”

Asked if his own Irish side can take some inspiration from the rugby, for tonight’s tough test against Denmark, Coleman replied: “Look, it’s two different sports, but, on Saturday night, we were massively inspired. They were wearing that green Ireland jersey and when they are wearing that, we are all together.

“But we have a job to do now. We have to put in a big performance for ourselves, but, as the manager says, we have had some big nights ourselves and we are looking forward to getting back to those big nights.”

For his part, O’Neill — a former Northern Ireland captain — couldn’t let the opportunity pass without making one obvious observation about the rugby heroes. “It’s also an all-Ireland team, isn’t it?” he noted, before adding with a smile, “we might take a couple of the players from the North for tonight.”.

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