Given made his first competitive start since the Euro 2012 finals on Sunday as a late Shane Long goal earned Ireland a 1-1 draw with Poland at the Aviva Stadium.
Last night the veteran goalkeeper was still on a high from the “special” occasion that took place 24 hours earlier — an event which vindicated his decision to come out of retirement.
“When I look back in 10, 20 years I don’t want to have any regrets,” he said. “Last night was special. It was a huge qualifier in Dublin, probably the best atmosphere there’s been at the Aviva so far. The Poles added to that — they had a great turn out from their fans as well and it was a relief at the end to get such a late goal.”
Sunday’s game was memorable for more than the finale as Martin O’Neill made seven changes from the team that lost to Scotland in November.
One of the more contentious calls was starting Given ahead of David Forde given the Millwall man has done little wrong in an Ireland jersey.
Given told Newstalk’s Off The Ball show last night that he’d only been told that he was starting 90 minutes before kick-off and said Forde and third choice goalkeeper Keiren Westwood were supportive.
“We spoke briefly, me and David. We are a tight group, the goalkeepers in general. Whoever gets the nod, the other goalkeepers will be supportive.
“Had David played last night I would have been the same. Same with Westwood. We are a close-knit group. I was delighted to get the nod.”
The biggest disappointment of the night for Given was Slawomir Peszko’s sweetly-struck 26th-minute goal.
While acknowledging the quality of the strike, the Aston Villa man felt Robbie Brady, Marc Wilson and he might all have done better.
“We had a couple of chances to clear it, I think Brady probably should have cleared it and Wilson maybe had a chance to clear it and it just seemed to break to the guy in the box. To be honest, it went past me in a blur. I might have been moving a slight bit forward as he hit it but it was quite a good finish.” Given added: “I’m probably my worst critic. If I had have been settled — we’re talking milliseconds here — then, possibly, I might have got something on it. But even then...”
Ultimately, however, Long’s late goal means Ireland can face Scotland in June with confidence.
“The nature of the late goal, we’ve got to take the positives from it. The encouraging thing is we really showed in the second half how good we can be. Hopefully we can take the second half performance into the Scottish game.”