Martin O'Neill at Sunday's press conference

O'Neill wants determined Ireland to win for captain and country
Published: October 08, 2017

From Macdara Ferris in Cardiff


Martin O’Neill’s Republic of Ireland team has pulled off some of their best results when they have had their backs to the wall – like against Germany at home or going up against Italy in the Euros. It is no different in Cardiff on Monday evening when Ireland know it is win or bust.


Thanks to Scotland’s standard capitulation on Sunday evening, Ireland know that a victory will secure a play-off position. Anything less than that though and Ireland won’t be progressing any further.


O’Neill is hoping that the recent memories of those matches will help his team in the clash in Cardiff against Wales. In addition they are looking to ensure their injured captain Seamus Coleman has a World Cup to play in when he gets back on the pitch.


“The most important thing is to win the game but we have 90 minutes to get a goal,” said O’Neill when he spoke to the media on the eve of the game in the Cardiff City Stadium.


"Our approach will be similar to Italy in Lille, where we knew before the game that a win was all that mattered for us. I thought we played with a lot of verve and determination, and closed Italy down very quickly - that will be necessary tomorrow night.


“We created chances and eventually took one with five minutes to go. It is not that far back in the memory so the players can consider it when they approach this game.


“You can be too patient but at the same time we know at the end of the 90 minutes that we've got to find ourselves in front. I think we're capable of doing that."


If the Lille result and performance might be on the player’s minds, there is also the case of their captain Seamus Coleman. The Everton player, who suffered that awful leg break when the sides last met, is with the squad and watched them train after O’Neill’s press conference.


O’Neill didn’t agree with the assessment that Ireland were out for revenge over that horror tackle on their skipper but his team want to have Coleman captain the team at Russia 2018.


"I don't know about revenge, but certainly I think the view among the players is that if Russia was available to us and we could make it there, I would think Seamus would be very much at the forefronts of our minds.


"He is a world-class player and he's been essential for us. We have missed him and it would be nice to go there.


"He is making a good recovery now, but I think that when he's ready, he will get back to the form he showed, both for club and country. It would be nice if by the time he is back that he has got something to cheer on at the international level."


Another injured world class player watching his team train on Sunday in Cardiff was Real Madrid player Gareth Bale.


"He is a top-class player and he will be missed by Wales. I think it would be the same if Messi was missing for Argentina. Bale is a world-class player and he definitely will be missed by Wales.


“Seamus is absent for us as well. He is a top class player. We've had our absentees in the past ourselves and we' have had to cope, and Wales have had to cope without Gareth Bale before."


Read our match preview here and the thoughts of Chris Coleman here. will be covering the Group D clash between Wales and the Republic of Ireland live from Cardiff. Our reporter Macdara Ferris will be in the Cardiff City Stadium to take you through the match build-up, including both pre-match press conferences on Sunday, and the game itself on Monday evening. 



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Macdara Ferris

Macdara Ferris is a contributor since 2007 to Hoops Scene (Shamrock Rovers' match day programme) and the co-author of Tallaght Time: Shamrock Rovers 2009 to 2012. He still believes that one day he will see Rovers win the FAI Cup. The first international game he attended was Luxembourg being dispatched 2-1 at Lansdowne Road by Jack Charlton's Ireland team.

He has been a writer with since 2012 covering the League of Ireland, the Irish National team and a few Champions League finals. He has also been known to pop up in far flung places like Ballybofey, Belfast, Berlin and Brazil to report for extratime.

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