Republic of Ireland are raring to go says Norwich City’s Robbie Brady
PUBLISHED: 17:00 16 November 2015 | UPDATED: 17:00 16 November 2015
Robbie Brady is having the time of his life after firing the Republic of Ireland to within touching distance of a dream trip to the Euro 2016 finals.
The Norwich Vity star’s 82nd-minute strike in Zenica looked to have handed Martin O’Neill’s men a precious first-leg victory over Bosnia-Herzegovina and a significant advantage to take into tonight’s decider at the Aviva Stadium.
Edin Dzeko took the gloss off Brady’s big moment when he levelled just three minutes later, but the away goal with which Ireland emerged from their trip to the raucous Bilino Polje Stadium could yet prove decisive.
The 23-year-old said: “I can’t wait. These games are the best games I have ever experienced and to qualify for the finals would be a dream of all of ours and an opportunity that we can’t let slide. “We’re all raring to go. Monday night, we’ll be giving it our all to make sure we do it for everyone involved.”
Martin O’Neill has warned his players that relying on their away goal to secure a ticket to the finals would be “a recipe for disaster”.
Asked about his pride should his team complete the job, O’Neill said: “My pride in the side has been there from the start. I think the players have wanted to play.
“There was a feeling beforehand that some players just weren’t that bothered about playing for their country - I haven’t witnessed it and I haven’t experienced it in the two years that I’ve been here.
“Obviously, it would be terrific if we could do it, but I have to be very, very mindful of the fact that we are a long way away from doing that.
“We have to put things into perspective: Bosnia are capable of scoring, they could wipe that advantage, that away goal that we have within minutes of the game, and then suddenly they are on the front foot.
“If we think that we can keep them out for 90 minutes and camp ourselves just outside our own penalty area, that would be a recipe for disaster.
“We have to consider being really on the front foot, genuinely, and going and trying to win this game, and that’s it.
“If you’d thought that we’d have to win in the Aviva for the final time, you probably would have taken that.”
O’Neill will go into the game with Jonathan Walters available after suspension. John O’Shea, who was also banned for the first leg, and Shane Long trained in Abbotstown yesterday morning as they continue their respective recoveries from hamstring and foot injuries.
For the likes of 34-year-old O’Shea and skipper Robbie Keane, who is a year older, it could prove to be their final appearance in an Ireland shirt if they do not make the finals, but there will be no room for sentiment in the manager’s team selection.
O’Neill said: “That’s called tough luck, just tough luck. I’m not going to put players in because it might be their last international game.
“I’ll put them in hopefully on merit and hopefully the experience that they have garnered over the last 10 or 12 or 15 years could stand us in a bit of decent stead. That would be the reason.
“I think the motivation is there. If we are beaten here, it won’t be through lack of trying. We might lack a few things in our side, but a bit of strength of character I think is there.”