Buoyant Norwich City ace Wes Hoolahan savours Republic of Ireland’s World Cup success
- Credit: PA
Wes Hoolahan is returning to Norwich City buoyed by the perfect international break after inspiring the Republic of Ireland to a 3-1 weekend win in Moldova.
The Dubliner was named man-of the-match after setting up Shane Long for an early opener and then sparked the move that led to James McLean sealing a win which moved Martin O'Neill's squad joint top of their World Cup qualifying group.
Robbie Brady missed the trip to Moldova after suffering concussion in last week's hard-fought 1-0 home victory against Georgia that built on a battling point in Serbia.
'You see Wales drawing with Georgia (on Sunday) who are difficult opponents,' said Hoolahan. 'They're hard to break down so six points over the last two games is great for us. You just want to go out there and do the best you can and hopefully get the three points and I was lucky enough to play my part.
'Obviously when they drew level just before half-time, we came in and had a little chat, and the manager was saying it wasn't good enough and then we came out again and got two great goals from James. Before they got the equaliser we could have been two or three up because we created a lot but didn't finish the chances. It was a tight pitch and Moldova were closing down the space very well but we knew they'd tire in the last 20 minutes and that's when we started getting on top and creating a lot of chances.'
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Hoolahan would love to savour another successful campaign after playing a major role in his country's run to the knock-out stages of Euro 2016 in France. The 34-year-old scored against Sweden in the group phase and picked out club mate Brady to score the vital winner against Italy that earned the Irish a last-16 game against the hosts.
'The experience we had in France and getting out of the group stage and doing so well, we are looking forward to hopefully getting out of this group, which is a tough group, and qualifying for the World Cup,' he said. 'To run out there in the green is brilliant and to get involved in the first goal. But the most important thing is the three points. The last two games, six points is a good tally.
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'Moldova is a difficult place to come, but we managed to get the three points, which is the most important thing.'