The Ireland players celebrate James McClean's goal on Monday night. (Photo: Independent.ie).
Seamus Coleman’s dreams of captaining Ireland in a World Cup are back on track following the Republic of Ireland’s fantastic victory over Wales in Cardiff on Monday night.
James McClean’s goal just before the hour helped Ireland to a 1-0 win to seal a second place finish in the group.
Another Derry man, Shane Duffy, whose father Brian is from Letterkenny, had an outstanding game at centre half and was rightly named man-of-the-match.
The result means Serbia, the group winners, qualify for Russia 2018 while Ireland are in the play-offs in November.
It’s a remarkable turn-around for Ireland who needed to win their last two games against Moldova and Wales, and hope results in other groups went their way, to ensure qualification for the play-offs.
Last March, Ireland and Wales played out a 0-0 draw in Dublin in a game which saw Seamus Colman suffer an horrific injury. The Killybegs man is well on the road to recovery and was very much part of the Ireland squad for this week’s two games. He celebrated with the players on the pitch after the game in Cardiff in front of the travelling fans.
Speaking ahead of the game, Ireland manager Martin O’Neill suggested the players would love to get to Russia for Coleman.
“Certainly, the view among the players, is that if Russia is available to us, then he would very much be in the forefront of our thoughts. He has been a class player, a world class player and he has been essential for us,” he said.
“We have missed him, but he is making a good recovery now and it would be nice for him to be able to go there. When he is fit, he will get back to his best form with club and country and it will be nice for him to have something to look forward to at international level.”