The Republic of Ireland’s hopes of qualifying for the 2014 World cup in Brazil took a significant blow on Tuesday night, when they were forced to settle for a draw against Austria, following David Alaba’s last-gasp equaliser.
Seamus Coleman from Killybegs, had another solid 90 minutes for Ireland, and now appears to have nailed down the right back position in the team.
Austria capitalised on a defensive error to take the lead through Martin Harnik in the 11th minute. Ireland responded superbly, and a Jon Walters double enabled them to go into the half-time break 2-1 ahead.
However, Ireland could not replicate their first-half performance in the second period, and dropped deeper and deeper as the half progressed. Austria eventually levelled the match, when Bayern Munich’s Alaba fired past David Forde from the edge of the box.
After the match, a disappointed Coleman said: “Maybe we had the 2-1 lead and we were happy with that but they got us on the break. I don’t know, really, it was just one of those things; he took a strike from the edge of the box, it took a deflection and went in.”
“It’s really heartbreaking but that’s football unfortunately; the old cliché but we’ve got to pick ourselves up. . . we can’t afford any more mistakes in the group really, that’s the main thing now,” he added.
Ciaran Clark, whose father is originally from Milford, did not have his best game in an Irish shirt, after his heavy touch gifted the ball to the Austrians and led to their first goal.
Clark improved after the goal, but then picked up an injury and had to be replaced by Sean St Ledger in the 72nd minute.
Republic of Ireland’s next qualifier is against the Faroe Islands in June, and any slip up against the minnows will almost certainly end their World Cup Qualification hopes.