Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill has said his players need to look no further than team captain Seamus Coleman if they need an incentive to qualify for next summer’s World Cup.
Ireland have had to make-do without the Killybegs man since he sustained an horrific leg injury in their qualifier against Wales last March.
The Everton defender is on the road to recovery and joined up with the Irish squad in Dublin this week ahead of Tuesday night’s game against Serbia in Group D.
And after watching his team go down to a costly 1-0 defeat which leaves Ireland now third in the group behind Serbia and Wales, Martin O’Neill said he’d dearly love the team to qualify for Russia - if only for Coleman.
“I’m disappointed for the team,” O’Neill said.
“And I’ll tell you who I’m really disappointed for and he didn’t even play tonight. That’s our captain of the side, Seamus Coleman.
“I think if the players, who love him to death anyway, if there’s anything that can keep you going, it would be for Coleman to make it to the World Cup.”
The defender will be back in Donegal on Friday week where he will be special guest at a fundraiser being organised by St. Catherine’s FC. ‘An Evening with Seamus Coleman’ takes place in the Blue Haven, Kilcar.
Curtis with U-21s
Meanwhile St. Johnston's Ronan Curtis played the full 90 minutes as the Republic of Ireland U-21s won 3-1 in Azerbaijan on Tuesday in their Euro Qualifier.