Boys in Green on the march to Euros after epic night at Aviva
“The hard work starts next summer.” So said Jon Walters, who scored the two goals that saw the Boys in Green sail through to Euro 2016.
The pitch was cleared and the post-match interviews were over but the hardcore Green Army were still singing in mad joy, swinging their scarves and beating their bodhráns.
There was no turning off that tap of sheer joy and ecstasy.
After the final whistle, the home side changed into another green jersey for their lap of honour – one that read: ‘Bring on France 2016’.
There was no better place to be than right here at the Aviva stadium with a smile on every single face. “It’s unbelievable,” Walters said. “My family up there in the box, my wife and children.
“It’s been a long, hard two years but we got there. That was the plan from the start.
“Every single player has played a part in this.”
In the changing rooms later the fun really kicked off – and Walters couldn’t resist the chance of grabbing a selfie with a special VIP.
“Not one for selfies after games but you can’t miss one with the Preident Michael D Higgins... have a bit of that!”, he tweeted.
The champagne was flowing and FAI chief executive John Delaney was quickly drenched in bubbly by Wes Hoolahan.
“We hung in there with disappointments along the way, including Scotland. Players showed great fighting spirit,” said Roy Keane.
“We’re always looking for a bit more quality and retaining the ball a little better, but I suppose that’s the history of Irish football.
“Without desire and hunger you are going to come up short. At least we have that. There’s parts of the game we’d like a bit more quality, but the players deserve massive credit.
“We’ve always found that difficult, but the fight and determination we showed under lots of pressure. We hung in and credit to the players, they did the country proud.”
Roy was particulay proud of Walters’ performance
“He’s a great example to the other players. The fact he got the two goals is a great bonus for him.
“The squad has been outstanding. I know Jon is going to grab the headlines and rightly so, the hardest part of football is putting the ball in the back of the net and he’s done that, but he’s had the support behind.
“We’ve been down this road before. As long as we’re not in Saipan we’re okay.
“We’ll reflect on it over the next few days. We obviously don’t want to go over there just to make up the numbers. We’ll go over there to do the country proud.”