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Thursday 8 December 2016

'Boss had a go at half time' says goal hero

Ireland manager Martin O’Neill holds back James McClean as players clash during the World Cup Group D qualifier against Moldova.
Ireland manager Martin O’Neill holds back James McClean as players clash during the World Cup Group D qualifier against Moldova.

Another World Cup qualifier, another Irish win but another badly-needed half time talking to from Martin O'Neill, as James McClean revealed that the Irish boss had to tear into his players in the sanctuary of the dressing room yet again.

A poor display in the first 45 minutes at home to Georgia last week led to O'Neill, and we assume Roy Keane as well, informing his players over the modern equivalent of the half time orange that what they were doing was not good enough at this level.

It was more of the same in Chisinau last night, as Ireland and a previously demoralised but soon to be energised Moldova side were level at 1-1 at the break, Shane Long's early goal not built on by Ireland.

The boys in green came back to win 3-1 with those goals, two in the space of six minutes, from McClean but Ireland's match winning hero admitted that, yet again, the first half was simply not up to standard.

"The manager gave us another rollicking and right so and none of us had performed, even myself up until I had scored, I have to admit that," said McClean.

"But I am happy to chip in , help the team get a vital win and that's what it is, vital.

"It's a massive win. We have to earn the right to play. It was a tough night on a tight pitch but as I said after the Georgia game. we have to earn the right to play.

"We had scored early but we thought it was too easy , they got a goal just before half time and that goal was a wake-up call for us, we move on now to the next one," added the West Brom winger.

Wes Hoolahan also admitted that it was hard-earned but the table has a good shape to it,

"You look at Georgia drawing in Wales and Austria losing so the group looks good for us," said Hoolahan.

"Georgia are a hard side to play against so for us to get the six points from two games over the week is great.

"It was a tough night, they were closing down the space really well but we managed to get on top, we knew they would get tired in the last 20 minutes and that's when we started to create our chances.

"We came in at half time and had a chat, we knew we hadn't been good enough but got two great goals from James and got the win we needed, we got the points," added Hoolahan, who preferred to hand his man of the match award over to his captain. "Seamus Coleman was outstanding last night, he got two assists and played well, it's a great win," he added.

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