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Saturday 10 December 2016

Duffy hails a 'typical Irish performance'

Shane Duffy (centre) Picture: Sportsfile
Shane Duffy (centre) Picture: Sportsfile

For centre-half Shane Duffy, last Saturday's win over Austria was a very satisfying experience.

A clean sheet and three points tell only half the story. Duffy insists his Ireland team-mates had to call on all of their experience to protect the one-goal advantage.

"We had to dig deep. It was a typical away game, a typical Irish performance away from home," the Derryman said.

"It was actually enjoyable too, it was non-stop, constant against good players.

"They were always going to get a sniff of a chance in the second half and it was up to us to ensure it would only be a sniff, not a clear-cut opportunity," said the Blackburn defender.

"I thought we at the back dealt with it all reasonably well. We're a good unit and the manager has got us drilled.

"Everyone knows where they have to be and we've got quality players up the field that can create a bit of magic and it was a good away performance."

An away performance that gives Ireland the chance of doing something really special in the Aviva Stadium next year.

"That's what we're aiming for. Obviously if we fall short it's the play-offs. That's where we want to be - one of the top two spots," said Duffy.

"It's a very, very difficult group and anyone can beat anyone. The next couple of fixtures (Wales and Austria at home) are so important to see who tops the group.

Famous

"This has been a good start but that's all it is."

Meanwhile, captain Seamus Coleman knows exactly where his team won their famous victory last Saturday night - on the training grounds and in the stadia of France last summer.

"Euro 2016 really brought this group of lads together," insists the pride of Killybegs in Donegal.

"You saw it from Jonny Walters in Vienna. He's going to keep going until the very end and that's what we're all about.

"We're not maybe as talented as other teams but one thing we've got is heart and we'll never give up."

It's that sort of determination that must make Ireland an awful opponent for any international opposition.

In an era when players at Europe's finest clubs often treat this level of football as a nuisance, coming up against an Irish side with that pride and commitment in the green shirts they wear is a nightmare.

Coleman and Walters were indeed heroic, as was James McClean and Jeff Hendrick who both got through an immense amount of work by the side of the Danube.

"It is a massive result, without a doubt," added Coleman.

"You'd never play for a point but if you came away with a draw you wouldn't be disappointed so to win is huge."

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