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Saturday 10 December 2016

O'Neill: 'We must step up'

Ireland boss to shuffle his pack for Chisinau tie as Brady is ruled out

Ireland manager Martin O’Neill
Ireland manager Martin O’Neill

Martin O'Neill landed in Moldova without key man Robbie Brady who is recovering after a nasty concussion sustained against Georgia and could not travel.

And O'Neill has underlined the fact that Brady's absence, along with suspended Jeff Hendrick, once again proves the point that he can take nothing for granted against smaller Group D nations.

Confirmation of Brady's withdrawal came late in the day and after the team arrived in Chisinau along with some good news reporting that Shane Long has felt no reaction after limping away from the Georgia game and is fit for selection. O'Neill accepts that he needs a big lift in performance levels from Thursday night at the Aviva against Moldova.

"I think we need everyone to step up to the mark. the performance in the first half tonight shows we need everybody at it. We can't afford to carry anybody," he said.

"We have to be driving at it. There's nothing wrong with that. Better teams than us have to be driving at it. We can't allow 15 or 20 minutes to disappear in a game and be second best," added the Ireland boss.

"Whatever the team lacks, we've shown over the last two years they keep going. We drive on. They don't give in, in that sense and don't give up on what might be a difficult cause."

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