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Saturday 21 October 2017

Randolph: Play-off draw holds no fear for this Irish team

Darren Randolph. Photo: Sportsfile
Darren Randolph. Photo: Sportsfile

Ireland will be a match for anyone in the play-offs for the World Cup finals next month, Darren Randolph believes.

The Middlesbrough keeper kept a clean sheet for the second game in a row with Monday’s 1-0 win away to Wales, the victory there sending Ireland through to the play-off round where they will face the likes of Italy, Portugal or Croatia.

Randolph made his full competitive debut in the play-off defeat of Bosnia two years ago and he’s confident that Ireland can deliver again.

“We’re not seeded so it’s going to be a tough draw no matter what. I will just sit back and see who we get and we go again next month,” Randolph said.

“I am just happy we got through, we had a great start to the group, it turned into a bit of a struggle towards the end and we needed to rely on other teams to do us a favour.

“We knew we had to win the last two games to keep it in our own hands so I won’t be picky about who we get next or if we are home or away,” he added, stressing that Ireland’s experience in big games will be an asset in the tests to come next month.

“Once you keep things tight and take a chance when you get it, you are always going to be a danger or a threat to big teams. So I don’t think we have anything to fear, it’s 180 minutes and we will see how we do,” he said.

Randolph was not over-worked in the Wales win, though he understands the importance of his position as it was a defensive lapse by Wales - Wayne Hennessy’s pass was messed up by Ben Davies and then Ashley Williams - which created the opening for Jeff Hendrick’s assist.

“The goal we scored wasn’t in the game plan, we did have a game plan of our own but it wasn’t a case of waiting for them to make a mistake, it just happened that one of their players messed up and we were able to capitalise on it, we got a goal in front and held on,” said the Bray native.

“At international level you don’t get many games with loads of chances, Monday was a bit like that and we knew it’d be like that. We knew if we got one chance, we’d need to take it. And we did.”

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