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Saturday 16 December 2017

McClean: This will mean nothing if we don't win play-off

Republic of Ireland’s James McClean celebrates with David Meyler after the match. Photo: Reuters
Republic of Ireland’s James McClean celebrates with David Meyler after the match. Photo: Reuters

Ireland match-winner James McClean hailed his winner in Wales as the best moment of his career, as he s ounded the rallying cry ahead of next month's play-offs.

A potentially daunting two-leg tie against Italy or Portugal may now lie in wait for Martin O'Neill's Ireland heroes, yet McClean is ready to go to war again after his magical strike in Cardiff.

"This will mean nothing if we don't go on and win the play-off," declared the Ireland talisman.

"We will take whoever we get and have a real go and after this, we feel we can beat anyone.

"It was my best goal for Ireland by far. It was a great dummy from Harry (Arter). Whether or not he knew I was behind him only he will know, but the end result is fantastic. There is no better feeling. It's class.

"A lot of people wrote us off and didn't give us a chance tonight, but we showed our quality when we needed to and we will enjoy this now."

Ireland midfielder Jeff Hendrick echoed McClean's euphoric sentiments, with the Burnley man overwhelmed by the moment at the final whistle.

"It's unbelievable," he said. "Whenever we pressed them, we felt we could get something out of them and it was a brilliant strike from James for the goal.

"When it comes down to one game, the spirit in this group means we can do anything. This is special, but we have to keep creating special nights like this."

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