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Three Other Occasions Martin O’Neill’s Ireland Prevailed In Must-Win Matches

Ireland’s heroic win over Wales on Monday night has kept the Boys in Green’s World Cup dream alive ahead of the play-offs next month.

Taking into account the enormity of Monday night’s win, however, we’ve decided to take you back down memory lane and savour three other times the Boys in Green have come out on top in do-or-die games under Martin O’Neill.


3. Ireland Vs Germany, 2015

Ireland had looked out of European Championship qualification after a mixed campaign, which saw them almost out of the running. Matters were put in Ireland’s favour, however, following Scotland’s 1-0 loss to Georgia.

Ireland defeated the Scots’ conquerors to set up a tie against Germany that would assure them of a play-off spot.

Shane Long scored the famous goal from Darren Randolph’s long ball as Ireland defeated the world champions and subsequently qualified for Euro 2016 via the play-offs.


2. Ireland Vs Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2015

Not so much a must-win but this certainly brought about a more straightforward route for Ireland. The Boys in Green’s victory over Germany paved the way for a play-off with a highly regarded Bosnia and Herzegovina side.

Robbie Brady and Eden Dzeko scored a goal apiece in a foggy away tie as Ireland secured a vital away goal. O’Neill’s men could have played for a draw but knew a win would put the stubborn Bosnian’s out of sight and secure a Euro 2016 place in the unlikeliest of fashions.

A Jon Walters brace at the Aviva Stadium saw Ireland through safely in one of O’Neill’s more positive games as a manager.


1. Ireland Vs Italy, 2016

Ireland had endured a mixed group stage all the way up to Euro 2016. They had drawn with Sweden in Paris in a game they know they should have won. This was followed by a crushing 3-0 loss to Belgium setting up a must-win match against an Italian side who were already through to the knockout stage.

In similar circumstances to the Wales game, results in the other groups went Ireland’s way meaning they would qualify as one of the best third-placed finishers with a win. They did just that with Robbie Bray’s goal going down in Irish folklore as they progressed to the round of 16.


Nick Menezes, Pundit Arena

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Author: Nick Menezes

Nick is a soccer, GAA and rugby fanatic who has a worrying obsession with the Irish football team. His articles focus on Irish football and he also writes some light-hearted pieces, particularly quirky starting XIs.