Everton right-back Seamus Coleman has admitted he was “close to tears” when the Republic of Ireland took a 2-0 lead against Bosnia-Herzegovina on Monday night.
The Irish were protecting the slender lead given to them by Jon Walters’ 24th-minute penalty when the Stoke striker popped up with his second of the night at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium.
With the first leg ending all square at 1-1 in Zenica, the pressure was firmly on Martin O’Neill’s side and they did not disappoint their fans with a clean sheet and an eventual 3-1 victory on aggregate.
Coleman, 27, missed out on a place in the squad for Euro 2012, but he will be there in France next summer – fitness permitting – as the Irish look to make a better impression after losing all three group games last time around in Ukraine.
The defender said: “When Jonny’s second goal went in, I was close to tears. It was one of those moments – it was something I wanted all my life.
“Even talking about it now, I’m getting butterflies. It’s hard to put into words; it’s such an amazing moment.
“It was a tough night, more so because of what was at stake. Even when we scored the first goal, Bosnia only needed one goal to get back in the game and then momentum swings their way.”