Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill has expressed the immense pride he feels after his side secured their place at next summer’s European Championships.
Two goals from forward Jonathan Walters helped the Irish to a 2-0 victory over Bosnia and Herzegovina at the Aviva Stadium on Monday night, a result that secured a 3-1 aggregate success and their place at the 2016 finals in France.
The triumph was a fitting conclusion to a testing qualifying campaign that had seen the Irish come up against the likes of world Champions Germany, Poland and Scotland, and O’Neill revealed his delight at the way his squad has performed throughout the process.
He said: “I couldn’t be more proud, [the players] have been absolutely fantastic right from the start, way back in Georgia when Aidan McGeady scored a late goal to win it 2-1, I always felt those point might be very important come the end of the tournament and so they proved.”
The former Sunderland boss pinpointed the 1-0 victory over the Germans in Dublin last month as one of the main reasons why his team not only reached the play-offs, but had the confidence to overcome a dangerous Bosnian team.
He added: “I think the results against Germany were just absolutely fantastic. I hold the players in absolutely enormous esteem.”
The Republic have now reached back-to-back European Championship finals and they will be hoping to improve on their last showing in the tournament when they finished with three defeats from three matches in 2012.
The draw for the finals will take place on December 12.