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Republic of Ireland: O’Neill lauds Irish matchwinner Coleman

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Seamus Coleman celebrates after scoring his first international goal in Thursday’s win over Georgia

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill praised his new captain Seamus Coleman after he scored the goal which beat Georgia 1-0 in Dublin on Thursday.

The win saw the Republic lie level on four points with Wales, Austria and Serbia in World Cup 2018 qualifying Group D after two rounds of fixtures.

“Seamus came up with a wonder run and a goal that befits the captain of the side,” said O’Neill after the game.

“I’m delighted to get three points but we can play a lot better than that.”

The Republic struggled to find top gear against the Georgians at the Aviva Stadium in a match which saw goalmouth action at a premium.

Everton defender Coleman’s strike 10 minutes after the interval, his first for his country, proved the difference between the sides. It came after a run down the right which was followed by several lucky ricochets and then a tap-in.

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“They had by miles the better of the first half but we came into it in the second half,” argued O’Neill.

“We pressed them better and we were actually getting some second balls which we didn’t get in the first half.

“The players have a great desire to do well but when things are not going well you need to re-energise.

“We needed a spark in the second half to get ourselves going and the players did get themselves going in the second half.”

The Irish twice defeated Georgia by a single goal in qualification for the Euro 2016 finals and O’Neill was wary of the threat posed by Vladimir Weiss’ side for this game.

“We have played them three times in a year and a half and we have found all three matches very difficult indeed.

“I watched their game against Austria and if they had a natural goalscorer in their side, they could cause teams lots of problems.”

Coleman happy to score winner

Goalscorer Coleman echoed the sentiments of his manager after scoring his first international goal on winning his 40th cap.

“In the first half we weren’t good enough and we were lucky to go in 0-0 at half-time.

“It’s all about three points but we know the performance wasn’t good enough – we’re happy to come out of it with three points.

“The manager just gave us a rollicking and said ‘nowhere near good enough’.

“We came out second half, played slightly better, scored the goal, defended better. I thought the man of the match was our keeper who was immense. He was unbelievable at the back, won everything in the air.”

On scoring his first international goal, Coleman added: “It’s a special feeling that to score for your country. It’s an amazing feeling, growing up as a kid you want to play for Ireland.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/37581653