Match-winner Walters: Republic team full of heroes

Date published: Monday 16th November 2015 10:09

Jonathan Walters: Celebrates with Ciaran Clark after Republic of Ireland win

Two-goal hero Jonathan Walters paid tribute to his team-mates after the Republic of Ireland qualified for Euro 2016 with a 2-0 win over Bosnia-Herzegovina in Dublin to secure a 3-1 aggregate play-off victory.

Walters scored a first-half penalty and put the seal on qualification with a volley after the break, but he was quick to praise the team effort.

The Stoke City striker told Sky Sports 1: “The whole team on the pitch are heroes. We got there in the end, we did it the hard way, but we got there.

“You’ve got to take it in because these moments don’t come round often in a career.”

Asked about the contribution of manager Martin O’Neill and assistant Roy Keane, Walters said: “They’ve been excellent through the whole campaign.”

Derby defender Richard Keogh said: “It’s an unbelievable feeling. We played really well. We got the (first) goal and we defended really well.

“For me to play for my country means the world to me. I’ve stepped up to the plate. I’m going to enjoy it.”

West Ham goalkeeper Darren Randolph has not been first-choice goalkeeper throughout the qualifying campaign, but said he would savour the moment after helping his country make it to France.

“It’s unbelievable. We’re through and that’s all that matters,” he said.

Norwich midfielder Robbie Brady provided the free-kick which led to Walters’ second goal, his delivery cleared by a defender only as far as the Stoke striker at the far post.

Brady said: “It’s the type of thing you grow up dreaming about. Everyone involved was excellent and we did everything we needed to and now we’re off to France.

“I’m so proud of everyone involved. When things got tough I’m sure everyone involved has been through it before and we stuck together.”

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