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Dublin: 9 °C Wednesday 16 October, 2019

'People might start respecting us a little bit more now'

Conor Hourihane praised the strength of character shown by Ireland to earn a draw against Switzerland.

Ireland's Conor Hourihane under pressure from Granit Xhaka and Manuel Akanji of Switzerland.
Ireland's Conor Hourihane under pressure from Granit Xhaka and Manuel Akanji of Switzerland.
Image: Brian Lawless

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND midfielder Conor Hourihane feels that results such as last night’s draw with Switzerland show that the Boys in Green are moving in the right direction after a dismal 2018.

David McGoldrick’s late equaliser earned a share of the spoils at the Aviva Stadium, which keeps Ireland’s unbeaten record intact as they bid to qualify for the 2020 European Championship.

The hosts were on the back foot for large spells during the Group D qualifier in Dublin, but they were ultimately rewarded for their endeavour in similar circumstances to the away game against Denmark in June. 

“People might start respecting us a little bit more now,” said Hourihane. “We’ve had some very good results, one against Denmark and one against Switzerland tonight, so people might give us a little bit more respect now.”

Fabian Schar had given Switzerland a 74th-minute lead which was no more than their dominance deserved. However, a spell of late Irish pressure produced a first international goal for McGoldrick, moments after Glenn Whelan rattled the crossbar.

“Great character,” said Hourihane. “That’s bred into us, that never-say-die attitude. We obviously want to play a little bit better at times, don’t get me wrong, but it was important not to get beaten here tonight. Credit to the lads for that.”

The Aston Villa midfielder added: “We just wanted to keep going and keep giving our all to see what we could muster up. Obviously they went 1-0 up but we showed a bit of character to come back and get a good draw.”

Although Ireland currently sit atop the group, the complexion of the standings is skewed by games in hand to come for both Switzerland and Denmark.

A win is likely to be required away to Georgia on 12 October to keep Mick McCarthy’s side in contention before their remaining fixtures against the Swiss (away, 15 October) and the Danes (home, 18 November).

“It was important to keep our unbeaten run going,” said Hourihane. “Switzerland are a good side. We knew they’d probably dominate possession. We would have taken a point.” 

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Paul Dollery

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