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Dublin: 11 °C Tuesday 15 October, 2019

Tbilisi to Cardiff - the memorable wins and golden goals from Martin O'Neill's Ireland tenure

2018 was filled with disappointments but there was some moments to savour from O’Neill’s time in charge.

Martin O'Neill celebrates with Roy Keane at the final whistle Keane and O'Neill celebrate Ireland's win over Austria in 2016. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

IT ENDED IN Aarhus on a low note on Monday night with Ireland grinding out a scoreless draw in a drab Nations League encounter with Denmark.

This morning the Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane five-year era in charge drew to a close with the FAI announcing their departure by mutual agreement.

It’s been a turbulent and difficult final year, characterised by poor results and a notable lack of goals.

But there were some memorable moments and golden goals with O’Neill at the helm.

1. September 2014 – Aiden McGeady’s winner in Georgia

O’Neill’s first competitive game in charge ended in success, thanks to some brilliant trickery and footwork by McGeady as he conjured up a winner late in the game in Tbilisi.

Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane at the end of the game Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

2. October 2014 – John O’Shea strikes in Gelsenkirchen

Another late, late show in a Euro 2016 qualifier. This goal grabbed a draw but the significance was the stature of the opposition as Germany had lifted the World Cup three months previously. Toni Kroos edged Germany in front before Wes Hoolahan lofted in a cross, Jeff Hendrick deftly clipped the ball across goal and John O’Shea stretched out his leg to steal a point.

John O'Shea celebrates scoring Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

3. October 2015 – Shane Long’s goal overturns the World Champions

Ireland’s greatest victory since the 2001 success against the Netherlands. A resilient defensive showing kept the World Cup winners at bay before a long second-half punt by Darren Randolph released Shane Long and he blasted home a goal that secured a famous victory over Germany.

Source: Jake Brereton/YouTube

4. November 2015 – Victory over Bosnia secures a spot at Euro 2016

After a 1-1 draw in Zenica, Ireland completed the job on home soil. Jon Walters was the goalscoring hero, tucking away a penalty in the first half and volleying home the goal that clinched Ireland’s passage to the summer tournament in France.

Roy Keane, Gerard Dunne and Martin O'Neill celebrate Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

5. June 2016 – Wes hits the net in Paris

The Euros finally commenced for Ireland and they went ahead at the Stade de France with a lovely finish from Wes Hoolahan after Seamus Coleman’s break down the right. Ireland were pegged back by Sweden for an eventual 1-1 draw but the goal was a moment to savour for Hoolahan.

Source: FAI TV/YouTube

6. June 2016 – Brady’s famous winner in Lille

After a crushing defeat to Belgium in Bordeaux, Ireland needed to summon a victory against Italy. It looked like a brave display would count for little as the match drifted towards the final whistle before Hoolahan swept in a cross that was glanced to the net by Robbie Brady to propel Ireland towards the last 16.

Source: FAI TV/YouTube

7. November 2016 – McClean’s intervention in Vienna

The promise generated by the Euro 2016 campaign was built on in style by the start of the 2018 World Cup qualification. Ireland took seven points from their first three games and then rounded off the year with a brilliant away win against Austria, James McClean drilling home the only goal of the game.

James McClean celebrates scoring the opening goal of the game with Jon Walters and Robbie Brady Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

8. October 2017 – McClean’s winner in Cardiff

Another vital goal by James McClean, this one was decisive in swinging the World Cup play-off spot Ireland’s way and ending the Welsh hopes of advancing. Jeff Hendrick made the hard yards on the right wing, Harry Arter’s step over created the opening and McClean smacked home the only goal of the game.

It all went wrong after that against Denmark and 2018 was filled with disappointments but this was still one of the best displays that O’Neill masterminded.

Source: FAI TV/YouTube

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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