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Dublin: 19 °C Wednesday 5 August, 2020

O’Neill expresses concern about Ireland's 72-hour turnaround

Ireland’s Euro 2016 fate will be decided with tomorrow night’s game against Poland.

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill.
Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Niall Kelly reports from Stadion Narodowy, Warsaw

MARTIN O’NEILL HOPES that his history boys will feed off the energy of their German win — and finish the job against Poland.

Shane Long’s strike downed the world champions on Thursday, gave Ireland their first ever competitive win against Germany, and opened the door to automatic qualification for Euro 2016.

A win in Warsaw would book their place in France, as would a 2-2 draw or higher, but O’Neill has expressed concern about the 72-hour turnaround.

Stephen Ward, who had only played one competitive game this season prior to Thursday, did not travel to Poland but O’Neill was reluctant to go into detail on his other worries.

The official word is that Seamus Coleman is fit, having shaken off a hamstring injury, while Glenn Whelan and James McClean are both available following suspension.

“We’re were absolutely at our utmost against Germany and sometimes with a quick turnaround it is difficult to replicate that,” O’Neill accepted.

“But it’s something that we have to try to do. Obviously nothing short of that will be good enough against Poland. We have to try to find the reserves of energy. We certainly have the drive and determination to do something about it.

“We have noticed that double-headers with a three-day turnaround is very, very quick but we knew that anyway coming in to these games. But Shane’s goal has given us an enormous lift and maybe that little bit of extra energy that might not have been there in the first place has just regathered itself.”

Ireland fans in Poland ahead of the game Republic of Ireland fans in Warsaw. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Wes Hoolahan was instrumental in the win against Germany, and while O’Neill has some reservations about the 33-year-old’s ability to handle two games in four days, he said the playmaker’s confidence is soaring.

“Wes had done exceptionally well for us and it’s great to see it. He’s got ability, there’s no question about that. He wants to have the ball, which is great. He plays like he trains; with great enthusiasm for the game.

“I suppose you’d have to think at his age why he didn’t play at the highest level for longer than he has done. Perhaps he might not be suited to everybody. He is very important to us.

“We have to look at him at this minute — he’s on the other side of 30 — to see whether we can have the benefit of him starting two matches in quick succession. Certainly now in terms of his confidence, he feels as if he’s capable of doing anything.”

Shane Long: Beating Germany was special – now we’ve got to make it mean something

Poland say Lewandowski will send a message to world football tomorrow night

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Niall Kelly

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