Football

"Our Own Media Wrote Us Off" - James McClean On The Added Bonus Of Wales Win

"Our Own Media Wrote Us Off" - James McClean On The Added Bonus Of Wales Win

Ireland's match-winning hero James McClean has not yet come down from the euphoria of Monday night when his goal pushed Ireland into the 2018 World Cup playoff at the expense of Wales.

The whole country has been on a high over the last few days as we look forward to next week's draw, and McClean's has been the name on the lips of every football fan for being the man to deliver once again, but speaking to Off The Ball on Thursday night the Derry man was quick to share some praise with his teammates.

After revealing that his first thoughts following the goal were to ensure we didn't fall into a familiar trap, McClean admitted that the wait for the final whistle felt like an eternity.

I just remember after the goal saying to the lads, make sure we don't drop to the edge of the box, sit in, and just invite them on us. After the goal, it just felt like an eternity until the final whistle.

Every man was outstanding. The back four especially, and the goalkeeper, deserve immense credit, to hear that final whistle was a special feeling.

Ireland were able to see the game out and the celebrations at the final whistle were truly a joy to watch.

On the pitch there were fantastic scenes but things kicked up a gear once the team returned to the dressing room. Jon Walters' Instagram clip went viral as the players danced and sang in celebration, and it turns out that there was an added bonus to celebrate as well.

McClean revealed that the negativity in the Irish media after the Georgia and Serbia results, many of the players felt as though they had been written off, and were out to prove a few people wrong.

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It was a massive win, so why not enjoy that night?

We were written off. Especially after the Georgia and Serbia games, knowing we had to go to Wales and win, a lot of people wrote us off, gave us no chance. We went there and did the job, did a great job, and I think we celebrated fittingly.

Obviously having a defeat like that, it does hurt. It hurt very badly.

But we still had a very good chance of qualifying and I think the way the media reacted in a way they wrote us off and they gave the manager a lot of criticism and the players criticism. To them we were out, we were finished, that was it.

It was a nice feeling to prove a lot of people wrong. It was kind of an added bonus on top of everything else. Our own media wrote us off. This one is for you, you know what I mean?

Not all the media wrote the team off, some of us spent a ridiculous amount of time planning and plotting every possible permutation for us to still have a chance of making it to Russia, and even more of us cheered on Slovenia like we were born and raised in Ljubljana, but McClean is right to say that there was a lot of doubt out there following the Georgia and Serbia results.

The players played with a chip on their shoulder, and it was another big night under Martin O'Neill, so surely the best idea for the playoffs is for everyone to write the team off immediately, regardless of who we draw?

In all seriousness, the rediscovered confidence that the team and fans will carry into the playoffs will mean that no side wants to see 'Republic of Ireland' on the piece of paper drawn by Christian Karembeu or whoever UEFA call upon for the draw.

You can listen to James McClean's chat on Off The Ball in full over on Newstalk.com.

Mikey Traynor

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