Martin O’Neill urges Republic to ‘seize the moment’ against Poland

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill
Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill

Martin O’Neill has told his players to seize the moment and drag the Republic of Ireland firmly back into the race for Euro 2016 qualification against Poland.

The Poles head for the Aviva Stadium on Sunday night sitting at the top of Group D, three points clear of the chasing pack with Ireland, Germany and Scotland locked together behind them.

O’Neill’s men slipped off the pace when they were defeated 1-0 by the Scots in Glasgow in November, but the 63-year-old manager insists he always believed their fate would be settled in Dublin and has challenged his team to prove him right by denting Poland’s charge to the finals.

He said: “What we have to do is look at where we are at the moment: we have picked up seven points, we have played three away from home. We have given ourselves a chance.

“When the draw was made and the games were set out, that was the first thing I looked at, that of the first four games, three were away from home. We could have been out of the competition before we were ever in it.

“We have given ourselves a chance by winning in Georgia and getting a point in Germany. The games here were always going to be important. Now they have come around, so we are ready for them, we hope.

“We have to be ready for them. There’s no point in being ready on Monday morning, let’s be ready tomorrow night. Let’s go and perform, let’s perform to the best of our ability and if we do that, we’ll go close in the game.”