John O'Shea celebrates equalizing for Ireland against Germany.
By Irish Echo Staff
The Republic of Ireland pulled out a remarkable 1-1 draw against Germany Tuesday night to take away a point from their European Championship Group D qualifying game in Gelsenkirchen.
Defender John O’Shea, playing in his 100th cap, got his foot to a 94th-minute cross from Jeff Hendrick. It turned out to be the last kick of the game.
World Cup champions Germany had dominated possession for the entire game, though producing few real chances until Toni Kroos scored from the edge of the box on 71 minutes. World Cup final hero Mario Götze almost made it 2-0 in the 80th minute, but goalkeeper David Forde deflected the effort over the bar. Five minutes later, Ireland’s Wes Hoolihan seemed certain to score from close range, but was denied by defender Erik Durn.
With Poland managing only a 2-2 draw at home to Scotland, Ireland maintain their position in 2nd position in Group D. Both the Poles and the Irish have seven points after three games played, but the former have a marginally better goal difference.
Meanwhile, Northern Ireland have maintained their 100 percent record with a 2-0 away win over Greece. Kyle Lafferty and Jamie Ward scored for Michael O’Neill’s team, which leads the way in Group F.
“What a special night, and thankfully I was able to play a part in the end,” Republic hero O’Shea. “My shirt? I’m not one for framing things or hanging things up but I think this one could be heading for the mantelpiece at my parents’ house.”
“The manager [Martin O'Neill] put me forward with a couple of minutes to go and thankfully I was able to stick it away,” said the long-time Manchester United star now playing with Sunderland. “Big credit to the lads in front of me, the way we played especially the first half was very dogged. It was a big, big performance, with little bits of quality when we had to come out and play. Once they get that goal it’s a big blow for us, because we’re looking to catch them on the counter-attack towards the end of the game. We had to come out a bit more, but I think throughout the night James [McClean] and Aiden [McGeady] were making lots of problems for them.”
“It was a very special moment,” O’Shea said. “The group has a fantastic spirit and we didn’t want to come off the pitch with a 1-0 defeat and people saying we’d done OK.”