JAMES McClean was named ‘man of the match’ as Republic of Ireland snatched a dramatic stoppage time equaliser in last night’s Euro 2016 qualifier against World champions, Germany.
The Derry man was awarded the accolade by RTE pundit and former Republic star, Ronnie Whelan as he worked tirelessly for Martin O’Neill’s troops in Gelsenkirchen alongside, second half substitute Darron Gibson.
2014 World champions, Germany looked to be heading towards a 1-0 victory courtesy of Toni Kroos’ 71st minute strike.
However, as the game entered the final four minutes of stoppage time, John O’Shea popped up to net the equaliser to mark his 100th appearance in an Ireland shirt.
McClean, who netted twice against Gibraltar in last Saturday’s qualifier at the Aviva Stadium, was influential in the build-up to O’Shea’s equalising goal as the Sunderland man preserved Ireland’s unbeaten run in Group D and put another dent in Germany’s campaign.
“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 O’Shea.
“But it was a big credit to the lads in front of me tonight. It was very determined and very dogged. It was a big, big performance but we came up with little bits of quality when we had to come out and play and that was very pleasing.”
McCourt unused as N. Ireland top group in Greece
Meanwhile, former Derry City star, Paddy McCourt was an unused substitute and Eglinton man Shane Ferguson played 78 minutes as N. Ireland secured a superb 2-0 win away to Group F top seeds Greece.
A deflected Jamie Ward strike and Kyle Lafferty’s fine finish gave Michael O’Neill’s men victory to mark their best-ever start to a qualifying campaign.
N. Ireland have never before won their first three matches in a European Championship series but this victory puts them right on course for the first major finals for 30 years.