WORLD CUP: James McClean’s match winning strike was made in the League of Ireland

James McClean of Republic of Ireland shoots to score his side's first goal during the FIFA World Cup Group D Qualifier match between Austria and Republic of Ireland at the Ernst Happel Stadium in Vienna.

James McClean of Republic of Ireland shoots to score his side's first goal during the FIFA World Cup Group D Qualifier match between Austria and Republic of Ireland at the Ernst Happel Stadium in Vienna.

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Former Derry City winger, James McClean was fully aware of an interesting stat doing the rounds on social media after Saturday night’s magnificent World Cup qualifying win over Austria.

As a genuine League of Ireland success story himself, he recognised that SIX of the seven goals scored by Ireland in the four Group D qualifying rounds have been scored by ex-League of Ireland players.

While three of those seven have been netted by the flying ex-Derry City wideman over the past two games against Moldova (2) and Austria, Seamus Coleman (Sligo Rovers), Shane Long (Cork City) and Daryl Murphy (Waterford) have also chipped in. Burnley midfielder, Jeff Hendrick, who began his career with St Kevin’s Boys, was the other Irish goalscorer.

That brilliant finish in Vienna on Saturday night - a strike he rates as the most important goal of his career - was one made in the League of Ireland.

A quick, classic counter-attack which involved former Cork City man, David Meyler and Wes Hoolahan (Shelbourne) as McClean raced onto the pass and expertly applied the finish through the keeper’s legs.

“It’s a nice stat and it’s great for the league,” said McClean.

“It should show current players in the league that if you work hard and always believe then you can make your dreams come true. It’s wonderful that the Ireland team is made of up former League of Ireland players.”

It should show current players in the league that if you work hard and always believe then you can make your dreams come true.

James McClean