Like Wales without Bale - O'Neill talks up absent Coleman's importance

Shane Duffy

When asked about the team photo during last year's European championships, Gareth Bale - who was absent from the game in Tbilisi - claims he has no idea what reporters meant. However, victory over Moldova quickly restored faith and Martin O'Neill's men know that only three points against Wales on Monday night will suffice.

Wales have seven players going into the game on one yellow card, facing bans if they make the play-offs.

"I've always liked Callum O'Dowda ever since I watched him play in the U21's".

Should they get that far, once again there are some hard sides in the running - Ireland would do well to focus on winning against Moldova for now, and think about qualifying permutations later.

"In training I'm hitting the net no problem, it's just not happening in the game".

Serbia went down 3-2 to Austria to put their World Cup qualification in danger with one game to play. I certainly would be looking forward to it. But I would never count out Northern Ireland. He came off the pitch, Ben Woodburn went on and scored a famous goal.

There were chances on Friday night as Long produced a good all-round performance with only his finishing below standard.

One thing is certain, if the intensity drops off like it did after the break on Friday, Wales will take advantage of it.

"A lot of our players do that", Coleman explained. But I believe so can we to them.

"If you look back at it, you'll see the chances I missed and people think it's a bad game".

"I'd be surprised if is a game in the Premier League where there is load of possession - it will be toe to toe, end to end". Thankfully it didn't cost us.

"He's normally at 60 minutes usually calling for a stretcher anyway at some stage or another, so I think he was surprised to find out that he was still playing after 71 or 72 minutes". While talking about the situation, O' Neill said, "Wales would naturally miss a player of that calibre, but we've got a world-class player missing ourselves in Seamus Coleman".

The Republic of Ireland boss is, meanwhile, boosted by the return of Robbie Brady and James McClean, both of whom served their respective one-match bans against Moldova. The 17-year-old scored the victor within five minutes of coming on as a second-half substitute against Austria before being sent on again to set up the opening goal in a 2-0 win in Moldova three days later.

"But it's job done".

'We have found it hard scoring goals, it's been a problem since I came in. "The play-offs don't exist right now - not for us or the Republic for that matter". The Boys in Green have won three times, along with three draws, since Wales' 1-0 win which took place in the RDS.

Coleman said: "We were composed when we needed to be". This group of players have made the difference.

Brunt's weird own goal was one of the few moments of note in an uneventful Oslo encounter. But it is in our hands.

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