McCarthy urges players to 'finish the job'

 

Mick McCarthy urged his Republic of Ireland battlers to "finish the job off" and clinch a second-round place at the World Cup finals after Robbie Keane's last-gasp goal stole a 1-1 draw against Germany today.

Keane latched onto a flick-on from substitute Niall Quinn deep into injury time to beat Germany keeper Oliver Kahn.

"I've just said to the players 'you've got to play the Saudis now and finish the job (reaching the second round) off'."

McCarthy brought Quinn on for Gary Kelly in the 73rd minute with the Irish badly needing a goal from somewhere and the move paid off.

"I put Quinny on to do just that - get one of those lovely little flick-ons from a diagonal ball - and will-o-the-wisp Robbie's got in there and stuck it into the net."

Keane had squandered a couple of earlier chances - he miscued a first-half overhead kick and Kahn saved at his feet after the break - but the Leeds man's persistence paid off in the end.

"I am delighted for Robbie because centre forward's are judged on goals. It doesn't matter to them if they play well. For them they want to score goals - that's their business and he's scored a very vital one for us tonight.

"We had to take a chance to get a goal. We threw people forward to get a goal and it paid off.

"To be honest I think we've been the better side tonight. We've got passion and commitment and we're not a bad side.

"With the greatest respect to them we thought we could play against them and that's been proved tonight. We've got a result against them.

"I said at half-time to them 'don't play the Germans off the park and lose 1-0. Be the better side and come off with a result'."

McCarthy also paid tribute to skipper Steve Staunton who won his 100th cap against the Germans and emphasised the team spirit in his squad - without suggesting that the departure of Roy Keane before the tournament started had helped that spirit.

"I thought Steve Staunton had a superb game tonight and all the lads work very hard for each other with a great team spirit.

"I thought it was summed up at our pre-match meal when the youngest lad in the squad, Steven Reid, presented Steve Staunton with a watch on behalf of the rest of the lads.

"It shows the team spirit they have and how fond they are of each other."

PA