Pos­i­tives for Ir­ish to take, says Duffy

Yorkshire Post - Sports Monday - - FOOTBALL -

FOOT­BALL: Shane Duffy was in philo­soph­i­cal mood af­ter his first goal for the Repub­lic of Ire­land proved only enough to se­cure a World Cup qual­i­fier draw in Ge­or­gia.

The 25-year-old Brighton de­fender got his coun­try off to the best pos­si­ble start in Tbil­isi when he headed them into a fourth-minute lead, only for their hopes to un­ravel from that point on­wards.

Duffy and his team-mates were per­haps for­tu­nate to leave the Boris Paichadze Di­namo Arena with a 1-1 draw, although sub­sti­tute Ai­den McGeady was handed a gilt-edged chance to win it late on.

But hav­ing been sub­jected to a ma­jor scare, Duffy is hop­ing Ge­or­gia can yet have a say in how Group D fi­nally pans out with Ire­land’s qual­i­fi­ca­tion ri­vals Ser­bia and Wales still to face Vladimir Weiss’s im­prov­ing side.

Duffy said: “They dom­i­nated and we knew they could take points off teams be­cause they’re a good team. That lit­tle fi­nal bit of end-prod­uct is prob­a­bly what they don’t have and big­ger coun­tries do.

“For me per­son­ally, I’d say they’re bet­ter than some of the teams ranked above them. On pa­per, it’s not a glam­orous team, but that was dif­fi­cult, and at home it was too.

“We want to beat those teams, but if you can’t beat them, you need to avoid de­feat and we did that. We’ll take that pos­i­tive on to Tuesday.”

The Repub­lic host Ser­bia on Tuesday in a game which is likely to prove piv­otal to their hopes of mak­ing it to Rus­sia next sum­mer. Ser­bia sit two points clear at the top of the group, with third-placed Wales two points be­hind Martin O’Neill’s side.

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