A moment of magic from Derby County midfielder Jeff Hendrick saw the Republic earn a hard-fought victory at the Aviva Stadium and picked up a crucial three points.
We deserved to get the goal and we deserved to win the game
Speaking to the media after the 1-0 win, O’Neill immediately acknowledged his team’s poor first-half showing.
“I’m delighted we’ve won the game and we find a way to win in the second-half. I felt we were very tentative in the first-half, not sure why, having won on Friday.
“I thought we lacked energy in the first-half and consequently created very little, and it was obviously a worry. Players came very strongly in the second-half and we deserved to get the goal and we deserved to win the game.”
As quick as the Ireland boss was to recognise his teams slow start, he was equally as quick to acknowledge Hendrick’s stunning assist.
“It came of the blue,” O’ Neill added.
“It was a great, great run and to keep a little bit of composure, it was great play by Jeff.
“I’m delighted for him too, because he is improving for us and he’s a strong lad, for [Republic of Ireland] he’s growing in stature.”
Ireland sit in third place in Group D and welcome reigning world champions to the Aviva Stadium in October.
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