Dunne retains Euro dream

Defender determined to make the finals in Poland and Ukraine

Last Updated: 07/09/11 4:38pm

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Richard Dunne hopes the battling draw in Moscow can help Republic of Ireland realise their dream of qualifying for Euro 2012.

The Aston Villa defender put in a heroic performance as Russia dominated the Group B qualifier but could find no way through.

Dunne ended the game with four stitches in a face wound, his reward for a crunching tackle on Yuri Zhirkov which cost him a booking and a suspension which will rule him out of the trip to Andorra next month.

But the defender was pleased to do his bit for the cause as he attempts to make a major finals at what will probably be the last time of asking.

"There are a lot of us probably in our last campaign who want to get to a finals, and hopefully last night will help us get that."
Richard Dunne Quotes of the week

The defender said: "It's a tough place to come and we knew if we lost here, it was going to be over for us, so we wanted to put in a performance where if we were going out, we were going down with a fight.

"There are a lot of us probably in our last campaign who want to get to a finals, and hopefully last night will help us get that."

Desperation

Dunne's desperation to book a trip to Poland and Ukraine next summer was obvious as he and goalkeeper Shay Given led a 90-minute rearguard action which ultimately kept the Russians at bay, but only just.

Quite how he managed to keep out Igor Semshov's goal-bound 33rd-minute shot with Given beaten was no doubt a topic of conversation for the locals long after the Republic squad headed back to Dublin, and the keeper's last-ditch block to prevent Konstantin Zyryanov's 88th-minute header from finally breaking the deadlock was equally vital.

However, Dunne modestly played down his contribution to a gritty display.

He said: "It's one of those when you just seem to be in the right place at the right time."

As regards his booking, he added: "It's stupid because the referee said he knows I got the ball, but he had to book me because it was a rough tackle."

Given happy

Given too was happy to share the accolades with his team-mates after the battling display by Giovanni Trapattoni's side.

He said: "It would be unfair to single me out. The whole team as a group and as a unit, the way we worked, we deserved something from the game.

"Richard was immense. He has got his face stapled up there and he really put his head on the line for his country. He was fantastic."

There had been an air of despondency around the camp in the wake of Friday night's disappointing goalless draw with Slovakia.

Given said: "We are happier than we were on Friday night, obviously. We would love to have won the game on Friday night and taken four points in these two games, but it wasn't to be.

"We will take the point from last night for sure. Ideally, you would like to be six points clear, but we are happy. We knew if we had lost last night, then it was a bit of a mountain to climb.

"If we can get maximum points in our last two games, we have got a real chance of qualifying, whether it be first or second in a play-off."

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