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John O’Shea delighted to see Republic of Ireland winning games again

Interim Republic of Ireland boss John O’Shea celebrates friendly victory over Hungary (Niall Carson/PA)
Interim Republic of Ireland boss John O’Shea celebrates friendly victory over Hungary (Niall Carson/PA)

Interim boss John O’Shea is confident the Republic of Ireland are laying a foundation for future success after a morale-boosting friendly victory over Euro 2024 qualifiers Hungary.

Substitute Troy Parrott’s stoppage-time goal secured a 2-1 win at the Aviva Stadium which ended the Hungarians’ 14-match unbeaten run in their penultimate warm-up fixture before they fly to Germany.

Ireland will head for Portugal next Tuesday without a permanent head coach, but with a hard-fought win against a side ranked some 34 places above them by FIFA under their belts after a run of 11 matches during which their only successes had come against minnows Gibraltar.

O’Shea said: “It’s evidence that we’re winning games again, which is hugely important at home when we want to qualify for tournaments. We want to win games, especially at home.

“That’s the foundation for qualifying for tournaments and against a team that had been on an unbeaten run like they had been, we found a way.

“Yes, we can do things better, but the big thing for me was we caused them problems at different stages – and we would have caused them a lot more problems with a bit more care.”

Stephen Kenny’s departure in November sparked a search for a new head coach which remains ongoing almost nine months later and having stepped into the breach for March’s draw with Belgium and narrow defeat by Switzerland, O’Shea has been handed the reins again this month.

He was initially not considered a candidate to fill the vacancy permanently, but has worked his way into contention with an appointment due before September’s Nations League opener against England.

In the meantime, he will reflect on a result which was better than the performance after Adam Idah opened the scoring against the run of play and, after Adam Lang’s equaliser, Parrott won it at the death.

O’Shea said: “The feeling of winning a match for your country when you’re the manager after having the moments I’ve had with Ireland in my career, being a young lad born in Waterford, it’s just an incredible feeling.

“Performance-wise, we were better against Belgium and Switzerland but didn’t get what we deserved. We got a win tonight, so that was crucial.”

Hungary manager Marco Rossi was convinced his team did not deserve to lose in Dublin
Hungary manager Marco Rossi was convinced his team did not deserve to lose in Dublin (Niall Carson/PA)

Opposite number Marco Rossi could not quite believe his side had come away empty-handed having dominated for long periods without troubling keeper Caoimhin Kelleher unduly.

Rossi said: “To be satisfied with the result is impossible. We were not satisfied even with the draw in minute 91 because I think we didn’t deserve to lose.

“We had several chances to win this match. Of course, we made some mistakes, but I think Ireland had two chances and they scored both.

“Of course, for the future, we must learn from our mistakes and for sure in the last minute, you cannot concede a goal like that. Okay, we wanted to win, but every time if it’s not possible to win, we have to accept the draw.

“Despite the fact that we were coming from 14 matches without defeat, we are not England or Germany. Like I have mentioned several times, we are in a process, we are growing up.”