Ireland midfielder McCarthy ruled out of Wales clash

Ireland midfielder McCarthy ruled out of Wales clash

Ireland midfielder McCarthy ruled out of Wales clash

And if he helps O'Neill's side go on to clinch a place at the World Cup finals in Russian Federation, he is unlikely to ever have to buy a drink in his native Waterford again.

Permutations. Permutations. Permutations. Why should they be so hard?

A late-goal from Robert Snodgrass made things nervy for the Irish (of course), but Slovenia saw it out.

"We've got no divine right to be running away with groups", cautioned Chris Gunter, the most-capped player in their squad.

None of the seven players in the Wales side on a booking picked up a caution, meaning Wales will be free of suspension for the Ireland match.

Martin O'Neill and the Republic of Ireland side are still no clearer about what their future in World Cup qualification after Saturday night's games. Ireland didn't have it all their own way in the first-half as Sergiu Platica unleashed a fierce drive towards the top right-hand corner and Darren Randolph produced an excellent one-handed save to deny him in the 27th minute. "It's as big as anything we've been involved in", he said. "The time with myself and Ireland has been good for him". Republic skipper Seamus Coleman had his leg broken in a challenge with Neil Taylor - and there was talk of Cardiff being a grudge match. Second-placed Wales sit one point behind Serbia heading into the final round of games.

"We are halfway there", Wales midfielder Aaron Ramsey said.

"We take one game at a time and the next and final one is on Monday".

Shane Long really should have extended the home side's lead with quarter of an hour can when, after O'Dowda had worked his way into space and squared the ball, he steered his shot inches wide of the post.

Lawrence's goal demonstrated his fine technique and although he has played for nine different clubs, despite only being 23 years of age, his movement will prove a handful for the Irish and Clark.

Williams also praised their match-winner Lawrence, it was the Derby striker's first global goal and came in his ninth appearance.

A home defeat for the Serbs against Georgia would see Wales or the Republic snatching top spot by winning in Cardiff.

"But I think that would be a tough ask for Georgia to win there".

Champagne corks were popping in Dublin when Republic fans discovered that Gareth Bale would miss the Cardiff climax through injury.

Lawrence's long-range strike on only his ninth global appearance followed Liverpool teenager Ben Woodburn's stunning goal to beat Austria.

"We enjoy each others company so much and there's such a belief that when it comes down to it, we know what we can do". Ireland continued to press forward in search of goals and Shane Long should have added to the scoreline with 30 minutes remaining.

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