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Goal will give McGoldrick confidence, says Ireland team-mate Stevens

Blades striker McGoldrick found himself without a club last summer.

Republic of Ireland defender Enda Stevens (right) in action against Switzerland (Brian Lawless/PA)
Republic of Ireland defender Enda Stevens (right) in action against Switzerland (Brian Lawless/PA)

By Damian Spellman, PA

Enda Stevens is confident there are more goals to come from Republic of Ireland striker David McGoldrick after seeing him open his international account with a match-saving header against Switzerland.

McGoldrick’s 85th-minute equaliser secured a valuable 1-1 Euro 2020 qualifier draw in Dublin on Thursday evening to keep alive Ireland’s hopes of reaching the finals.

It came with the striker in the process of establishing himself in the Premier League with promoted Sheffield United, a little more than a year after he was left waiting for the phone to ring following his release by Ipswich, and club-mate Stevens was thrilled for him.

He said: “I was buzzing for him. Obviously he had the shot against Gibraltar that deflected in and he got a bit of stick for that, but I’m buzzing for him.

“It was a great goal and you could see by his celebration and his reaction what it meant for him.

“It’s hard for him because he’s an all-round striker. He drops into pockets and he works so hard to get everyone else playing.

“For him to be in the box, back stick, to win the header, it was great for him. It’ll only give him confidence now moving forward.”

McGoldrick’s maiden Ireland goal came in his 11th appearance and could hardly have been better timed, with his side staring a first defeat of manager Mick McCarthy’s second reign full in the face after Fabian Schar had opened the scoring at the Aviva Stadium.

His contribution changed the narrative heading into next month’s difficult trips to Tbilisi and Geneva, with Georgia and the Swiss representing significant obstacles to their qualification hopes.

Asked if the game could prove pivotal, Stevens, who will be suspended for the clash with the Georgians after collecting his third booking of the campaign, said: “They all are at the minute.

“There are not many of them left. A point on the board is a point closer to where we want to be and we’ll move on now to the next game.”

The group is evenly poised with Denmark sitting three points behind Ireland following their 6-0 win in Gibraltar having played a game fewer, and Switzerland, who face the group minnows in Sion on Sunday, six adrift with two games in hand.

The Republic’s narrow wins over Gibraltar mean they are likely to have to beat at least one of the group’s strongest teams if they are to progress, but Stevens remains hopeful.

He said: “We’ll always feel confident. We go until the end.”

PA

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