O'Neill delighted with Ireland's start to World Cup campaign

Martin O'Neill waves to the Ireland fans after the game
Martin O'Neill waves to the Ireland fans after the game

Ireland moved into second in their World Cup qualifying group after tonight's 3-1 win over Moldova but the atmosphere wasn't particularly celebratory in Martin O'Neill's post-match interview.

The Ireland manager has enjoyed a few combative battles with RTE's Tony O'Donoghue after matches, which regularly produces compelling TV moments.

Tonight, one topic of discussion was Ireland's penchant for conceding goals after goal into the lead. O'Donoghue broached the subject with O'Neill with one of his opening questions, and the exchange that followed was quite testy as the manager defended his team.

"I'm not so sure that that is absolutely true," O'Neill said.

"You are talking the game against France. We got in front against Italy and stayed on, we got in front against Georgia and stayed on. So I'm not sure that's true. Serbia? Away from home, who just beat Austria? Hmmm, not bad.

"You know what we did do that you actually keep forgetting? We fought back in that game when all seemed lost."

O'Neill heaped praise on Shane Long and James McClean, while admitting that the Moldova goal came from a loss in concentration. He also answered defiantly when asked about his half time 'rollockings' that have propelled Ireland to victory twice in the last four days.

"My job is very important to me," he said.

"Players are very important, players are great. The players have to respond to things you say and they have responded for the last couple of years."