'There is no better feeling in football' - McClean

JAMES McClean scored the only goal of the game on Monday evening as Republic of Ireland beat Wales in Cardiff to secure a play-off spot for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

The 28-year-old was the hero on a famous night for the Boys in Green, smashing home a half-volley from inside the penalty area in the 57th minute to send the travelling Irish fans into raptures.

On a night that saw Hal Robson-Kanu play 70 minutes for Wales, Martin O'Neill's side held on to leapfrog their rivals into second place in Group D - two points behind Serbia who qualify automatically. The reward, a winner-takes-all play-off in November for a berth in next summer's tournament, with the draw to be made on October 17.

Three of McClean's four goals in World Cup Qualifying have been winners. And the Albion midfielder said there's no better feeling than hitting the back of the net.

"The fans were unbelievable. A lot of people ruled us out and didn't give us a chance tonight, but we went there and showed character," said James.

"I remember it coming across - a great dummy by Harry Arter - and I was just thinking keep it down.

"When it hit the back of the net there is no better feeling in football. We will enjoy tonight."

And O'Neill was full of praise for the Albion midfielder, saying: "James McClean has come up big again tonight, really big.

"He's been splendid in this tournament, really splendid.

"He's been really fantastic so well done to him and well done the team."

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