Adam Idah confident Republic of Ireland can cause Euro 2024 qualifying shock
Adam Idah is confident the Republic of Ireland have a shock result in them after belatedly igniting their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign.
Monday night’s 3-0 victory over Gibraltar was their first in three attempts and came three days after a disappointing display in defeat by Greece in Athens.
They sit third in the group having played a game more than the Netherlands, whom they face in September after the little matter of beaten World Cup finalists France in Paris, but Norwich striker Idah is refusing to give up hope.
Asked if the big wins they need are possible, the 22-year-old said: “Of course, I think everyone saw it last time we played France. We were outstanding.
“I know we didn’t win, but we showed we can put up a test against these big teams. It’s up to us at the end of the day to finish that.
“I believe – and I think everyone else believes – we can go and do it. The next step is to go and show what we are about.”
If victory over Gibraltar, who are ranked 201st in the world by FIFA, was expected, it did not come easily with the sides heading for the dressing rooms at half-time with the deadlock unbroken.
However, the introduction of Celtic winger Mikey Johnston and the switch to a back four after the break paid dividends, Johnston opening the scoring with his first goal for Ireland within seven minutes of his arrival before Evan Ferguson doubled the advantage.
There was relief too for late substitute Idah, who finally opened his account at the 16th attempt in stoppage time, in the process ending talk of matching the feat of former Ireland frontman John Aldridge, who broke his duck in his 19th appearance.
Idah said: “It’s tough when you haven’t scored and played a lot of games. But I’ve spoken to people and the main thing was to stay patient, goals will come.
“My job is to score goals and that’s probably the toughest part about it, not scoring. I’ve scored and got off the mark and now I’ll try to keep scoring.”
For manager Stephen Kenny, who went into the game under extreme pressure as a result of the defeat in Greece, Idah’s exploits represented reward for the faith he has invested in a player promoted from the Under-21 ranks.
The frontman said: “I have been with Stephen since 18 years old. He has shown great faith in me.
“I haven’t scored in a lot of games. For him to keep playing me and bringing me on gives me great confidence and belief. I’m delighted to score and to repay him for all he’s done for me. I’m very appreciative for what he has done.”
James McClean, who became the seventh man to win 100 caps for Ireland, had voiced his support for Kenny during the build-up to the game, and 18-year-old Ferguson insisted afterwards the players remain firmly behind the manager.
The Brighton striker, who described his last six months for club and country as “mad”, said: “I don’t think anyone’s going against the manager. We’re all behind him and we’ve all got trust in him.”