A SUNDAY evening of high importance at the Aviva Stadium looms. Defeat in Scotland means Martin O'Neill's Republic of Ireland team are fully versed on how critical this clash with Poland is. It is plain and simple: three points need to be pocketed.
For that to happen, though, a string of factors must be considered, but the most relevant is just how vital the Poland tussle is. "Listen, this is a big game, a really big match,” O'Neill admitted on Friday.
"It's taken a long while for it come around and the players should feed off all of this.” The pain Ireland suffered following defeat in Scotland shouldn't be forgotten.
Ireland could have taken a division of the spoils, but the grim reality is that they didn't. What will the response be?
“You can talk until you’re blue in the face. But if you boil it all down, I think the main thing is this: go into the game with confidence, real serious confidence, put club football aside, get that shirt on, and go for it.”
With a rare sell-out crowd since the Lansdowne Road venue was refurbished O'Neill wants Ireland to deliver on Dublin turf. “Naturally we’re at home and so the onus is on us to get forward to win the game. That’s what we’re going to try to do. It’s a tough old group we’re in, but we’re going for it.”
A 2016 summer trip to France would be a special treat so Group D continues to carry intrigue. Ireland's brief is to stay in the race for European Championship qualification - defeat must be avoided.