Duffy backs Ireland to ‘do it the hard way’

Republic Of Ireland
Defender Shane Duffy has admitted Republic of Ireland will have to improve despite beating Gibraltar in Monday's Euro 2020 qualifier.

Shane Duffy has backed Republic of Ireland to "do it the hard way" and qualify for Euro 2020 via the play-offs.

The Republic went into Monday night’s final qualifier against Denmark at the Aviva Stadium knowing only a win would be enough to secure them an automatic route through to next summer’s finals and, despite a plucky display, they fell short of their target as the match finished 1-1.

Mick McCarthy’s side must now come through two play-off games in March if they are to reach the European Championship finals for the third tournament in a row and Duffy, who captained the Boys in Green against the Danes due to the absence of regular skipper Seamus Coleman through suspension, believes they can still qualify.

“On another night, we could have got one and it’s disappointing to take,” Duffy told Sky Sports. “But I’m trying to stay positive. We’re still in it, we’re not out and we’ve got to do it the hard way, like we always do.”

Ireland only lost one of their eight matches during the qualifying group and Duffy certainly feels there are plenty of positives for the team to build on, particularly if they can match the performance levels they showed against Denmark on a consistent basis.

“We try to play like that every game, to be honest, but it’s easier said than done,” the 27-year-old added. “But that’s the benchmark, we have got to stay at that level now.

“Whoever we get in March, we’ve got to do that again.”

The draw for the play-offs will be made on November 22 and punters may choose to use their free bet to back Ireland to come through those matches and book their place at Euro 2020.