James McClean got the biggest cheer of the night as Ireland came back from the dead to draw 1-1 with the Czech Republic at the Aviva Stadium.

The Derry born winger only saw 13 minutes of action but that was enough to convince the 37,700 fans he should have a shot at the European Championships.

Former Northern Ireland youth international McClean got a standing ovation when he replaced Aiden McGeady just minutes before Simon Cox cancelled out a Milan Baros goal.

“There were goosebumps and it was a tremendous reception,” said McClean afterwards as the 22-year-old admitted he is thinking of Poland this summer.

“It is something that I’ve dreamed of since I was a boy. It something that will live with me for the rest of my life.”

“The reception when I came on was fantastic. I am over the moon about my debut,” declared McClean after his Aviva Stadium bow.

“I am just delighted to have made my debut, it is stuff that dreams are made of and something I have dreamed about since I was a kid.

“First and foremost my main focus now is to play well for Sunderland week in and week out, improve with every game and with that, you never know what may come in the summer.”
Sunderland team-mate John O’Shea said: “I haven’t heard a noise that loud for a long time, it was fantastic and he deserved it.

“He has made a fantastic impact at club level and I am sure for the future of Ireland it is going to be amazing. He has been great and long may it continue.”
Former Irish international Jason McAteer wanted to see more of McClean in the green shirt.

“Everyone expected to see him a lot earlier and I would have liked to have seen him get more time on the pitch,” World Cup legend McAteer told Sky Sports.

“I would like to have seen him get longer. We know what Hunty is all about and what Cox is all about. It would have been nice of Trapattoni to throw him on a lot earlier.”

James McClean, SunderlandEMPICS Sport