Ireland qualified for the European Championship finals in France next year when they defeated Bosnia-Herzegovina 2-0 in the Aviva Stadium. The team qualified on a 3-1 aggregate having tied the first leg 1-1 in with a valuable away goal.
The Irish hero was striker Jonathan Walters who scored two goals, one in each half, the first coming from the penalty spot after 24 minutes.
Ireland 1-0 B & H - A handball and a Walters penalty separates the 2 at HT Harsh penalty? Courtesy: Sky pic.twitter.com/46QAGQd9i8
— fanatix (@therealfanatix) November 16, 2015
Almost six years to the day of former French player Thierry Henry's handball while scoring the goal that destroyed Ireland's hopes of traveling to the 2010 FIFA World Cup, commentators have said that the handball penalty decision may have been harsh on the Bosnian team.
The ball can be seen to strike Ervin Zukanovic's arm (above) but it's hard to saw if the touch was deliberate.
The Stoke City striker's second goal at 70 minutes, however, was a wonderful volley after a beautiful free kick by Robbie Brady which Walters struck after a deflection by a Bosnian defender.
Speaking of his second goal, Walters said Robbie Brady had told him he was aiming at the far post where Walters positioned himself.
The Bosnians came close near the end hitting the crossbar and putting Irish hearts in their mouth.
Robbie Brady was named man of the match, somewhat of a surprise given Walter’s contribution. Ciaran Clark and and Richard Keogh also had strong games.
Didn't take long ... pic.twitter.com/IrZjBFRXVP
— Alan Smith (@alansmith90) November 16, 2015
Despite Ireland’s great win against the current world champions Germany, who they beat 1-0 in Dublin earlier this year, they had initially failed to qualify for the championships, coming in third place in their group. The play-off with Bosnia was their final chance to clinch a spot alongside England and Northern Ireland for the 2016 championships.