Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni 'proud' of team

Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni spoke of his pride after his side secured a place in the Euro 2012 finals in Poland and Ukraine.

The Republic cruised to a 5-1 aggregate win over Estonia in the play-off with Tuesday night's 1-1 draw at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.

"Making the European Championship after 25 years is like a big trophy," said the Italian after the second leg.

"For me, for us, for all of the FAI, we are proud about our jobs."

He added: "The second game is always difficult because this team was humiliated at home, and I said to the players 'be careful, because these are not like the ones we met in Estonia'.

Republic keeper Shay Given was at fault for Estonia's only goal over the two legs but he was delighted to get through.

It's the best experience I've had in football

Richard Dunne Republic of Ireland defender

He said: "It's a historic moment. It's been a long 16 months but we're extremely happy. We deserved it and we'll celebrate for sure."

The Aston Villa goalkeeper admitted it was a strange night given his side's huge advantage from the first leg.

"It was a little bit, and for the crowd, because we were four goals ahead from the first leg and then five in the first half," he added.

"But we're just going to enjoy the atmosphere now.

"I think the lads deserve it. It's been a long road and we'll look forward to next summer."

Striker Robbie Keane, whose two goals in the first leg helped to put the tie beyond the Estonians, added that it was a special moment to to seal qualification in Dublin.

"Look at the crowd here - I think that says it all," said Keane in front of jubilant scenes in the stands.

Did you know?

  • The Republic of Ireland last qualified for the European Championships 24 years ago - a record gap between appearances which is matched by France (1960-1984) and Greece (1980-2004).

"It's a great night for everyone - the fans, the players - it's a night that we'll never forget.

"Full credit to everyone who's involved in the squad. This is why we play football, for situations like this."

Given's Aston Villa team-mate Richard Dunne was delighted to be part of the side which booked the Republic's first major tournament appearance since 2002.

"It's the best experience I've had in football," said the centre-back.

"We've walked around Lansdowne Road a few times with nothing to show for it at the end of campaigns, so to qualify here is special for everyone.

"Everybody wants to play in a major tournament and now to have the opportunity is going to be great, but I think for everyone in the squad it's about enjoying this moment and enjoying the qualification."