Ciaran Clark says Republic win over Poland is "massive lift'
Ciaran Clark insisted that the Republic of Ireland's friendly win over Poland would give the squad a "massive lift" for next month's World Cup qualifiers against Sweden and Austria.
Clark and Wes Hoolahan both scored their first international goals as the Republic took a 2-0 win over the Poles.
"We defended well from the start," said Aston Villa defender Clark.
"They looked the dominant side (in the first half) but we weathered the storm. We can take confidence from that."
Remaining Republic of Ireland World Cup qualifiers
- 22 March 2013 - Sweden (away)
- 26 March 2013 - Austria (home)
- 7 June 2013 - Faroe Islands (h)
- 6 Sept 2013 - Sweden (h)
- 10 Sept 2013 - Austria (a)
- 11 Oct 2013 - Germany (a)
- 15 Oct 2013 - Kazakhstan (h)
The 23-year-old added:"We've got a couple of important games coming up and we've got a good base to work on."
The Villa defender described his first-half goal, as he produced a cool left-foot finish from 10 yards, as "the best feeling I've ever had".
Substitute Hoolahan, 30, was also thrilled with his superb 76th-minute goal as he delivered a composed finish after a glorious pass from debutant Jeff Hendrick, who had only been introduced for his first cap five minutes earlier.
"To score for my country is probably one of the proudest things I've done," said the Norwich midfielder.
"The boys defended brilliantly in the first half and Ciaran came up with an important goal."
Despite his impressive late cameo, Hoolahan was cautious about his prospects of starting the qualifier in Sweden on 22 March.
"All I can do is do my best when I'm called upon and hopefully tonight proved what I can do. I don't know?" said Hoolahan.
Manager Giovanni Trapattoni appeared to hint after the game that he is likely to revert to his more regular line-up in next month's qualifiers.
"We have no need to change many, many players," said the Republic boss.
Trapattoni added that his young team had "suffered very, very much" in a first half largely dominated by the Poles.
"Poland played very well but our organisation and balance was very good.
"But after the (first) goal, we played better. We had more personality and the new players, played very, very well.
"We are happy with the result."