Sunderland veteran John O’Shea’s Euro 2016 joy

John O'Shea celebrates with Richard Keogh and Seamus Coleman
John O'Shea celebrates with Richard Keogh and Seamus Coleman
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Sunderland’s John O’Shea will play for his country at next year’s Euro 2016 finals.

The veteran defender was used as a very late substitute following injury as the Republic of Ireland beat Bosnia-Herzegovina 2-0 in Dublin to seal their place on a 3-1 aggregate.

Jonathan Walters was the two-goal hero for the Irish.

Six years to the week after Irish hearts were broken by the unseen Thierry Henry handball which cost them a place at the 2010 World Cup finals, the Republic benefited from an equally suspect decision against unfortunate defender Ervin Zukanovic which allowed Walters to open the scoring from the spot.

But the game remained in the balance until the Stoke frontman dispatched a volley past former team-mate Asmir Begovic 20 minutes from time to wrap up victory.

Ireland will take part in a second successive European finals tournament having qualified via the play-offs, an achievement which will extend manager Martin O’Neill’s existing contract and surely make the agreement of a longer-term deal which is understood to be on the table a formality.