EURO 2016: Jonathan Walters the hero as Ireland qualify


Come on down, the Republic or Ireland, you’re the next contestant to qualify for the 2016 European Championship in France, following your 2-0 second-leg playoff victory (3-1 on aggregate) over Bosnia-Herzegovina on Monday.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s EURO coverage ]

Oh, to be inside (and eventually outside) a Dublin pub this evening…

Ireland grabbed their second goal of the two-leg tie through a rather questionable penalty decision, given for handball against Senad Lulic in the 18th minute. Stoke City midfielder Jonathan Walters stepped up and converted the spot kick, sending Chelsea goalkeeper Asmir Begovic sprawling to his left and calmly rolling the ball just inside the opposite post.

With 20 minutes left in regular time and a single Bosnian goal threatening extra time, it was once again Walters who popped up at the most opportune of moments and places, to hammer home a free volley at the far post after Robbie Brady‘s header was sent looping high into the air.

EURO 2016 will represent Ireland’s third all-time appearance (1988 and 2012) at the European Championship, and the sixth major tournament qualification (1990, 1994 and 2002 World Cup) in their history, all of which have been achieved since 1988.