Ireland and Cox confident ahead of play-offs despite Doyle’s red card


REPUBLIC OF IRELAND striker Simon Cox insists his side can look forward with confidence to the Euro 2012 play-offs despite the nervous nature of their victory against 10-man Armenia last night.

Ireland themselves were forced to play the closing stages a man light after Kevin Doyle was awarded a second yellow card, a result of an alleged elbow on defender Karlen Mkrtchyan, and the Wolves forward will now miss at least the first-leg of next month’s play-off.

Armenia, who started the match just a point behind Ireland in Group B, suffered a huge setback in the 26th minute when they lost goalkeeper Roman Berezovsky to a red card for handball, and the visitors fell behind just before the break when Valeri Aleksanyan put through his own net.

Richard Dunne doubled the lead in the 59th minute and although Armenia received a double boost through Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s goal and Doyle’s dismissal, Giovanni Trapattoni’s men held on.

Ireland’s most recent attempts to qualify for a major tournament via a play-off ended in major controversy when Thierry Henry’s handball for France cost the Republic a place at the 2010 World Cup.

But looking ahead to the play-offs, Cox insisted past failures will not be clouding Ireland’s thoughts, saying: “We showed tonight we can play as well as anybody and as I said it’ll be luck of the draw who we get. We’ll take them and we’ll go full steam ahead into the game and we probably won’t even think about France or any other play-off defeat that we’ve had.”