The Ireland defender spoke to Off The Ball about the atmosphere in the Ireland camp and the fantastic end to the qualifying campaign.
Ireland international John O'Shea spoke to Ger on Off The Ball on Saturday about life in the Ireland set up as the team gears up for the Euros in the summer.
While O'Shea stated that club football has to come first at the moment, given that Sunderland find themselves in a very difficult position in the league, he did add that the atmosphere around the national team has been superb in the recent games.
"When you go through the qualification the way we did and the playoffs, it is something we're obviously excited about, and the whole country is too".
That change in the public mood around the team has been reflected in the way that the supporters have become more vocal, and O'Shea noted that the team were aware of that out on the pitch: "The Aviva was a bit more comfortable for opposing teams than Landsdowne Road. That was an older stadium, but we're in a brilliant new stadium now and we've started to make it a bit of a fortress for ourselves with the last few result we've had there.
"That's something you need going forward with campaigns in the World Cup, that teams are not going to enjoy it like they have done in the past".
Image: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne
Speaking about the differences in the performances between the slow start to the campaign and the amazing finish, including a famous win over Germany, O'Shea stated that the defensive solidity was the bedrock that it was all built on.
"Defensively all throughout the campaign it was one of our stronger points, and I think then that was the basis to build on. That's not just the back four, that's the midfielders and the attackers putting in amazing efforts and thankfully we started to score more goals".
The team struggled in a number of games to get results, in particular after a tough match against Scotland at home, but he noted that every tie in a qualifier has its own difficulties.
"To the general public, they see that Ireland are playing Georgia away, and they mark that down straight away as a clear win. These teams are being coached better, their systems are better and they have individuals that can hurt you".
"After the Scotland game in the summer, when we'd really felt that we'd done enough to win the game and were the better team on the day, we were disappointed. Not just ourselves, but the whole atmosphere around the team went a bit flat. We wanted to cancel out the result in Glasgow and the momentum took a bit of a dip, and then you have the whole summer to dwell over it".
Image: Darren Rabdolph and John O’Shea celebrate after the Germany game. ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne
However, it was never a question for O'Shea that they should keep fighting for qualification. He also stated that, along with a number of other experienced players who had returned for this campaign, there was no doubt that he would put the green jersey on again.
"That was your dream growing up as a kid; to play for your country, to try and get to major tournaments. You're not just going to give up on those things. Obviously, there were a few of the lads that had retired and the experience around the squad would have been limited [so] you feel that you have something to offer and that's the most important thing, to do it on the pitch".
Speaking about his future in the game, O'Shea said that he's not planning too far ahead, given that anything can happen in football, but when it comes to the national setup, he has no plans to give up any time soon.
"I've always thought that your country should retire you, rather than you retire from your country. Hopefully that's the case where more payers keep coming through, taking the headlines and breaking into Premier League teams and getting higher up and showing that they deserve to be in the team".
"That's why you come over and show that commitment, but it's a natural thing for someone like myself growing up in Waterford, to show that commitment and to want to play for your country".
Turning to the tournament itself, O'Shea talked about the draw that Ireland have gotten, and that there would have been no easy path through to the knockout stages.
"Any draw is going to be tough because you're at the peak of the tournament, getting the elite teams that have qualified [...] On paper you say it's difficult, but Germany were difficult too".
"I think as well, between ourselves and Sweden, ultimately you'll be looking at that [first] game thinking 'wow, if we can get a win...', but I've learned from the last campaign that you really have to treat each game individually, not thinking 'this is where you get your points'".
Ending on a positive note, O'Shea added that they "have everything in place to make sure this is a success", as they look forward to a huge occasion in the summer for both the team and the country.