BY CHRIS MCNULTY
BIRTHDAY boy Seamus Coleman has spoken of the ‘massive honour’ of captaining the Republic of Ireland in tonight’s World Cup qualifier against Germany.
Coleman celebrated his 25th birthday today by being handed the captaincy by interim Irish manager Noel King after Robbie Keane was ruled out with an ankle injury.
King delayed naming his selection until the eleventh hour after Keane took a kick to the ankle at training in Dublin.
The LA Galaxy striker failed a fitness test and Coleman was handed the armband in his absence.
Although there was no result to cheer at the RheinEnergie Stadium in Cologne – where Ireland fell to a 3-0 defeat – Coleman was proud as punch at having led out his country.
“It’s a massive honour,” said the Killybegs man.
“I don’t really know what to say about it. It’s very special and it came as a shock.
“You grow up wanting these things and you’ve had the likes of Robbie Keane being captain.
“He was brilliant, he had a word with me before the game and just told me to enjoy it. It’s a massive honour for all of my family who are watching.”
Coleman was in the thick of the action and could have got in on goal in the 73rd minute.
Manuel Neuer got down to deny the marauding full-back after first saving from Anthony Stokes, who connected with Coleman’s cross after the ex-St Catherine’s and Sligo Rovers man out-paced Jerome Boating
He said: “I kind of broke free and was hoping to get in myself, but he was starting to catch up, so I seen Stokesy in there.
“I was hoping he’d put it away, but hopefully in the coming games, the moe chances he gets the more confident he’ll get in front of goal.”
It was a night for Ireland to thank David Forde, after the Millwall goalkeeper ensured that there was no repeat of the 6-1 mauling the Germans handed out in Dublin last year.
Joachim Löw’s team got the points they needed to secure qualification for Brazil 2014, but Ireland fell to a fifth defeat in a row.
Sami Khedira put them ahead on 12 minutes with André Schürrle netting a second and Mesut Özil putting the gloss with a cheeky third.
Ireland had their moments, but the Germans were dominant and, while it was another night that outlined the ground that Ireland have to make up on the top sides, skipper for the night Coleman says they’ll take encouragement.
On Tuesday night, Kazakhstan visit the Aviva Stadium for a game that draws the curtain on this campaign.
Coleman said: “We can take some positives from tonight and hopefully at home to Kazakhstan we can show how good we are on the ball and do to them what Germany did to us at times.
“Germany are a brilliant team. They’re a world class team with world class players. We had a couple of chances, but unfortunately we didn’t take them. It wasn’t to be, unfortunately.”