Much was said beforehand about the changes that Martin O'Neill made to the Ireland side in advance of the win over Italy - a result that secures a date with France in the last 16 of the Euros.

Central to O'Neill's tinkering was the deployment of Shane Duffy and Richard Keogh in the heart of the Irish defence. Both players showed well when called to arms, with the Italians restricted to just a couple of second-half chances.

Afterwards, when speaking to RTÉ Sport, Duffy described Ireland's first victory at a major championships since 2002 "as the best night of his career".

He also saluted the efforts of the man alongside him.

"Richard is a top player, a top professional. He's been so helpful to me. I think we thrived off each other. People thought it was a gamble to play us but it worked out." 

The Blackburn Rovers defender also paid tribute to the spirit within the Irish camp and the support of the fans.

"You can never write us off because we've got that spirit and belief in the squad," he said.

"The fans have driven us on. You want to do it for them and do it for your country. We thrive off the big games."

Looking ahead to the date with France in Lyon on Sunday next, Duffy added: "We'll be ready for it. France won't get it easy and it would be foolish to write us off."

It was a somewhat emotional Richard Keogh who spoke to RTÉ in the aftermath of the Lille success.

"It's a special night to be part of and a special group to be part of," he proudly exclaimed.

"To represent you country at a major tournament is something that will live with you forever.

"As a squad we stick together through thick and thin, we support each other and as I say you got to be ready when the chance comes."