The Leesider has grown in stature across the campaign and has been in fine form for Hull City in the Championship recently, so deservedly led out the side in the absence of Seamus Coleman and Jonathan Walters. The result sees Ireland maintain third position on 16 points, with Wales one point ahead of them in second, and leaders Serbia two points clear at the top of Group D after they suffered a 3-2 defeat in Austria.
“It was a very proud moment for me and my family to captain the team tonight and I was only told an hour before kick-off.
“We are still in there fighting but the Moldova game was always going to be a tough one for us. They are no mugs but they didn’t cause us too many problems and we restricted them to long-distance shots on goal. Darren (Randolph) had to pull off one great save but overall we were comfortable,” said Irish skipper Meyler, whose father John was a Cork hurling selector and U21 boss this year, and is now strongly linked with the senior job.
Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane celebrated their new FAI contracts with a routine win but it will be a different kettle of leeks in Cardiff in 48 hours’ time. A two-goal blast from Daryl Murphy did the trick on a night former Cork City striker Seanie Maguire made his debut, while Wales did the business away to Georgia.
“We were totally focused on Moldova,” said Meyler, “and we worked hard to get the result and now we can start thinking about Wales and we will be ready for it. We produced a good match-winning performance and I think there’s more to come for us in Cardiff.”