Pair earn Trapattoni praise

Republic boss hails Long and Fahey

Long: Top performer

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Giovanni Trapattoni has hailed the performances of Shane Long and Keith Fahey against Slovakia.

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The Republic of Ireland picked up a vital point in Zilina on Tuesday, with a 1-1 draw helping to keep them in the hunt for Euro 2012 qualification.

The result would have been ever better for Trapattoni's men had Robbie Keane not squandered a first-half penalty, but there were still plenty of positives to be taken from the game.

Among them were the showings of Long and Fahey, who are expected to be central to the Republic's cause for many years to come.

Trapattoni said: "I thought Shane Long and Keith Fahey played great games. For the future we can have confidence in them knowing the options we have in the squad.

"We have time in the future, our next game is a friendly. I can maybe play one or two other young players and we can start the qualification again with more confidence."

Balanced

The midweek stalemate with Slovakia has taken Ireland onto seven points from their four games so far.

That return sees them well-placed in Group B, but the battle to secure a safe passage to Ukraine and Poland looks set to go down to the wire.

"Our group is very balanced," said Trapattoni.

"Russia won but only 1-0 and Macedonia missed a penalty.

"There are many situations that can happen. It's not about today or tomorrow, there are many games.

"It's important we believe in our performance, our attitude and our system."