ireland lynchpin whely important.
Byline: PAUL O'HEHIR
GLENN WHELAN is Ireland's midfield general who will always get down and dirty for the cause.
That's the view of Ireland boss Mick McCarthy who has hailed the 35-year-old in the wake of the 1-1 draw with Switzerland.
Capped 88 times, the veteran is relishing his second coming on the international stage having been cast aside by Martin O'Neill in the latter stages of his reign.
He was brought back to captain the team against Northern Ireland last November, but that was seen as his swansong as O'Neill was moving on.
But Whelan refused to retire and then O'Neill was replaced, paving the way for a remarkable return to prominence.
McCarthy lured him back and couldn't be happier with the contribution of the new Hearts recruit so far in this campaign. Ireland's midfield was blown open by Switzerland but its deepest lying component - Whelan - kept the wolves from the door.
And he was ably supported by centre-backs Shane Duffy and Richard Keogh behind him.
Of Whelan, McCarthy said: "He has brought experience and real quality in that position.
"Does he open teams up with wonderful, raking passes? Well, sometimes, but that's not particularly his job.
"He sits there and does that dirty stuff which is vital in the modern game. He protects his centre backs and just keeps it ticking over."
Whelan went close to scoring just before David McGoldrick's equaliser after smashing the crossbar from distance and McCarthy said: "It would have been lovely if he scored."
as hard as nails Glenn Whelan put in his usual energy against the Swiss