But no complaints, it is what it is, our first defeat in four years here.
In Europe, the side that top each of the nine groups reaches the finals, while the best eight of nine runners-up go into November's play-offs.
"We look forward to these games because I've been in positions where I didn't know if I'd still be in a job if I'd lost that next game".
Wales dominated the clash throughout, but Ireland executed a solid game plan to ensure their campaign continues into next month.
"They are at home so they have that advantage".
But 10 minutes before the break, the Stoke City man was caught in a hefty challenge between McClean and David Meyler, and was assessed by medical staff before having to be substituted.
Shane Duffy came closest for the visitors with his effort from the far side of the box, but the shot drifted well wide of the target.
Wales started the second half brightly and it took a brilliant acrobatic save from Randolph to prevent Robson-Kanu putting them in front with a header from Jonny Williams's right-wing cross.
"That last half hour seemed an eternity", Ireland manager Martin O'Neill said.
In the 57th minute, Jeff Hendrick forced a turnover, then took the ball into the corner and placed a pass into the box that was perfectly primed for McClean's right foot.
With the group on a knife-edge, the two sides met at the Cardiff City Stadium this evening with the victor guaranteed a playoff spot at the minimum.
Wales were not quite inventive and creative enough around the Irish penalty area tonight.
"We had to come here and win in Cardiff and we've come through".
In Vienna, McClean's victor came from Irish pressing and quick movement of the ball along with a drilled right footed finish and it was the similar in Cardiff just before the hour mark.
"We obviously missed Joe Allen who is pivotal to us and how we play so that obviously affected us a little bit, him going off".
"There's a chance I can, there's a chance that I won't".
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