MIDFIELDER Harry Arter’s World Cup dream is still alive after he helped the Republic of Ireland clinch second spot in their qualifying group.

The 27-year-old Cherries star likened securing a play-off place on the road to Russia with that of gaining promotion to the Premier League in 2015.

A 1-0 win in Cardiff saw Ireland leapfrog opponents Wales into second in Group D and secure a place in next month’s play-offs.

Arter played a significant role in James McClean’s winner when he dummied Jeff Hendrick’s pull-back to leave the West Brom man with time and space to pull the trigger.

The final whistle sparked celebrations on and off the pitch at Cardiff City Stadium and the Cherries ace insisted they were scenes he would treasure.

Arter said: “These moments you really want to try to take in. 

“In football you have a lot more lows than you do highs and when you have a moment like that you want to sit back and really take it in.

“When I reflected on it, the only similar feeling was when I got promoted to the Premier League with Bournemouth. That was the best experience I’ve had in football.

“This definitely was up there with it.”

Injury cruelly denied the former Woking man the opportunity to take part for the Boys in Green at Euro 2016. 

But with his major tournament ambitions still alive, Arter believes the entire Ireland set-up are “fighters” with the desire to book their place in Russia.

“Ultimately we came here against Wales, who needed the same thing against us and it was a tight game but our determination got us there,” he added.

“It’s what this group is made of. We are fighters. 

“We might not be blessed with superstars like other nations, but we have got the togetherness and the willingness to get results and that’s what pulled us through.”

However, Arter later revealed not all of his team-mates were convinced he had been quite as astute with his part in the decisive goal as it appeared.

He said with a smile: “A few of the lads think it was a bit lucky but I knew what I was doing.

“I didn’t get a shout but I could sense there was a player behind me. 

“I didn’t know it was James exactly but I could sense someone was there so, thankfully, I did leave it and he tucked it away nicely.”

Midfielder Arter had been an injury concern ahead of the international break after missing Cherries’ Premier League clashes against Everton and Leicester City with an Achilles problem.