Murphy out to break his international drought and fire Ireland to the Euros
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Having ended his Ipswich Town goal drought in style, Daryl Murphy has now set his sights on firing the Republic of Ireland into next summer’s European Championships.
The Blues front man finished the 2014/15 campaign as the Championship’s 27-goal top scorer, then failed to score in his first 15 clubs appearances this season before bagging a hat-trick in Saturday’s 5-2 victory at Rotherham.
It was a timely confidence boost given that he is now likely to play a major role in Ireland’s winner-takes-all two-legged qualification play-off against Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Martin O’Neill’s men – who finished third in Group D behind Germany and Poland – are at the modest Bilino Polje Stadium in Zenica this evening, with the return fixture in Dublin on Monday evening.
“They’re massive games, absolutely massive, because who doesn’t want to play in the Euros?” said Murphy, who, aged 32, knows this is realistically his last chance to play at a major international tournament.
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“Win the games and we’re there, so all the boys are absolutely buzzing for it.”
The 16-cap striker, who was recalled to the international fold in 2014 following a six-year absence, is yet to score for his country. There is a good chance he will be start on Friday though given that fellow front men Shane Long (ankle) and Jonathan Walters (suspended) are unavailable.
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“Scoring a hat-trick gives me the chance to be involved now,” said Murphy. “The manager will have seen I scored a hat-trick and there are a few injuries and suspensions, so hopefully I’ll be involved.
“I’m still looking for my first Ireland goal so last weekend will hopefully give me the confidence to go on and get that.
“The first game is on Friday night and it would be absolutely brilliant if I could get a goal in that.”
Blues boss Mick McCarthy, who sampled play-off joy and heartache as Ireland boss, said: “I don’t pick other managers’ teams, but I would imagine Daryl has put himself back in Martin O’Neill’s plans. Now he’s got the free-scoring Daryl Murphy for the Bosnia game.”
Town striker David McGoldrick (groin) has been forced to withdraw from the Ireland squad through injury.