herald

Sunday 20 August 2017

O'Shea on the cusp of becoming centurion

JOHN O'Shea (below) says he's not hung up on the prospect of winning his 100th international cap over the next week.

Currently on a career tally of 98 appearances for the senior international team, O'Shea can join the small list of Ireland centurions if he plays against Gibraltar on Saturday and then away to Germany on Tuesday.

Only five players from the Republic have reached the 100-cap mark: Robbie Keane (135), Shay Given (126), Kevin Kilbane (110), Steve Staunton (102) and Damien Duff (100) so it would be an achievement for O'Shea to join that club but the 33-year-old says it's not on his mind this week.

"I know all these things are brilliant, but I don't think too much about it," he said.

"It's fantastic and it's some very proud moments but more so I think for the family back home and my old clubs.

"For myself, I just get my head down and carry on. You work hard in training and you do the extra bits to keep yourself on top and stay away with injuries and that's important - if you can do that, then it builds up in terms of your appearances.

"They're very special and proud moments, but ones I'll look back on more so when I retire than right now," added O'Shea, who made his debut back in 2001 under Mick McCarthy.

O'Shea insists that the focus has to be on Saturday's Gibraltar game.

"If you look at it, you just want to win the first game," the Sunderland man says.

"If you've got any ambition of qualifying for a major tournament, you've got to win it.

"Thankfully we got off to a great start in the tournament with the two goals from Aiden McGeady against Georgia giving us a 2-1 win out there. And hopefully we'll be going into the Germany game with a bit of confidence.

"They've had some fantastic players retire of late and got some new lads coming in so maybe that's something we can benefit from, but if we're honest they're not bad players either!"

afitzmaurice@herald.ie

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