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Saturday 3 December 2016

Hendrick is loving club atmosphere with Ireland

Irish international Jeff Hendrick presents his international jersey and kit which he
wore in the European Championship clash with France to Stuart Hayden, manager of
the Irish Deaf International soccer team at The Deaf Village in Cabra, Dublin. Pictured
with Jeff and Stuart are (l-r) Eamon Byrne, Jason Maguire, Ciaran Lowney, Jeff
Hendrick, Adrian McCluskey, Daniel Landers and Sean Young. Pic: Sportsfile
Irish international Jeff Hendrick presents his international jersey and kit which he wore in the European Championship clash with France to Stuart Hayden, manager of the Irish Deaf International soccer team at The Deaf Village in Cabra, Dublin. Pictured with Jeff and Stuart are (l-r) Eamon Byrne, Jason Maguire, Ciaran Lowney, Jeff Hendrick, Adrian McCluskey, Daniel Landers and Sean Young. Pic: Sportsfile

Jeff Hendrick has echoed Ireland's boss Martin O'Neill's assertion that his players have formed a very close bond comparable with the atmosphere at a club.

"Someone said it to me that there is a special feeling around the group. When you think about it, there is," send Hendrick after visiting the Deaf Village complex in Cabra.

"We have a WhatsApp group, there is good banter. It's good to keep in touch with them, they're my friends and I get on with all of them

"People come in, we had a lot of injuries, People would have written us off before the game, but you've players stepping in and doing jobs.

"Sometimes in football it's the little things. When you've got to dig deep and work hard. It's not the pretty side of football but people have to do that.

"Every player in that team is willing to do that for our country, when you look at it that way it is a special group.

"It's been great since I've been in there. But I think the main thing over the last two years or so, I think we've got a good feeling, a bit more belief in the group," he said.

"We always had a good togetherness but I think the belief is the main thing. We don't really fear anyone. We've talked about that a few times now because of the teams we've beaten and picked up points against.

"I think we've grown in confidence, I think it showed on Saturday in the second half, I think we're learning from previous games and we need to keep doing that if we want to carry on and lead the group." Expectation hit the roof the moment Ireland banked three points in Vienna and there has been much talk of winning Group D but Hendrick only has eyes for Wales.

"We're not thinking of that. All we're thinking of is the game against Wales now. That's our priority and that's our focus, when that game is done, then we're on to Austria again," he said.

Hendrick acknowledges that the team have made a big connection with Ireland's hardy away fans.

"We love playing at the Aviva but away from home, we get great support. They are as loud as the home nation," he insists.

"It's always great to have the travelling fans with us and the support they bring. "To go away to Austria and win, it's not easy, We knew it would be hard. but we've said that about most games in our group.

"It's a brilliant achievement but we're not even half way there. We've still got a lot of big games coming up. You look at the last group stages, people wrote us off and then two games later, there is some turnaround and the group looked completely different.

"We know that's what can happen. We know we have to keep fighting for the points and picking up the points wherever we can."

Hendrick was in Cabra in his role as a DeafHere ambassador to gather support for the Irish Deaf team.

"For me, it is about raising awareness, get as many players for them as possible because they've qualified for the Olympics and it would be good for them to get a few results," he said.

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