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Saturday 3 December 2016

'Home rule and home crowd will suit us in final Euro battle,' says forward Murphy

Daryl Murphy in action against Bosnia’s Toni Šunjic last Friday
Daryl Murphy in action against Bosnia’s Toni Šunjic last Friday
Ireland manager Martin O’Neill with Daryl Murphy, during squad training at Abbotstown yesterday

After a successful away day, Daryl Murphy believes that home ground will suit Ireland in their battle with Bosnia in Dublin tonight.

The last time Ireland reached the European Championship finals, it was when the hard work in a play-off was done in the away leg and Friday's 1-1 draw gives Murphy confidence that the job can be finished.

"I think we have to believe. We are on our home patch now tonight," said Murphy, who sat out part of yesterday's training session with a calf injury but hopes to be fit to keep his place in the starting XI, aware that fellow Munster man Shane Long is pressing hard to see some game time following injury.

"It was tough the away game, the conditions weren't great as you could see. But we have to believe now that we can do it tonight.

"I think I said last week that an away goal would be a decent result - that we could at least bring something back and make sure we didn't lose it here. That was the most important thing - to take something back to Dublin.

"We know the Irish fans will get behind us. Look at the Germany game, that was an unbelievable atmosphere. I'm sure this will be even better," added Murphy, who was unable to get a sight on Asmir Begovic's goal in the 1-1 draw.

The 32-year-old admitted last week that his strike rate at international level (18 caps and 0 goals bugs him and is something he's discussed with those close to him, Murphy's dad telling the striker that his first Ireland goal was bound to be an important one and was just around the corner).

Ireland were on the back foot for a lot of the game in Zenica, making access to the ball difficult for lone front-man Murphy, but he but hopes to see more of the ball, and that goal, tonight.

"I think at home we'll go out and attack more and create more chances. There weren't many chances in that game and the one we got, Robbie (Brady) took," said Murphy.

"A few of the lads were saying they didn't even see it, they didn't see who hit it or anything. But it was a great goal and that's what Robbie is all about. He had the bit of pace to get in behind, to check and he caught it sweetly."

The Ipswich man was a spectator for most of the training session at FAI HQ yesterday, but boss Martin O'Neill hopes to have the big forward available.

"It's an injury in his calf, from a kick," said O'Neill. "It's responding quite well, he feels as if he might be ok, I didn't want to risk anything."

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