McShane: I will be there for Ireland
He's just 90 minutes away from a return to Wembley after helping to steer his Reading side into the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, but for Paul McShane, club duties will never be allowed to get in the way of his international career as the veteran insists he would never snub a call-up to the Irish squad.
Reading had a number of heroes in their 3-1 win at home over Premier League side West Brom, Royals boss Brian McDermott singling out Simon Cox - the forgotten man of the Irish scene - for praise after an impressive display in what was Cox's first start for Reading since August.
But McShane was one of their stand-out performers, the captain leading by example to score the equalising goal (his first goal in 10 months) and set Reading on the way to their 3-1 win, with ex-Dundalk man Michael Hector and Lucas Piazon also on target.
The Cup run brings some joy to Reading in what has been a frustrating season, but international football has also brought frustration for McShane, who has played just once for Ireland since Martin O'Neill took over in 2013, but the 30-year-old says he will always make himself available no matter what.
"I would always answer the call but it's not a difficult one for me - you are playing for your country and that is an honour," says McShane, who was first capped in 2006.
"It's an honour to be even called upon as I know lads who would give their right arm just to be in that squad, or get on the bench. So it's not an issue for me if I don't play, I will keep turning up until the day I'm told not to, and if needed I will be there.
"I know as there were times when I wasn't in the squad, I felt gutted, so I will stay in the fight, the longer you are in the fight the better the chance you have," he added, the Wicklow native on a high after that win over his former club.
"This is what you're in football for.
"You want to go and achieve as much as you can - we want to get to Wembley, in the semi-final again, and to go a step further and reach the final this year," said McShane. "From a season that looks like it's not gone the way we've wanted, it could now end up being a memorable season.
"So hopefully we can do that - we'll see who we've got in the next round, and take it from there.
"I'm glad to get on the scoresheet because it's been a bit of a long wait for me.
"I go up for every corner so I need to be getting on the scoresheet a little bit more.
"I've had chances, hit the post and crossbar a couple of times; I'm just glad that it's gone in."