Relief for Murphy as goal famine ends
If Aiden McGeady's goals in Georgia two years ago put Ireland on the road to France 2016, can the same be said for Daryl Murphy's headed goal in Belgrade last night, in terms of making our way to Russia 2018?
The new Newcastle United man certainly hopes so, a good night in the Balkans for the 33-year-old who picked a good time to score his first international goal, the headed effort which gave Ireland a draw.
"I had always hoped my first goal would be an important one and it was. I was delighted, it's a monkey off my back, we have come away from here with a draw," said Murphy, who came off the bench to score the crucial goal which keeps up Ireland's record of staying unbeaten after their opening game on the road in a campaign.
"It was nice, nice to come on and get the first one. I just thought that if I get a chance, I need to take it. I don't know who was marking me, but I got a bit of time on it and I made sure I got a good contact on it.
"I moved to the back, moved forward and luckily no one followed me," added Murphy, having ended his goal famine.
"You do think about it, not scoring for Ireland, but in the games I played my performances were good. I was getting chances that just weren't going, for whatever reason, saves and that. It wasn't like I was missing one on ones. I was getting good contact and they were getting away from me."
This was a game Ireland could have won - they of course had that early lead - or lost - Serbia had enough chances to win 3-1, but a draw had to do, a valuable outcome for Murphy,
"This is a very hard place to come and get a result, I don't think many teams will come here and win, as they are a good side. The officials were poor and the pitch was poor but we were very happy with the point," he says.
Stephen Quinn, an effective sub for Stephen Ward, also feels this was a valuable point. "This is a very hard place to come, a lot of things can go against you, we had a bad pitch to play on and the officials, I thought, were terrible," says the Reading man.
"They are a good side and they will do well in the campaign, but a draw away from home in a place like Serbia is a very, very good result.
"It was hard, the pitch was awful and the referee really didn't help, I thought we showed good character to keep going and I was delighted for Murpy that he came on and them came up with the goal, it was great night for him and we are all delighted for Daryl," added Quinn.