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Dunne gives green light

RICHARD DUNNE is relishing another Euro qualifying campaign with Ireland.

Fresh from his heroics as he put in a fine man of the match peformance in QPR’s last gasp play off win over Derby, the Irishman said: “I’ll be available after the summer. I’d love to be included in September, I’d love to play again.

“We’ll just see how it goes over the summer and see what the manager decides.

“I spoke to Martin O’Neill before the Serbia friendly in March and we had a chat, so he knows the situation.”

Dunne has been excused from Irelan’s end of season friendl;ies following a long, gruelling season with QPR.

Dunne, 34, says he decided not to play in the end-of-season friendlies because he felt he needed a break from the game.

“Basically I needed a rest,” he said.

“Ireland play until 10 June and after a year out I’ve played 49 games, which personally I think is a good achievement, and another four games would be too much.”

Ten-man Queens Park Rangers snatched a 90th-minute goal through substitute Bobby Zamora to clinch promotion against Derby County in the Championship play off final at Wembley on Saturday.

After QPR were reduced to 10 men when Gary O’Neil was sent off in the 60th minute, Derby laid siege to their opponents’ goal but could not find a way past a well-drilled defence in a match billed as the richest in world football.

With extra-time beckoning, Zamora curled a delightful finish into the corner of the net after Irishman Richard Keogh failed to clear the ball.

Promotion is worth at least £80 million for QPR, who return to the top flight after one season in the Championship.

Following a lacklustre first half, Derby dominated after the break but Steve McClaren’s usually free-scoring side were left to rue their failure to get on the scoresheet.

It was the second time Zamora had scored the only goal to clinch victory in a Championship play-off final having struck the winner for West Ham United against Preston North End in 2005.

“I scored the winner for West Ham to get back in the Premier League as well but this was equally important,” said the well-travelled striker.

“It was a massive game and I’m so pleased for all of the lads.

“To score the winner in the play-offs is a magnificent feeling. I never thought it would have happened again. We’ve worked hard all year, we really have.

“We’ve got a great togetherness, after the last play-off game(a 2-1 semi-final victory over Wigan Athletic) we were never going to die, we fight to the end and we did that again today.”

WINNING

Asked if he could see his side winning late on, QPR manager Harry Redknapp said: “No way. We were bang under the cosh.

“They had the extra man and we looked like we were tired. We were desperate and then we go and get a fantastic goal. What a finish.”

Redknapp felt midfielder O’Neil might have been shown a yellow card for his challenge on forward Johnny Russell and said the sending off had left Rangers defending for their lives.

“I thought he wasn’t the last man, there was another defender behind him,” added Redknapp.

“We were bang in trouble but we showed great character and it was amazing. That was a one-off where you stand on the touchline, hanging on for grim death and get a goal like that.

“I wanted to do it for the people here (at Wembley), theowners and the players. They are fantastic people.”


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