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Friday 15 November 2019

McCarthy takes notice of Leahy

Airtricity League, Bohemians v Waterford, Live RTÉ (KO 8.0)

Darragh Leahy is one of the U21 players who caught the eye of Ireland senior boss Mick McCarthy
Darragh Leahy is one of the U21 players who caught the eye of Ireland senior boss Mick McCarthy

Mick McCarthy tossed around some of the names who impressed him from the Irish U21 team's win over Armenia in Dublin last week.

Aaron Connolly, Jayson Molumby, Troy Parrott all got a mention as did "the left back".

McCarthy didn't pick out Darragh Leahy by name, only position, but the point was made: so the Bohemians defender, who was uncapped by the previous U21 manager Noel King, but has started every game under current boss Stephen Kenny, had made his mark.

Until this campaign, Bohs had gone 10 years without having a player in the Ireland U21 side: now they have two in the starting XI, though Tuesday's win in Sweden could be costly for the Phibsboro club ahead of a busy week - games against Waterford (tonight) and Crumlin United (Monday) as Danny Mandroiu picked up a hip injury.

But Leahy is loving his double life as an Ireland U21 star and a regular for a Bohs side who hope to finish the season with a European place sealed for next season, recognition from McCarthy an added bonus.

"I didn't know Mick McCarthy had spoken about me until you just told me, that's nice to hear, I must be doing something right," says Leahy.

"I didn't go out in that game against Armenia to try and impress Mick McCarthy, I went out to play the way I always do, you have to be yourself and play your game and not get caught up in anything else.

"It was a great week, two wins but beating Sweden away was huge and could be very important in terms of qualification," says Leahy.

"We were really good in Sweden. It could have been 3-1 to us at the break as we'd had so many chances, we just couldn't stick them away.

"But we kept our heads, we dominated possession and got the three goals."

He has come a long way since he came home to Dublin, after an unfulfilling experience at Coventry City, at the start of last year.

"The best thing was for me to come home and I know I fell on my feet with Bohs," says the former St Kevin's Boys player.

"Keith Long and Trevor Croly gave me the chance to play first-team football, instead of being stuck in the reserves or non-league in England, it made me fall in love with football again.

"And I am in no hurry to move on, if something comes up I'll look at it but I won't jump at any offer to get away, I am no rush as I am enjoying life at Bohemians."

Leahy has to park his international career for a month now and face up to the day job at Bohemians, three games in the next week where three wins will go a long way towards making it to Europe.

But winning games has been a struggle for Bohs of late, who laboured in FAI Cup wins over lower-league opposition and won just once in the last four in the league.

"Since the mid-season break we haven't hit the same heights, and the fixture list was tough on us, but we know what we have and hopefully our season kicks off tonight."

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