McShane hoping for opportunity to be Ireland's lucky charm
PAUL McSHANE hopes that he can be Ireland's lucky omen for tonight's Euro 2012 clash with Italy.
The two nations last met in a friendly, played in Belgium, last June and it was one of the highlights of McShane's career as the Wicklow lad had the honour of captaining Ireland to a 2-0 win over a full-strength Italian side.
As a friendly there was nothing at stake for Ireland then and tonight's game in Poznan will also have no real meaning in an Irish sense as the team are coming home tomorrow.
The fact that Trapattoni has named his starting XI and has, disappointingly, gone with the same XI which started against Croatia in the 3-1 defeat, means that fringe players who have yet to get on the field at the Euros, like McShane, Stephen Kelly and Darron Gibson, will be disappointed again.
McShane says he's disappointed to have been left on the bench for the tournament so far but he hopes that he can get at least some minutes on the field tonight.
"We have lost the last two games so maybe changes are needed, but it's up to the manager to decide what to do tonight. It's his decision and you have to trust his management," McShane told the Herald.
"Every time I play I give it all I have, and that will never change. I can't say that I would have done better than the lads who did play against Croatia and Spain, you can't know that. It's unfortunate that we had lapses in concentration at critical times and it cost us. But if I play at some stage tonight hopefully I can add a bit more.
"Maybe the planning for 2014 starts now. A few of the lads haven't played yet so they're looking to get a game tonight and put in a good performance to show the manager what they can do.
"I was captain the last time we played them and I'd love to get a chance to play at some stage tonight. I want to get on the pitch at some point and make an appearance in the Euros. It would be disappointing on a personal level to go home without having played," added the Hull City man, who was of course a late and controversial addition to the squad.
"We had a great win last year over Italy. We were very disciplined, very organised and played well. We ground them down in one sense and ground out a result. I have good memories of the last time we played Italy so I'm going in with a positive attitude.
"It was a career highlight for me.
"To captain your country at any stage is amazing but to be captain for a win over the Italians is something else.
"We did ourselves proud the last time we played them and I hope we can repeat that," added McShane, aware that something is needed from the Irish side tonight to make sure that the tournament gets at least a coat of gloss after two successive losses.
"We want to get at least a point on board. We need a positive result for ourselves and for our fans, who have been brilliant all along here in Poland," McShane added.
"We are disappointed to have conceded so early in both games.
"We conceded goals at a very bad time against Croatia and Spain, and that didn't help us in any way.
"We didn't give ourselves a chance to have a go as we were out of the game before it had even started in both matches."