herald

Tuesday 21 August 2018

Murphy in race to help Ireland

JOE MURPHY hopes he'll be fit enough to answer Ireland's call against Macedonia next month.

The 29-year-old is currently out of action with his club, Scunthorpe United, due to an ankle injury but Murphy is desperate to get back to action with club and country, especially as Shay Given's injury for the qualifier at home to Macedonia next month has pushed him closer to another Ireland cap, although Murphy is still behind Keiren Westwood in the queue to replace Given.

He's Ireland's longest-serving keeper after Given, having made his senior debut in 2003 and he also has almost 300 club appearances on his CV.

Frustrated

Murphy, who has been sidelined by an ankle injury for five weeks, knows that Westwood is likely to start against Macedonia if fit, but he's still eager to do all he can to make the trip to Dublin.

"I'll do everything in my power to get back to fitness and make the Irish squad for that game, it could be a great chance for me," Murphy told the Herald.

"I was already very frustrated with the injury that kept me out for longer than planned, but then I heard the news about Shay missing the Macedonia game so it would be even more frustrating for me to miss this squad.

Hopeful

"When I suffered the injury against Leeds last month they said I'd be out for three weeks, but it's over five weeks now and it's still not right. I go in for another scan on the ankle today and hopefully they'll give a better idea then of what's really wrong and how long I'll be out for, but I am hopeful of being fit soon and back in the Irish squad for the qualifier.

"I'm gutted for Shay that he'll miss the match as he's such an important player for Ireland, but it opens the door for someone else and now Keiren can come in and play. Westie's done well in the games he's played for Ireland and I have no worries about him doing well against Macedonia.

"With Brian Murphy injured we don't have too many keepers around so I want to be in the squad for the game in case I am needed," added Murphy.

"Alan Kelly was in touch with me when the news came out about Shay, he wanted to know where I was in terms of fitness so I'll be keeping him updated on how things go.

"I did the injury against Leeds last month, I went up for a ball but got a nudge from someone and fell on my ankle. I knew it was serious at the time because I heard a crack but I played on and finished the game, but I haven't played or even trained since then, fingers crossed I'll get some good news from the scan later today," added the former Stella Maris man.

Murphy says he has Ireland goalkeeping coach Alan Kelly to thank for his long-awaited second cap, against Algeria last summer.

The Dubliner had made his senior debut against Turkey under Brian Kerr way back in 2003 when he was at West Brom, but despite making a number of squads since then he had not played a single minute of international football, before Trapattoni put Murphy on for the closing minutes of that win over Algeria.

Minutes

"Getting a run out that day was a big thing for me, I didn't want to be a one-cap-wonder, and I had started to wonder if would ever get a second cap," says Murphy.

"Once we scored the third goal against Algeria and the win was in the bag, Alan Kelly was in the manager's ear asking him to put me on for a few minutes. I was only on for about five minutes but I'd waited seven years for that second cap so even to get a few seconds was great, hopefully there are more caps to come now."

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