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Thursday 14 December 2017

Murphy still has hope for green jersey

DARYL Murphy was in action for his club in the capital yesterday, just a few miles away from the Ireland training camp where Giovanni Trapattoni was making his final preparations for tomorrow's Euro 2012 qualifier in Slovakia.

But it seems that the Ireland squad is a million miles away for Murphy (pictured) right now as the former Sunderland man, despite some impressive displays up front at Celtic with an all-Ireland attack alongside Dubliner Anthony Stokes, has fallen way down the pecking order.

But even though it's more than two years since he even made it into the Ireland squad, let alone won a cap, Murphy retains hope of playing for his country again.

"Of course, I would prefer to be in the Irish squad," Murphy said after appearing for Neil Lennon's side in their 4-1 friendly win over Bohemians at Dalymount Park.

"I went to the Russia game on Friday and it wasn't great, to be honest. I'd prefer to be there than here, but that's the way things are. I just need to start playing more and get into the Celtic team on a regular basis.

"I was in the squad before and was third-choice striker behind Robbie and Doyler, and then out of nowhere I wasn't in the squad. It's something I have to just deal with and concentrate on Celtic.

"I feel I could contribute and do a job for Ireland but it's not up to me, it's up to the manager," added Murphy.

The former Waterford United man was handed his international debut by Steve Staunton against Ecuador in 2007 and he won six caps under 'Stan', including three appearances in the unsussessful Euro 2008 qualifying campaign.

Things started off well under Staunton's successor as Murphy, then at Sunderland, played under Trapattoni against Serbia and Norway, but since that draw in Oslo back in 2008 he hasn't worn the green shirt -- and the last time he even featured was when he was on the bench for the 0-0 draw away to Montenegro in October 2008, sitting alongside players such as Andy Reid and Damien Delaney, who have followed Murphy into the international wilderness and not played again.

But Murphy has been revived by a move from the fringes at the Stadium of Light to a key role at Celtic -- and so far the move has worked.

"It's a massive club and you don't get many chances at Celtic, you have to take the chance when it comes along," he said. "At the minute it is going well, but we have a lot of players and a lot of competition for places. If you play, you have to do well to stay in the team.

"I enjoyed my time on loan at Ipswich last season. I scored some important goals there and played every game, so that was pleasing to be back playing. I got that hunger back again because I had been on the bench -- or not even in the squad -- at Sunderland for such a long time that it wasn't enjoyable. I have the hunger back again, I want to win things as I am not getting any younger.

"It was good to get another 90 minutes under my belt," he said after scoring twice for Celtic in the Dalymount win. In the last few games for Celtic I have been coming off the bench and playing a few minutes so it was nice to get a game in."

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