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Tuesday 12 November 2019

Sean will keep Irish hopes up

Norwegian-born stopper focused on cap after Dinamo disaster

GREEN FOR GO: Sean McDermott pictured in Ireland squad training last year. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
GREEN FOR GO: Sean McDermott pictured in Ireland squad training last year. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Just two weeks after he moved into his Bucharest apartment, Irish keeper Sean McDermott no longer had a need for it.

Only three games into his spell with Dinamo Bucharest, McDermott's time at the club, and his spell in Romania, was over. Now back in his native Norway and playing for his previous club Kristiansund, McDermott says he is stronger for the brief experience and he retains his ambition of being first-choice keeper with Ireland.

"It's absolutely my goal to play for Ireland. And I have more fire in me after this," McDermott told The Herald.

"I was in the Irish squad a couple of times last season while playing in the Norwegian league but I am only getting better as a player and I feel I can get back in, I feel I am more than good enough when I see the other keepers in the national team squad, I respect the coach's decision and I can only play as well as I can but I know I am good enough to be there."

Last year saw McDermott, a Norwegian native who qualified for Ireland via his Donegal-born father, made big leaps in his career. Established at club level with Norwegian side Kristiansund, he caught the eye of the Ireland set-up and was named in a couple of squads under Martin O'Neill, an unused sub for four international games in 2018.

At the turn of the year he was offered the chance to move to the once-mighty Dinamo Bucharest and he leaped at the chance. It started well for McDermott, Dinamo winning in his first two appearances as he kept back-to-back clean sheets.

His third game was less successful, a 2-1 loss, but not his fault. "The goals weren't down to me, they were normal goals," he insists.

But right away he was hit with the news that not only was he dropped for the next game, Dinamo had signed a new keeper so McDermott had been demoted from No 1 to third choice, and he knew it was time to leave. Right away.

"I signed for Dinamo as I told them I wanted to be their No 1 and the Ireland No 1, they knew all that and they felt I was coming to the right club but you can take nothing for granted in football," he admits.

"I had just moved into my apartment, my team-mates were nice guys, it was a big club with a great history and there seemed to no problem but that's the way they do things.

"After we lost 2-1, I didn't play in the next game, they played the guy who had been No 2 behind me.

"So I decided to leave, I read that the club gave me the sack but that's not true, I decided to leave, I had never heard of a situation like this where you play three games and you do ok but you go from No 1 to No 3, it was an odd way of doing things.

"And it's still going on, I read this week that they are trying to get rid of some of their players now so it was a clever decision for me to leave, it was not a clever environment for me to be in so I could develop and reach my goals.

"I needed to get out as quick as I can, I was lucky that my old club wanted to take me back and the timing was perfect.

"I took a chance in going there, it didn't work out the best for me but it was an experienced and can only make me stronger and wiser.

"Football is a funny business, when you are a kid it's the love of the game that keeps you playing, now it's to be the best I can be and that's still the same so when everything is crazy, football is not always how it should be."

With the new season in Norway due to start next week, former Arsenal trainee McDermott hopes that Ireland's goalkeeping coach, Alan Kelly, throws his eye that way.

"I hope they make the trip over to Norway to see me. It's a good level and it's on the way up, Norwegian football with the national team is also on the way up so I am in a strong league, I have to respect the coach's decisions but with the hard work I am willing to do, I am sure I will get there," he added.

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