NEARLY SIX YEARS have passed since Daryl Murphy last lined out for Ireland so it is understandable that he felt the international ship may have sailed on a couple of occasions.
Not since the 1-1 draw against Norway in 2008 has the Waterford native donned the green jersey but a new lease of life under Mick McCarthy at Ipswich Town has seen the 30-year-old recalled by Martin O’Neill.
Murphy was aware that the Ireland boss had been to watch him in recent weeks but admits being pleasantly surprised to learn he was named in the squad to take on Serbia at Lansdowne Road tomorrow.
“At stages I did (think my chance was gone),” said Murphy. “I probably thought it was a bit too long out of the scene. But I just thought that if I was doing well at club level then maybe I might get a chance.
“I found out that he (O’Neill) was at the game a few weeks ago so I went out and tried to do my best. We drew the game 0-0 which wasn’t good but it was a bit of a surprise when I found out eventually that I was in the squad.
“I’ve settled straight back into it really. It has been good to see the lads that I haven’t seen in awhile so it’s definitely good to be back.”
Murphy, who played under Roy Keane at Sunderland, is excited about tomorrow’s friendly after attending O’Neill’s first game (the win over Latvia) as a fan.
With all-time record goalscorer Robbie Keane not around, there is likely to be opportunities for the other strikers to impress and Murphy is relishing the prospect of making a return.
We’ve got some good strikers in the squad. Shane Long has scored his fair share of goals, Kevin Doyle, John Walters, players like that. With Robbie out we’ll see who is going to play but I’m sure they will all be well up for it.”
With nine goals this season for the Tractor Boys, Murphy is enjoying a spell of consistency and puts it down to the confidence to excel in his favoured position which has been instilled by his club manager.
“I think I’ve brought more consistency to my game which was lacking throughout my career,” he explains.
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“The manager (Mick McCarthy) has been brilliantly since he came in. He told me that he would play me as a striker and I played well I’d stay in the team and that has been the case. I’ve been playing regularly and scoring the odd few goals.
“Maybe I was a bit naive when I was younger and took things for granted. As you grow older you mature a lot and that has done good for me.
“Over the last few years I have not had a run of games that I would have liked to and but the gaffer came in he told me he was going to be a striker and play me there and nowhere else.
“That gave me a lift in itself and I’ve been staying in the team so I want to finish off the season well.
“I’ve been played as a left midfielder for most of my career. It’s good if you’re playing but I know deep down that I can do a better job as a striker. I think this season I’ve shown that.”