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Daryl Murphy gets among goals at just the right time for Ireland

Daryl Murphy (centre) during a training session at the FAI National Training Centre in Dublin on Tuesday
Picture: PA 
Andy Watters in Dublin

WITH Jon Walters suspended and Shane Long’s fitness in serious doubt, the timing of Daryl Murphy’s return to form was impeccable.

The Ipswich Town striker hadn’t scored all season until he netted a hat-trick against Rotherham last Saturday to put himself in the frame to start against Bosnia-Herzegovina in Zenica on Friday night. 

“It was nice - it was about time,” said former Celtic frontman Murphy on Tuesday. 

“It was a little relief and I just felt back to myself the last couple of weeks, fitness-wise and sharpness- wise. I’m getting a lot of chances and it’s just a case of taking one of them. I hoped I’d get another few once the first one went in and thankfully that was the case.”

Club manager Mick McCarthy joked that Murphy had been playing like his sister until he ended his scoring drought, but the striker says he hadn’t felt under any undue pressure to come up with goals.

“I was disappointed that I hadn’t scored but many managers have told me ‘when you’re not getting chances, that’s when you have to worry’,” he said.

“I was getting chances and it wasn’t really affecting me. It was disappointing that we had a few draws and I had a few chances to score that I didn’t take but thankfully it all came together on Saturday.

“I wanted to score too much that I was snatching at things whereas usually if you’re after scoring before it comes naturally to you, what you do in front of goal and that. I was maybe trying a bit too hard. 

“I was still working away on the training ground and finishing and stuff like that but it’s different to game- related stuff and you have a split second to make a decision on what you’re going to do and if you make the pick the wrong choice you mightn’t score but I thought on Saturday I took advantage of the situation that I found myself in and I was happy with the finishing.”

Murphy hasn’t scored for Ireland in 16 appearances and breaking his duck on his first away start would be another excellent piece of timing. 

“I said to my dad a while ago, ‘I’ve still not scored for my country, I’ve had a few chances, I should have scored’,” he said.

“And he was like, ‘maybe you’re waiting for a big game. Maybe it will be a goal that really matters?’ And that’s the way you have to think really, if involved or whatever, if I get a chance, I’ve got to take it. 

“It would be nice. I don’t want to look back not having scored for my country. With a few appearances, you want to look back and say: ‘Yeah I’ve scored for my country but it was a big goal for my country as well’.”

Murphy says that the Republic need to take home a “positive result” from Friday night - a 2-1 loss might be better than a scoreless draw.

“It’s going to be tough,” he predicted. 

“We know that. It’s going to be a bit of a hostile atmosphere over there. What is the capacity? Only 12,000? We’ve to forget about all that and focus on what we need to do. We need a positive result coming back from Bosnia for the second game.

“A 2-1 defeat could be a positive result, but I don’t think we’ll be looking at it like that. We’ll obviously want a draw at least. That would be good, to bring back home. We’ll obviously go to try and win the game.”

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