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Dara O’Shea during a Republic of Ireland training session at the FAI National Training Center in Abbotstown. Photo: Seb Daly / Sports File

Aidan Fitzmaurice

Before capturing the national team en route to 72 caps, Kenny Cunningham once said that it would take him up to his 15th international match before he was in felt at home in international football.

Dara O’Shea is cut from the same cloth as Cunningham – a Dubliner who was an all-round athlete who was probably good enough to play for the senior-level dubs when he was Ignored the reputation of football and stuck to Gaelic football – but to the West The Brom player finds out he has to grow up very quickly on the international stage, no time for bedding when thrown in the deep .

Wednesday’s game in Serbia was only the fifth international match for O’Shea and he will almost certainly play against Luxembourg tonight, where a goal is considered essential, no bonus, etc. nd a defeat would be fatal to Ireland’s hopes.

Senior football has been a tough test, with only one goal (a boring 0-0 win against Bulgaria) conceded in its five internationals, and O’Shea finds that the respite that Learning curve that Cunningham needed is not currently available. Needs need, Ireland needs O’Shea and Ireland needs a win.

“It’s great to have the opportunity to play these games, games for your country where something is at stake, something at stake It’s about sinking or swimming, you have to take the opportunity, football is about taking opportunities and not looking too far ahead, “says O’Shea.

” It went very quickly obviously it feels great for me to play. But I don’t just want to play, I want to win. I want to dominate. I have to take everything I can and use this experience in the future.

“We have some great players here, some players who have had so many internationals for their country and who have captained their country. I want to do that instead, so I have to take something and use that in the future.

“It’s difficult when you have a short time to turn around. Everyone is sore after Wednesday night’s game, but everyone is recovering well. They’re doing their part and doing their best to prepare properly and I think this game will come at a good time. “

Irish morale was violated by this defeat to Serbia in Belgrade, but O’Shea literally bore the scars of battle when he had a bruise on his forehead, the result of a clash with Aleksandar Mitrovic, the bulky Serbian Striker who came out of the race bank and spurred his country to victory with two goals. “I was just kicked in the head by Mitrovic during the game. I’m not sure when it happened,” says O’Shea, wiping the wound to focus on the job at hand.

” You have to be ready to take your body somewhere. As a defender, I have to give everything and place my body where other players might not. Especially for your country, you have to do that, “he says. His youthful body is from Playing in the shirt of St. Jude’s, where multiple All-Ireland winner Kevin McManamon was a club-mate.

The St. Kevin’s Boys graduate made his Irish U-21 debut against Luxembourg this week three years ago , a pretty easy 3-0 win at a time when Stephen Kenny made the U-21, but tonight’s test is a different level.

His club have conceded more goals this season than any other Premier League Team, and the Baggies appear for the championship to be obliged but tonight he’s on a team that starts the game as clear favorites.

“Obviously, Luxembourg has stepped up lately and has had some good performances and results. They are still a threat, we can see that we cannot switch them off and we know that we cannot switch off as a defensive unit and it’s up to the guys up front to do their bit too, “he added.” So it’s all collective, but Luxembourg is definitely not going to roll for us, it’s a big job too. “

In like this Putting on and wearing the green shirt at many of the big games at such a young age is another task that O’Shea would like to tackle head on.

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