Sean Murray prioritises job at hand

Watford midfielder happy to wait a bit longer for senior call-up

Tue, Mar 4, 2014, 20:13

After coming agonisingly close to his debut Republic of Ireland senior call-up, Seán Murray won’t allow it detract from this afternoon’s must-win under-21 Uefa qualifier against Montenegro at Tallaght Stadium.

The dynamo has been one of the most-watched Irish players by Martin O’Neill in an improving Watford side this season, prompting talk that the 20-year-old might be called upon for tonight’s friendly against Serbia.

Having missed out this time, albeit marginally in the view of O’Neill, there’s the important business of keeping the Under-21 European Championship 2015 finals quest alive today in their penultimate qualifier.

A scoreless draw in their last meeting in Podgorica back in November left the two nations level on eight points in Group Six behind runaway leaders Germany. That Montenegro have a game more to play places the onus on the Irish this afternoon.

“Only a win will do against Montenegro if we’re to go Germany in September for our last game with any chance of finishing second and securing a play-off,” asserted Murray, winner of the FAI Under-21 Player-of-the-Year award on Sunday.

“I just want to keep playing and hopefully, if we get through this group, it will be a longer campaign into the play-offs later in the year.

“There are some really top players in that full squad, so I don’t mind playing with the under 21’s. At least Martin O’Neill has been to see me at club level. That’s all I can ask for really.”

Ireland manager Noel King was forced into one squad change, with Carl McHugh replacing the injured Callum Reilly. Bradford City defender McHugh is expected to partner captain Shane Duffy at centre-back and Wolves striker Liam McAlinden, recently switched from Northern Ireland, could make his bow in attack.