Thursday 17 August 2017

Colin Doyle hopes to end long wait for second Republic of Ireland cap

Bradford keeper Colin Doyle is hoping for a second Republic of Ireland cap against Mexico
Bradford keeper Colin Doyle is hoping for a second Republic of Ireland cap against Mexico

Colin Doyle is keeping his fingers crossed as he hopes for a second Republic of Ireland cap 10 years on and a few yards away from where he won his first.

In May 2007, Doyle made his senior international debut in a friendly against Ecuador at Giants Stadium in New Jersey, a venue which forever holds a place in Irish hearts after Ray Houghton famously fired the nation to victory over Italy at the 1994 World Cup finals.

A decade on, the 31-year-old Bradford keeper is in Martin O'Neill's squad for Friday morning's clash with Mexico at the new MetLife Stadium, and his memories of a feat which he is so far yet to repeat remain as fresh as ever.

Doyle said: "It was an honour playing for your country and doing it meant a lot. It was obviously disappointing not to get any more and if I can now, then it will be fantastic.

"That game was at Giants Stadium which was great for the Irish. It was brilliant - but it's a long time ago now."

Doyle's cause has not been helped by the fact that Shay Given represented Ireland with distinction for more than 20 years, while Keiren Westwood, David Forde, Darren Randolph and Rob Elliot have fought for the right to replace him in recent years.

He said with a smile: "Shay could have played until he was 50-odd, without a doubt.

"Shay was the number one for years and years, and then there was Darren and Westy as well and Fordy. Yes, it's been a strong department in Ireland, which is healthy.

"It's frustrating that I haven't got more than one cap, but it's part and parcel of being involved in squads. Hopefully, fingers crossed, I might get some sort of game."

Another Ireland appearance might go some of the way to salving the pain of League One play-off final defeat with the Bantams having succumbed to Millwall at Wembley in a game which ended with an ugly pitch invasion by Lions supporters.

Doyle said: "I was down that end. I was sitting on the ground and I saw one or two coming on to the pitch. Then all of a sudden, there were hundreds of them.

"They were saying the usual things, trying to get a reaction from you. There were a few signs in front of your face. You are used to it, you have had it before, so you just have to ignore it and try to walk away."

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