Tuesday 26 September 2017

Patience pays off for Dunne with first start in green shirt

John Fallon

IT TOOK so long for Charles Dunne to acquire his Irish passport that only the thoughts of his first international start today against Montenegro made the wait tolerable.

Very little was known about the Wycombe Wanderers defender on these shores when his first U-21 international call-up arrived in August, but within weeks Paul Ince was forking out €300,000 to tie him to Blackpool.

Also unknown was the arduous journey that Dunne was forced to take to set the wheels in motion to declare for Ireland through his Galway-born mother.

Not until many years after first expressing an interest in pledging his allegiance to Ireland did he earn his first cap last Friday against the Faroe Islands at the Showgrounds, Sligo.

PROSPECTS

Today, he is in line for a first start when Ireland take on Montenegro requiring victory to enhance their qualification prospects for the U-21 European Championship finals in the Czech Republic in 2015.

"I wanted to play for Ireland from a few years back but I wasn't really sure how to go about declaring," explained Dunne.

"It was my club (Wycombe) that explained to me that I needed to get my Irish passport sorted out.

"That dragged on for a long time but eventually the call came in August."

Noel King's charges will have to be at their best to beat Montenego, who are currently joint second with Ireland behind the trailblazing Germans, with whom they drew last Friday.

"We know it will be tough but let's not forget that several members of this squad played in the 4-2 win away to Italy just over a year ago, so we've got to believe," said King.

IRELAND (probable) – S McDermott (Sandnes Ulf); C Dunne (Wycombe Wanderers), S Duffy (Yeovil Town), D Williams (Bristol City), S McGinty (Sheffield Utd); C Reilly (Birmingham City), S Carruthers (MK Dons); A Forde (Wolves), S Murray (Watford), J Grealish (Notts County); A O'Brien (Millwall).

Irish Independent

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