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'I'll front up for Faroes'

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CONOR SAMMON hopes he has given Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni food for thought with his display against Georgia on Sunday, as he bids to win a place in the starting XI for Friday's World Cup battle with the Faroe Islands.

The 26-year-old came off the bench in the second half of the Georgia game when Ireland had a 2-0 lead and made an instant contribution, setting up Ireland's third goal for Robbie Keane.

He has already started for Ireland in a home qualifier, the 2-2 draw at home to Austria in March, and with Shane Long suspended for the Faroes, Sammon is jostling with the likes of Simon Cox, Andy Keogh and Jonathan Walters for a place in the team.

"I'd like to think that after Sunday's game I am at least in the manager's thoughts," Sammon told The Herald.

"It's the manager's call in terms of the team he picks and he has a lot of options, I know there are a lot of strikers trying to get into the XI.

"But I know what I can do and I know in my heart that if I get called on I won't let the manager or Ireland down.

"Sunday was good for me, a friendly at home, but this game on Friday is even bigger. It's the last competitive game of the season and a match we have to win.

"Everyone in that 27-man squad is desperate to get into the team and I am no different.

 

Performance

"I was lucky enough to play against Austria in the last qualifier and I think I did well so maybe that game, and the performance on Sunday, will count for something," added the former Derry City striker.

"I have played against Poland, Austria and Georgia in the Aviva now so playing the Faroes on Friday wouldn't put me off. I'd be ready for the challenge if the manager picks me."

As Long and also James McCarthy are suspended for Friday, Trapattoni has a couple of calls to make on his starting XI.

Wes Hoolahan was superb in the win over Georgia with senior players Robbie Keane and Richard Dunne singing the praises of the Norwich City man afterwards, and one option would be to play Hoolahan in a free role between the midfield and a lone striker.

But Trap may also revert to type and ask Keane to play off a big man, a role that Sammon has filled before and could do so again.

A late bloomer, having made his international debut at the age of 26, Sammon says he is easing into the role of a senior international footballer.

 

Time

"It does take time to get into the swing of things," he admits. "I had been out of the scene at international level for a long time before Giovanni Trapattoni brought me in a few months ago for the Poland game.

"I was in the U-21s with lads like Darren O'Dea, Stephen Quinn and Richard Keogh a good few years ago, I think it was back in 2007, so there was a long gap there where I wasn't involved with Ireland.

"But it has been easy to settle into the squad. They are a good group of lads, no egos, and I have been able to enjoy the training and the games," added Sammon. "Sunday was good for me. At this stage of my international career just getting caps is great, so to come on and play a part in one of the goals was even better.

"The game on Sunday was killed by the red card for their 'keeper early on and even after that it was a slow-paced game. But we got a win, four goals and a clean sheet; you can't ask for much more than that."


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