GALWAY UNITED striker Karl Sheppard hopes that his 25-minute cameo appearance against Manchester United on Wednesday night could help his chances of a cross-channel move.
The Dubliner has been in superb form for Sean Connor's side this season, scoring seven goals for Galway, and that form was evident when he came on as a second-half sub for the Airtricity League XI against Manchester United.
Former Everton man Sheppard had two good chances in the last 10 minutes, first when his header from a Ger O'Brien cross was saved by United keeper Ben Amos, and again in the last minute when Sheppard's shot was kept out by Amos.
Sheppard has been linked with a move abroad and he knows that his display against United, where he was name-checked by United captain John O'Shea, did his cause no harm.
"It's nice to hear praise from someone like John O'Shea, who is one of the best defenders in the world and the captain of Manchester United. That was a big boost to my confidence," Sheppard told the Herald.
"I think we all did ourselves proud in the game at the Aviva Stadium the other night but hopefully I did myself some good as well, to put yourself up against the likes of Rooney and Owen is a great test.
"I have had a good six months now since I joined Galway. A few months ago, after I left Everton, I was at rock bottom but I have gone from that low to a high of playing against Manchester United in front of 50,000 fans and being linked with clubs. My confidence is sky high.
"I nearly scored in the game but I was delighted to see Dave Mulcahy from Pats get the goal as he's in good form with his club at the minute. I thought I would score but the United keeper just made himself big and I wasn't able to get past him.
"Until a move happens I am a Galway United player and that's where my focus is. The United game is gone now and I have my attention on our game against Sporting Fingal tonight at Terryland."
He admits he had a difficult time during his three-year spell at Everton but Sheppard is keen to get back to England and he has ruled out, for now at least, a move to the continent or to a rival League of Ireland club.
Galway boss Connor described the attempt by Shamrock Rovers to land Sheppard as "cheeky".
"It was a stressful time before the transfer window closed as I was fighting hard to keep Karl and Stephen O'Donnell," said Connor.
"We had what I'd call a cheeky bid from Shamrock Rovers, and cheeky is being nice. It was pathetic to be honest. The good thing was that Karl came out and admitted that he didn't want to move to another Irish club for money as he's not motivated by money."