A SUNNY Sunday in Dublin started well for Wes Hoolahan as his mates from Sheriff YC won the first of two games played at Lansdowne Road – and then the Norwich City man went out and played some stirring stuff himself in the Ireland shirt.
Amazingly, the 31-year-old was yesterday starting an international for the first time but Hoolahan took to the role and the big stage with ease, posing the question as to why he has been so ignored at international level over the years, especially in the years between his senior debut in 2008 and his first start in 2013.
Maybe there was an omen for Hoolahan in the fact that his local club won the curtain-raiser, Sheriff YC winning the FAI Junior Cup.
"A few of the boys were playing and I just missed them. But I'm glad they won 5-4 on penalties. It was a good day all round," said Hoolahan, who comes from Portland Row, just a long throw away from Sheriff's base in the north inner-city.
"It's nice to get my first start and it was nice to be out there. It was a good performance, the lads were great and it was a good win in the end.
"It was nice to get on the ball. It helped that they went down to 10 men as well, so we had a lot of time on the ball and we created a lot of chances. In the second-half especially we looked quite strong going forward," added Hoolahan, who hopes that he has done enough to stay in the side for Friday's game at home to the Faroe Islands, where James McCarthy is missing due to suspension.
"Hopefully," he said when asked about that game. "You just want to keep doing well and hopefully I'll do well in training this week. If I'm called upon I'll do a good job.
"Obviously the manager has to make two changes (Shane Long and James McCarthy are suspended). They are two big players and they are going to be missed. Last night you saw how good they are.
"We will miss them but there are good enough players in the squad to hopefully take their place."