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Evan Ferguson hails ‘unbelievable experience’ of making senior Ireland debut

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Ireland international Evan Ferguson with pupils Cillian Walsh and Roisín O'Reilly during the launch of Football for All - Futsal in the Yard programme at Scoil Chiaráin in Glasnevin, Dublin. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Ireland international Evan Ferguson with pupils Cillian Walsh and Roisín O'Reilly during the launch of Football for All - Futsal in the Yard programme at Scoil Chiaráin in Glasnevin, Dublin. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Ireland international Evan Ferguson with pupils Cillian Walsh and Roisín O'Reilly during the launch of Football for All - Futsal in the Yard programme at Scoil Chiaráin in Glasnevin, Dublin. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Ireland striker Evan Ferguson says fulfilling a childhood dream of making his senior international debut last week was ‘unbelievable’.

The 18-year-old was a surprise inclusion in Stephen Kenny’s squad this month.

The Ireland boss, who was without several strikers through injury, admitted it was an ‘early promotion’ for Ferguson, but added he may be in contention for the Euro qualifiers next March should he depart Brighton and play regular senior football on loan.

The Bettystown native made a late cameo appearance in the home defeat to Norway last Thursday, and played the last 13 minutes of Sunday’s win over Malta. He admits his senior debut went by in a flash, but says there is no feeling like it.

“It was an unbelievable experience,” said Ferguson, speaking at an FAI Football For All Futsal In The Yard event on Thursday.

“I got a call from Stephen the morning before (the squad announcement) to let me know I was in it. You’re just so focused on the game and the moment. After you’re looking around and seeing people chanting, there’s no other feeling like it.

"You see it growing up for years and years, then you’re like ‘I’m actually doing it’. You get taken back.

“It just went very quickly, that’s all I remember.

“I remember watching Ireland games. Parking about 20 minutes away and having to walk over the bridge (to the Aviva) and everyone chanting.

“Do you know the man with the bell? I remember hearing that. Then when you hear it when you’re playing it’s like ‘you’re actually doing something’.”

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If Ferguson hit the net last week he would have eclipsed Robbie Keane’s record and became Ireland’s youngest goalscorer. Although it wasn’t to be, the Brighton striker hopes to get another chance in Euro qualifying next year.

“He (Kenny) just said ‘right, you’re coming on’ and the next minute or so I was on the pitch. I just tried to come in and train well. I thought I did alright, so I was just lucky enough to get the chance," he said.

“Everybody wants to be involved. You just have to see how your form is and try to keep pushing on. Stephen is going to pick the squad he thinks is best to get us qualified.”


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