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'He's playing for his country so it's something that we fully support and would never try and change it'

 

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Graham Burke, right, and Alan Browne during training

Graham Burke, right, and Alan Browne during training

Graham Burke, right, and Alan Browne during training

Shamrock Rovers star Graham Burke says he's happy to try and balance his duties with club and country this week even though it means missing out on a vital game for the Hoops on Friday night.

Burke made his senior Ireland debut in the 2-0 defeat to France, the first Rovers man to win a cap since Pat Byrne in 1986, and he could add to that tally as he's been kept in the squad for Saturday's home friendly with the USA.

While Martin O'Neill has agreed to let keeper Shane Supple play for his club, Bohemians, on Friday night (away to Limerick), Burke will not feature for Rovers at home to Dundalk, suggesting that O'Neill sees him playing some role against America.

"I knew yesterday that I wasn't going to play in the game. I don't know if that has anything to do with Saturday, Martin hasn't said anything to me. I'm just focusing on training and being here with the team. That's all I really know about it," Burke told the media after Thursday's training session with Ireland.

"Obviously, we're still in season so I need to play the games for my club. To get the opportunity to do this is just about balancing the two and I think it has worked out well."

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Hoops boss Stephen Bradley admits that Burke will be missed for the Dundalk game but the player has his blessing.

"It does mean he'll miss our game on Friday. You're obviously gutted to be missing him for a big game for us but he's worked so hard. He's produced for us and now he's getting his just rewards for playing for Ireland. He's playing for his country so it's something that we fully support and would never try and change it," says Bradley.

"It's an unbelievable achievement for Graham to be capped by Ireland. If you think back to when we signed him, he'd lost his way a bit in terms of football and he got disillusioned with everything.

"He's come in, worked really hard on and off the field to improve every part of his game and he's got the rewards. It's a fantastic achievement for him and it's great for the club and the league that you have a player that comes on in the Stade de France on Monday and is an Ireland international."

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