Sunday 16 December 2018

'I am under no illusions' - Aaron McCarey ready to play waiting game in battle for Ireland breakthrough

Aaron McCarey is eager to make his mark with Ireland in 2018
Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images
Aaron McCarey is eager to make his mark with Ireland in 2018 Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

Aidan Fitzmaurice

The road for some has been longer than others, but Ireland's class of '92 is starting to come together.

That's the take of Monaghan-born goalkeeper Aaron McCarey, who has taken a break this week from duties at a relegation-threatened Ross County side in the SPL to travel to Turkey with the Republic of Ireland squad ahead of Friday's friendly in Antalya.

McCarey (26) is still uncapped at senior level but as one of three rookie keepers in Martin O'Neill's squad to face Turkey (McCarey, Kieran O'Hara and Colin Doyle have just one senior cap between them), he is at least in with a chance of game time.

Also in the squad, and uncapped, are Blackburn Rovers defender Derrick Willlams and Wolves man Matt Doherty. Williams was born in 1993 but Doherty, McCarey and Jeff Hendrick were all born in 1992, and they were part of Paul Doolin's Ireland U19 side which reached the semi-finals of the European Championships in Romania in 2011.

McCarey had a brief taste of senior international football in 2013, an unused sub in a 2-0 defeat to Spain in New York under Giovanni Trapattoni but he's pleased to be back on the scene this week and have some familiar faces around.

"I was in for a USA trip under Trap, when we played Spain, it was a long time ago and the squad's changed a lot since then," says McCarey from the squad's training camp on the Turkish coast.

"The nucleus of the successful U19 squad we had in 2011 is here, a lot of us know each other.

We had a right good team then, it's good to see the likes of Derrick Williams and Matt Doherty progress to the senior squad now, it's a good experience for me and a good confidence booster.

"I am under no illusions, I am here because other people are unavailable, it's an opportunity for me to come in and get into the manager's thoughts, show him what I am capable of, there is a lot of competition, Darren Randolph has made the jersey his own for the last three or four years and he has been superb, it's tough but you have to aspire to those guys on there's no point in being involved," said McCarey.

His senior career started early when he was playing first team football with Monaghan United at the age of 17 but his career stagnated at Wolves. 

"I lost a couple of years when I went to Wolves. It's a fantastic club and I have a great love for it but I stayed a season too long," he says.

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