‘We want to write our own history’ – Irish young guns hoping for special night against France
Dara O’Shea is viewing Ireland’s difficult European Championships group as a chance for a new generation to leave their legacy, starting with Monday’s showdown with France.
The West Brom defender (24) has grown into an important member of Stephen Kenny’s squad and, having travelled to Euro 2016 as a fan, he now wants a new crop to taste the big stage together.
“These are the nights we want to have as a group,” said O’Shea, “We’ve watched those nights as fans. Some of the lads have played in those and can show their expertise and knowledge and share that with us but, yeah, we want to write our own history.
“I think for me it's something I relish. As a young lad coming up, you want to play against the best to try and be the best. It's a great opportunity for lots of us, we haven't maybe played in games like this before and played against certain players, so it's a massive opportunity for us.
“At the end of the day, these are the best players in the world. It’s going to be a tough task but if we do what we do and stay concentrated – that’s the main thing, staying switched on – then we’re all good players at the end of the day, we’re playing at a high level and if we all pull together in the same direction, I think that’s going to be massive as team. It’s not going to take one individual to stop someone, it’s a team.”
The FAI have not offered an injury update on skipper Seamus Coleman, with the skipper struggling with a thigh strain.
O’Shea paid tribute to the influence of the Donegal man around the camp.
“Seamus has been amazing for this country,” he said, “He is a great human at the end of the day and as a footballer he has been unbelievable.
“He really is the leader in the group and instils that. He’s been there for the young lads coming through, you always need someone who is going to be there and welcome you with open arms and he’s been that person from the very start. It’s a young team, the average age was quite young the other day and players like him coming back into the fold are great for us.
“He’s an unbelievable player as well, it’s a great positive for us.”