Tuesday 20 March 2018

Sammon won't dwell on missed chance

Damian Spellman

Conor Sammon will not dwell on the one that got away after passing up a great chance to open his account for the Republic of Ireland.

The 26-year-old Derby striker is yet to score a senior goal for his country, but gave himself the opportunity to mark his seventh cap by doing exactly that in the most rarefied of company in New York during the early hours of this morning.


With Ireland and reigning world and European champions Spain locked together at 0-0 with 27 minutes played at Yankee Stadium, Sammon caught Barcelona star Gerard Pique napping and went one on one with keeper Victor Valdes, only to push his shot wide of the far post.


However, he insists he is not one to fret about missed opportunities and will not be losing any sleep over it.


Sammon said: "No, there's no point dwelling on things like that. I am delighted to have made another appearance for the team.


"Yes, it would have been brilliant, it would have capped off a great night to get on the scoresheet - and who knows what way the game would have gone if we had gone in front. But no, I won't be dwelling on it.


"It was just a long ball up the field and I could see Pique maybe in two minds as to whether I was going to go for it or not.


"I just caught him off guard and suddenly, I had a few touches and I was in on goal and just looked to place it into that far corner.


"It was really good to get into that position and it does show that these world-class players are human and make mistakes."


Ireland went on to lose the game 2-0 on a night when Spain dominated proceedings, but struggled to break down the Republic's stubborn resistance.


It was two substitutes who eventually did the trick, Roberto Soldado firing the Spanish ahead after 69 minutes and Juan Mata making sure of victory at the death.


However, in the meantime, James McClean had forced one fine save from replacement keeper Iker Casillas, and an offside flag came to Spain's rescue seconds later after Sean St Ledger had fired home following another good Casillas stop from Stephen Kelly.


Sammon said: "At the time, I thought there was no way that could be offside - I went off celebrating and didn't even realise that it was offside.


"Then James' as well - he did everything right, he got his foot through the ball and struck it well, but credit to the keeper.


"I don't know how much he knew about it, but he kept it out of the net."


The defeat was just Ireland's second in their last nine games, and in the circumstances, not unexpected.


However, the friendly draw in England on May 29 and the wins over Georgia and the Faroe Islands which followed it have given a new-look squad cause for optimism.


Only two of the men who started last night - St Ledger and skipper Robbie Keane - did so against Spain in last summer's Euro 2012 finals, but with Sammon, Wes Hoolahan and Jeff Hendrick having joined youngsters Seamus Coleman and James McCarthy in pushing the senior men all the way, Trapattoni's options appear to have increased.


Sammon said: "That's always a healthy thing, to have competition for places.


"It gets the best out of boys and it will give us as a country the best possible chance of qualifying and being part of the major tournaments, which is the ambition of everyone here amongst the players and the staff."

Press Association

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