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It was an outstanding night for me

Darragh Lenihan reflects on his Ireland debut against USA and is hoping for more international action

6 July 2018

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Defender Darragh Lenihan is hoping for further international accolades after making his debut for the Republic of Ireland earlier in the summer.

The defender, who recently signed a new deal with Rovers to remain at Ewood Park until the summer of 2022, appeared for the first time for his country in May against the USA in Dublin and played a big part in the win for Martin O'Neill's side.

And he reflects on an "outstanding night" on a personal level and for the whole country following the 2-1 win against the Americans.

“Myself and Derrick [Williams] made our debuts for Ireland in the summer, which I think was a great achievement for both of us considering we were both playing in League One at the time," he began when discussing the evening with iFollow Rovers.

“You don't see many players get a call up if they are playing at that level, particularly debuts, but we are under no illusions and it will get tougher and tougher.

“It was an outstanding night. I wasn't sure if I was starting or not but I was told I'd be coming on after half an hour for John O'Shea. It was amazing considering I'd spent all those years watching Ireland play.

“It was a great achievement, not only for me but my family and friends as well. I didn't have much time to think about it and I did the best I could for my country.

“When the trip was over I reflected on it, but when you're in there you don't think about it too much. You're working with some great people; the likes of Roy Keane and Martin O'Neill, who have both achieved so much in the game and you normally only see them on the television.

“It's hard to take in, but when you reflect and realise you are playing with Premier League players, you feel really proud after stepping back."

Darragh came so close to bagging on his debut too, with his goal-bound strike being turned in on the line by fellow debutant Graham Burke.

And it turned out to be something of a bittersweet moment for Darragh!

“I was the first player from my area to play for my country, which makes me very proud. I was pleased for Graham Burke scoring, and I like to think I was the one who got him that move to Preston, who he signed for soon after scoring that goal!

“I was raging and I wasn't raging, I suppose! It would have been great to score but being a defender, it's not your job to score. We won so it was a good day all round.

“Playing at a higher level with Rovers will be huge for my chances. First and foremost I need to be doing well for Blackburn. If I do that then the call to play for Ireland will come. My focus right now is on Ipswich away on the opening day and the season as a whole."

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