JOHN EGAN said it was the proudest night of his career as he was given the Republic of Ireland captain’s armband for their friendly with Bulgaria at the Aviva Stadium on Tuesday evening.
The Bishopstown native led Mick McCarthy’s men to a 3-1 win on a night when fellow Corkonians Alan Browne and Kevin Long netted their first goals for their country.
“It is the proudest night of my career,” admitted Egan.
“I found out on the morning on our walk, the gaffer just pulled me and told me that I was going to lead the lads out.
“I’m a proud Irishman and captaining your country is the pinnacle of your career.
“I know it was only a friendly, but nobody can ever take this away from me and I am delighted with that now.
“Hopefully, moving forward, we can take these last two results into next month and keep doing well in the group.
“It’s fantastic. I’m buzzing for the two lads getting on the scoresheet and it was a proud night for myself captaining my country so it was a brilliant night as round.”
The Sheffield United defender conceded a penalty that allowed Bulgaria to equalise in the second half, but he insisted he was happy with his performance as he looks to try and cement his place in the Irish back four.
“It comes with the territory, you can’t get too down about them things, these things happen,” added the 26-year-old.
“Your thought is just to go and win the game and I think as a group we collected ourselves up from that and we go got going, got the two goals and got the win which was the main thing.
“I’m happy with my performance. Obviously the penalty is probably a blot on the copybook, but these things happen when you are a centre-half so you can’t get too down about them because then it will throw you off your game.
“I thought as a team we played well on the night, we controlled the ball well enough and we managed to open them up especially in the second half.
“We created a few chances, got some goals, to score three goals and get the win is brilliant and I’m delighted with the win.
“The lads are doing well — the team are doing very well — they haven’t conceded many goals so I just have to keep my head down keep doing well at Sheffield United, keep playing well for them and when I come in I just have to do well in training.
“If I’m given a chance I have to try and play well, stake my claim but sometimes the team does well and you have to wait.”