Head high for Egan and Hourihane after Cork pair debut for Ireland

Head high for Egan and Hourihane after Cork pair debut for Ireland
Republic of Ireland's John Egan with Jon Dadi Bodvarsson of Iceland. Picture: INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Noel Spillane

Soccer

IT WAS bordering on a Cork international selection at the Aviva Stadium as Conor Hourihane and John Egan made their senior debuts and former Cork City striker Kevin Doyle led the attack against Iceland last night.

Four other Cork connections - Colin Doyle, Shane Long, Daryl Horgan and David Meyler - were on the bench for this friendly with our Vikings cousins that ended in a narrow win for the visiting team. Doyle and Meyler are Leeside natives, while Long and Horgan, who came on for his debut in the second half, are former City players.

The Republic of Ireland team that faced Iceland, back row, from left to right, James McClean, Cyrus Christie, Keiren Westwood, Alex Pearce, Conor Hourihane and John Egan. Front row, from left to right, Kevin Doyle, Jonathan Hayes, Robbie Brady, Aiden McGeady and Jeff Hendrick. Picture: David Maher/Sportsfile
The Republic of Ireland team that faced Iceland, back row, from left to right, James McClean, Cyrus Christie, Keiren Westwood, Alex Pearce, Conor Hourihane and John Egan. Front row, from left to right, Kevin Doyle, Jonathan Hayes, Robbie Brady, Aiden McGeady and Jeff Hendrick. Picture: David Maher/Sportsfile

“It was a very proud moment for me and something I have always dreamed of but it was a pity that we couldn’t get the win," said Egan afterwards. "It’s always disappointing when you lose a game like this in Dublin.

Overall, I am proud to have made my debut and I have a souvenir of it as well. I got caught with a stray elbow in the opening minute and that was a welcome to international football for me,” said the Bishopstown man.

“These things happen in games, you get knocked about but you have to get up and get on with it.

"I think I did okay perhaps I could have done a bit better but it was my first game at this level. I need to keep the head down now and keep working hard at club level and try and get into future squads,” he added.

“The jump up from club football to international level is a lot more technical and it’s a bit different for the Championship cross-channel. I only found out I was in the team when we got to the stadium and the gaffer named the team. He just told me to go out and play my own game and enjoy it. It’s a game of football and it’s a simple game and just do your best,” he added.

Conor Hourihane admitted to being a bit nervous beforehand.

Republic of Ireland's Conor Hourihane (left) and Iceland's Aron Sigurdarson battle for the ball. Picture: Niall Carson/PA Wire. 
Republic of Ireland's Conor Hourihane (left) and Iceland's Aron Sigurdarson battle for the ball. Picture: Niall Carson/PA Wire. 

“It’s nice to get that first cap under the belt and hopefully we can crack on from here. We passed the ball well but we didn’t create a great deal of chances.

"There wasn’t much in it at the end and we only got to play and get at them when Daryl Horgan came on in the second half.

"It was nice to get that first start and hopefully there will be many more to come in the future,” said the Bandon man.

“There was a bit of debate going on in the dressing room at half-time about the goal but the bottom line was that we got the wall all wrong and it was disappointing to concede a goal like that.

"You dream of your debut and winning three or four nil at home and it being a fairytale but it wasn’t to be,” he told me in a busy mixed zone.

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