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5 Irish players who could make an impact in the Championship playoffs

The free-scoring Daryl Murphy and others who could make a difference tonight.

Updated at 19.00

1. Alan Judge (Brentford)

Soccer - Sky Bet Championship - Reading v Brentford - Madejski Stadium Source: Steve Paston

BLESSED WITH A wonderful right foot, the Dubliner has been a key player for Brentford since signing from Blackburn in 2014. Son of former Shamrock Rovers and FAI Cup-winning captain with Bray, Dermot, the 26-year-old winger will be hoping to emulate his father by lifting some silverware come the end of May.

2. Daryl Murphy (Ipswich)

Soccer - Sky Bet League Championship - Fulham v Ipswich Town - Craven Cottage Source: Scott Heavey

Comfortably the league’s top scorer with 27 goals, Daryl Murphy is the Championship’s answer to Harry Kane with power, intelligence and no shortage of skill in his game. Too often wasted out on the wing, the former Waterford United striker is finally blossoming as a striker at 32. More so than most, he deserves one final stab at the Premier League, which he first played in earlier in his career at Sunderland.

3. Wes Hoolahan (Norwich)

Soccer - Sky Bet Championship - Leeds United v Norwich City - Elland Road Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Recently voted onto the Championship team of the decade, Hoolahan has been a revelation for Norwich at times this season, with his creativity and eye for a pass frequently helping to break teams down. Having at one stage last season seemed set to leave the club, the 32-year-old ex-Shels star has proved to be one of their main men again this season.

4. Jay Tabb (Ipswich)

Soccer - Sky Bet Championship - Nottingham Forest v Ipswich Town - City Ground Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

The former Ireland U21 international could face the club he made over 100 appearances for at the start of his career, Brentford, should Ipswich reach the final. Tabb has been a regular for the Tractor Boys this season and at 31, he is a veteran of the lower leagues, and also played briefly with Reading in the top flight. In addition, having competed in the playoffs more than once already, the midfielder possesses the type of experience and nous that should serve Mick McCarthy’s side well in their upcoming games.

5. Jonathan Douglas (Brentford)

Soccer - Pre-Season Friendly - Brentford v Crystal Palace - Griffin Park Source: Robin Parker

Another player who is more than familiar with the lower leagues, at 33, the Monaghan-born midfielder has made over 150 appearances for Brentford since joining from Swindon in 2011. A regular for his side this season, scoring eight goals during the campaign, he began his career with Blackburn in the Premier League and would love to finish it there too.

Upcoming semi-final fixtures:

Friday 15 May

Middlesbrough v Brentford (Agg: 1-2) (7.45pm)

Saturday 16 May

Norwich v Ipswich (Agg: 1-1) (12.15pm)

- Originally published 7 May 9.15pm

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About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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