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Dublin: -2°C Sunday 11 April 2021

'I can’t put it into words... it’s been a mad couple of weeks for me'

Young Irish defender Dara O’Shea grabbed his first goal for Championship leaders West Brom yesterday.

Dara O'Shea is congratulated by Jake Livermore after scoring in West Bromwich Albion's victory against Millwall.
Dara O'Shea is congratulated by Jake Livermore after scoring in West Bromwich Albion's victory against Millwall.
Image: Adam Davy

DARA O’SHEA HAS described yesterday’s goal for West Bromwich Albion as the realisation of a dream.

The 20-year-old Dubliner’s glancing header from an 84th-minute corner capped a 2-0 victory at Millwall, which extended his side’s lead at the top of the Championship to four points.

A first senior goal is the latest milestone in the blossoming career of O’Shea, who joined West Brom from St Kevin’s Boys at the age of 16.

He has recently managed to establish himself in the first-team picture under Slaven Bilic, who handed the youngster his Championship debut in December.

Primarily a central defender, O’Shea has now made four consecutive starts for West Brom at right-back, enhancing his reputation with each outing.

The club’s faith in the player was reflected in the new three-and-a-half-year contract he was rewarded with last month.

“I can’t put it into words,” O’Shea told West Bromwich Albion’s website after his goal against Millwall. “It’s been a mad couple of weeks for me and even getting into the team was a huge thing for me and a dream come true.

“To score my first goal – I’ve always dreamt of it but I never thought it would actually come. I’m buzzing but the main thing was to get the win here in tough conditions and to try and, I suppose, get a run going again.

“I didn’t actually know I’d scored. I knew I’d got a good connection and that it was going towards the goal but I kind of looked around in disbelief that it had gone in. But then I saw the lads celebrating so I couldn’t believe it. My girlfriend was here today too so that was nice.”

adam-idah-celebrates-with-dara-oshea-after-the-game Dara O'Shea (right) celebrating with Adam Idah after the Ireland U21 side's win over Luxembourg last March. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

After ending a two-month wait for an away win in the league, West Brom have put some daylight between themselves and Leeds United, who stumbled on Saturday by losing at Nottingham Forest.

“It was definitely one of our best performances this season and these are the kind that win leagues,” O’Shea said. “We knew what we had to do today and we knew the conditions and pitch weren’t great. We knew what a tough side Millwall are as well. But we started the game bright and the second half too, which really set the tone.

“It wasn’t one of the easiest games today but I quite enjoy these games because it shows everyone’s character when we pull through. The wind wasn’t great but what can you do? It was the same for Millwall but we came out better.”

As well as progressing with his club, O’Shea has become a key player for his country at U21 level by featuring in 10 of the 12 games played by Stephen Kenny’s side in 2019.

He was given the captain’s armband in the absence of Jayson Molumby – who was on the losing side with Millwall yesterday – for the win in Armenia in November.

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Paul Dollery

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