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Dublin: 5 °C Saturday 22 February, 2020

Ireland's man-of-the-match finally finds his goalscoring touch in a green shirt

Daryl Murphy bagged his second and third goals for Ireland in tonight’s win.

Being congratulated by his team-mates.
Being congratulated by his team-mates.
Image: Gary Carr/INPHO

DARYL MURPHY REPAID Martin O’Neill’s faith in him with the two goals that clinched Ireland’s win tonight.

The Waterford-born striker, now 34, has never been prolific in a green jersey and took 24 caps to get off the mark in the 2-2 draw with Serbia a year ago.

However, Murphy has proved a competent goalscorer at Championship level over time and came into the game on the back of six league goals for Nottingham Forest this season.

And he produced the goods on his 30th international — volleying past Moldova goalkeeper Ilie Cebanu on two minutes before adding a second by finishing off a great move involving Stephen Ward and Wes Hoolahan midway through the first half.

“We work on things like that in training [the throw-in] and it’s come off today,” Murphy said of the first goal. “It was a nice early goal as well to settle our nerves and ease our way into the game.

The second goal was all about the ball. I just needed to direct it and thankfully it went in.”

Martin O’Neill opted to withdraw Murphy for Harry Arter with 11 minutes remaining, meaning he was unable to bag the first Irish hat-trick since Robbie Keane’s on his international farewell against Oman in August 2016.

“Not really, no,” he replied, when asked if he was disappointed to be withdrawn, “because I was absolutely knackered at that stage! It’s all about rest and recovery now.”

Daryl Murphy scores his side's second goal Murphy heading his second goal home. Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

On his good club form since joining Forest over the summer, Murphy added: “I’ve started the season well so I was always confident that if I got the chance I’d take one, and thankfully I got two.”

Ireland began brightly and although they didn’t match their first half display after the interval, it was a case of job done. Attention now turns to the trip to Cardiff and, with qualification still up for grabs, Monday night promises to be a special occasion.

The main thing is that we won,” Murphy said. “Going into the game tonight, that was what we needed. We did that and kept a clean sheet as well so that’s a bonus.

“We can only play what’s in front of us and we knew we had to win tonight. We couldn’t be thinking about any other game but now we can turn our attention to the next one. ”

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Murphy on the double and Maguire handed debut as Ireland tee up massive night in Cardiff

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Ben Blake

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