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'The first day, he told me he wanted me to be his main man'

Daryl Murphy brushes off Mick McCarthy ‘banter’ and hails his club manager’s influence.

Murphy arrived in Ireland camp on the back of a hat-trick for Ipswich last weekend.
Murphy arrived in Ireland camp on the back of a hat-trick for Ipswich last weekend.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

TIME IS RUNNING out in the waiting game and as Friday draws closer, it looks more and more likely that Daryl Murphy will start up front for Ireland in Zenica.

Even if Shane Long does channel some Lazarus-level powers of recovery, there’s every reason to believe that Martin O’Neill will prefer the bustle and brawn of Murphy in the first leg against Bosnia-Herzegovina.

It would be the biggest game of the Ipswich Town striker’s career, bar none, but he’s relishing the chance to be his country’s main man.

It’s a role that Mick McCarthy has earmarked for him at club level since the day they met.

“He has been brilliant,” Murphy said today when asked about the former Ireland boss’s influence on his game.

From day one when he came in at Ipswich, I was playing left midfield a lot under the previous manager, and the first day he told me I was going to play as a striker and he wanted me to be his main man.

Murphy was still on loan from Celtic when McCarthy arrived at Portman Road three years ago but that deal was made permanent the following summer, and the Waterford native began to blossom.

He had his best season in 2013/2014, scoring 13 goals, before exploding in a magnificent streak last year which saw him net a remarkable 27 times and finish as top scorer in the Championship.

“It was just a little boost really, having the faith he showed in me,” he added. “It came through in my game.

“The next season was obviously a great season. He has helped me a lot and hopefully he will continue to do so.”

Daryl Murphy with Mats Hummels Murphy started in the 1-0 win against Germany last month. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

On the back of that goal glut, it was no surprise when Murphy was offered a new two-year deal at Ipswich last summer, but he has failed to match those heights this season.

Or, more accurately, he had failed until he ended a 13-game league drought with a hat-trick in the win over Rotherham last weekend.

McCarthy greeted the breakthrough with typically sardonic wit. “Welcome back Murph,” he said. “We don’t want to see your sister again who’s been playing in recent weeks.”

The comments made headlines but Murphy brushed them off.

It’s just a little bit of banter between me and the manager. We always have it. I had a giggle at that one alright.

Jon Walters’ suspension and Long’s expected absence leaves him front and centre now among O’Neill’s attacking options for Friday.

“I hope to be involved obviously,” he said. “Who knows what the manager is thinking? He could have different options.

“If I’m involved, I’ll definitely be ready.”

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Niall Kelly

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