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Tuesday 31 January 2023 Dublin: 8°C
Ben Brady/INPHO Montenegro's Ognjen Obradovic with Eiran Cashin of Ireland.
# Pride
'Now to finally say that I’m Irish and to get it done and dusted, it’s an honour to play'
Eiran Cashin was delighted to at last make his Ireland U21s debut after a delay with paperwork surrounding his eligibility.

IT TOOK longer than expected to come to fruition, but it’s fair to say Eiran Cashin’s Ireland U21 debut was worth the wait.

The Mansfield-born footballer has long been on Ireland’s radar and was originally called up to Jim Crawford’s squad back in March.

However, paperwork relating to the player’s eligibility to represent the Boys in Green took longer than expected and it was only during this international window that he was cleared to play.

And the 20-year-old looked assured on his debut, keeping a close watch on Nikola Krstović, the striker who caused Ireland serious problems when the sides met in Podgorica last October.

Down the other end, he also chipped in with an assist — getting on the end of a Will Smallbone free-kick and heading across goal for Liam Kerrigan to slot home from close range.

“I had to wait a while with all the paperwork but it was worth it. It was a good result and performance. Now we just want to take it on to the Italy game and try to top the group.”

Cashin had “12 or 13″ relatives watching on in the stands, including his Leitrim-born grandmother Rita.

“She’s over there in the stand, travelling across the country. That’s where my Irish comes from. I’ve been to Ireland loads of times, I love the country. Now to finally say that I’m Irish and to get it done and dusted, it’s an honour to play. I’m just glad to get it done.

“Hopefully I sent [my family] home with a smile on their faces.”

It was not, however, Cashin’s first experience playing for Ireland at any age group.

“I was in the U18s and we played a few friendlies against Turkey — that was under Andy Reid, it was a good experience.

“We were supposed to get things sorted then and it didn’t happen. I’m just happy that it’s all done and I can play.

“I’m not too sure [why the paperwork took so long]. I got called up in March. I’m not too sure exactly what happened behind the scenes. I left it to them and waited until I got the nod.”

On the game itself, Cashin added: “It was a great result. I hadn’t played at club level since the season finished a month ago. I was a bit rusty to start with and eventually grew into the game. The lads helped me to slot in. It’s a big moment to make your debut at any level, especially at international level.

“We know [Montenegro are] a good team. They beat us away and we knew that we owed them one. We knew they had good players — their striker was good — but we did our research. We had to be right at it and [we were].”

Cashin will now be hoping he can help Ireland beat Italy away next week and potentially secure automatic qualification from the group if other results go their way.

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Thereafter, he will return to Derby County, the embattled League One club that have faced a turbulent time off the field of late.

Asked whether he would be staying at the recently relegated side next season, Cashin replied: “I don’t know. We’re trying to get things sorted, still waiting for Derby to officially announce their new owner. I’ve got to wait for that to happen and hopefully can get things sorted on that side. 

“There have been a few ups and downs. I wasn’t allowed to play for a certain amount of time [this season] due to rules and regulations. It was difficult and sort of similar to what happened here.

“Due to the embargo, there were only a certain number of players allowed to play. Myself and a few other lads weren’t. The gaffer wanted to give me a chance but I wasn’t allowed because of the embargo.

“I was playing in the U23s but couldn’t really progress. Things changed and I eventually made my debut. Thankfully it’s gone alright from there.”

For all Derby’s troubles, Cashin, who made 18 Championship appearances in total this season, has benefited from working under a legend of the game in Wayne Rooney.

“He’s been really good. He’s so experienced and you know what he’s done in the game as a player.

“Him being a striker, he knows what defenders should and shouldn’t do. He’s got loads of tips and I’m trying to learn from him to improve.”

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