Mur­phy can rel­ish Wales with busi­ness taken care of

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Sport - - SOCCER - DAMIAN SPELL­MAN

DARYL Mur­phy is adamant the Repub­lic of Ire­land have not al­lowed them­selves to think about the mouth­wa­ter­ing World Cup show­down with Wales un­til now.

Head­ing into Fri­day night’s penul­ti­mate Group D qual­i­fier against Moldova, Mur­phy and his team-mates knew their dreams would be over be­fore they even touched down in Cardiff if they did not emerge with three points.

But hav­ing played the piv­otal role in a 2-0 vic­tory by scor­ing both goals, the Not­ting­ham For­est striker is now rel­ish­ing a game which could yet see ei­ther side qual­ify au­to­mat­i­cally for next sum­mer’s fi­nals in Rus­sia, or both miss out al­to­gether.

When it was put to him that Mon­day’s clash at the Cardiff City Sta­dium is a mas­sive oc­ca­sion, Mur­phy said: “Of course it is, we al­ways knew that. We needed to take care of busi­ness on Fri­day night.

“We’ve done that, so now we can look for­ward to it. It was plain and sim­ple what we needed to do — we needed to win. Re­gard­less of the per­for­mance that was put in, the re­sult was all that mat­tered.

“You can only play what’s in front of you, we couldn’t be think­ing about any other game. But now we can turn our at­ten­tion to the next one.”

The fact that Ire­land head for Wales with their fate still in their hands was due in large part to Mur­phy’s con­tri­bu­tion to the vic­tory over bot­tom-of-the-ta­ble Moldova.

He had man­aged just one goal in his 29 se­nior ap­pear­ances for his coun­try be­fore kick-off, but dou­bled his tally with an in­stinc­tive sec­ond­minute fin­ish af­ter Stephen Ward’s long throw had caused panic, and added an­other 18 min­utes later with a fine header from Ward’s cross.

“We work on things like that (the throw-in) in train­ing and it came off,” Mur­phy said. “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.”

That took the 34-year-old to eight goals for the sea­son for club and coun­try, and it is a run of fine form both he and in­ter­na­tional man­ager Martin O’Neill will hope con­tin­ues in Wales. Mur­phy said: “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.”

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