Doherty’s Irish dream

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EVERY boy dreams of the day they receive a phone call from the manager of the Republic of Ireland telling them they would be pulling on the green jersey and turning out to represent their country on the world stage.
This dream became reality for Swords man Matt Doherty when Martin O’Neill woke him from a post-training nap with a phone call informing him he would be included in his 40-man squad for his side’s March friendlies against Switzerland and Slovakia.
Doherty began his career locally playing for Belvedere before being spotted on in a pre-season friendly playing for Bohemians against Wolverhampton Wanderers which saw the then 17-year-old move to England.
This had followed two years where he plied his trade in the FAS FAI Training Programme which oversaw his development having previously worked for his dad while making his debut for Pat Fenlon at Bohemians in the League of Ireland.
Speaking after he received the call from O’Neill, Doherty explained even though his performances for Wolves had been catching many an eye in recent months that he simply had not expected the call-up.
“It’s not really hit me yet because I was half asleep”, he said speaking to 98fm. “I heard my phone ringing and I was too tired to even answer it so I went back to sleep. Then I woke up to millions of texts and that on my phone.
“My form has been at a good level for Wolves recently; you are always going to be surprised when the phone actually does ring for a senior call up but I feel I’ve been playing well in the Championship and am really happy that Martin O’Neill and his staff have noticed that.”
He recently scored a last-minute winner for Kenny Jackett’s side in a Championship game against Bristol City, while he has represented Ireland at Under-15, 16, 19 and 21 level.
He said that although he had not yet spoken fully to Martin O’Neill that he was, nevertheless, thrilled to take to the senior stage having pulled on the green jersey for the first time at 15.
“I wouldn’t have thought when I was 15 that I might get a chance to play for my country at senior level but I guess everybody dreams about it, and I dreamt about it too”, he explained.
“I’ve never been in the senior squad so I’m not really sure what to expect. I can’t really judge it off Under-21s or 19s as it’s a completely different ball game at senior level. I’ll just have to wait and see but of course the aim is to be in the squad for the games.”

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