Here Rob Lyons takes a look at some of the standout Irish performances from last weekend’s lower league action in England.
5. Cyrus Christie (Derby County – Championship)
The full-back started for the Championship’s table-toppers Derby County in a convincing 3-0 win. 22-year-old Christie put in a solid display recently for Ireland against the USA, showing good positional sense and calmness on the ball.
Christie is an intelligent right-back with a good knowledge of the game for such a young player and he used this knowledge to great effect for the Rams’ third goal to leave Brighton with no chance of getting back into the game.
His cross from the right was inch perfect and found the head of Chris Martin for Derby’s third after just 20 minutes. Irish international Jeff Hendrick also started for the Rams in a game that put them top of the table, just one point ahead of Ipswich.
Highlights of Christie’s in-swinger as well as Derby’s other goals can be viewed here:
4. John Egan (Gillingham – League One)
Former Sunderland centre-back John Egan is the second of our five standout Irish players from the weekend’s action. The 22-year-old earned a Man of the Match performance in Gillingham’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy game against Leyton Orient in which he scored the match-winning goal in a 1-0 victory.
It was Egan’s third goal in two games for the League One side and helps them to their fifth win in a row. Egan stepped up to the mark to head home after 79 minutes. It illustrates the fantastic aerial ability Egan has become known for and if the Irish under 21 international can continue this form he may not be too far from earning a move back to a club of the stature of Sunderland.
3. Jonathan Douglas (Brentford – Championship)
Former Monaghan United player and Ireland international Jonathan Douglas scored a consolation goal for high-flying Brentford in the Championship last Saturday.
Although Brentford are now in fifth place, the newly-promted Bees are just four points off leaders Derby, having won every game in November to bring them to the upper echelons of the league. They will hope Douglas and co. can guide the Bees back to winning ways following this disappointing loss.
At the age of 33 and having not featured internationally since 2007 it is unlikely we will see Douglas don the Irish jersey again but his decisiveness in the box is still impressive as he reaches the winter of his career.
On the opposing side, Huddersfield’s Sean Scannell was making his 100th appearance for the Terriers and he marked the occasion by scoring the first of Huddersfield’s two goals, with the second going down as an OG after pressure from the Irish international forced the goal.
2. David McGoldrick (Ipswich – Championship)
Another of McCarthy’s Irish international contingent registered on the scoresheet in their dominant display over Leeds. McGoldrick ended a four-game barren run to find the net, alongside the two Daryl Murphy scored, which leaves him as Ipswich’s second highest goalscorer with six goals.
Recently capped for Ireland, McGoldrick may have a few more years in him yet to prove he can help the Irish international side in forward areas. His performance against the USA indicates his strength as a provider to the onrushing players around him, all he needs to do now is transfer his goalscoring ability to the Ireland set-up.
Highlights of McGoldrick’s goal can be viewed here:
1. Daryl Murphy (Ipswich – Championship)
Another Part of the large Irish contingent Mick McCarthy has assembled at Ipswich, Murphy continued his goalscoring run by snatching another two goals in a 4-1 league win over Leeds United last weekend. That result puts McCarthy’s side within one point of Derby at the top of the table.
Murphy has been an integral part of Ipswich’s winning ways all season, having already scored 13 goals, three of which have come in his last three games. He was fully deserving of his recent call-up to the Irish international squad and could be an exciting prospect in the Premier League next season should Ipswich continue their current form.
Highlights of both of Murphy’s goals can be viewed here:
Rob Lyons, Pundit Arena