CONOR Sammon is framing the Republic of Ireland shirt he wore for his full international debut this week, writes TOM SLOAN.
The 26-year-old Derby County striker fulfilled a life-long dream of pulling on the emerald green as the Republic beat Poland 2-0 at Lansdowne Road.
And the big target-man is still bursting with pride after getting 90 minutes on his debut.
“The shirt’s getting framed and I’m keeping it,” said the early season signing from Wigan Athletic. “Not many people get to represent their country and it was such a proud moment.
“It was easily my proudest moment.”
Sammon has received congratulations from past managers, team-mates, family and friends after getting into manager Giovanni Trapattoni’s starting line-up.
“When you grow up, from a young age you want to play for your country,” said the Dubliner. “It doesn’t get much better than putting on your national team’s jersey in a magnificent stadium.
“I was very proud to have my family in the crowd – I’d love to get another opportunity to play for Ireland.
“I’ve had so many messages it’s unbelievable. The support has been incredible.
“I was very surprised to be named in the starting XI with so many experienced players in the squad.
“I thought I might get half an hour and never expected to play the 90 minutes.”
Sammon, who grew up as a big fan of the likes of Roy and Robbie Keane, is hopeful he has done enough to get on the pitch against England at Wembley in May.
First, Ireland have two qualifiers against Sweden and Austria next month.
“I hope I get selected for the squad again,” said the striker. “Nothing’s been said yet so I’ll have to wait and see.
“I’d like to think I can look forward to experiencing more of these moments.”
Now, Sammon is back on Derby duty and is expected to start at Sheffield Wednesday this afternoon, kick-off 3pm, as the Rams look to get three points to stay in touch with the top six.
Sammon should resume his partnership with Jamie Ward, with the duo starting to prosper in an improving Derby side.
“I’ve loved playing up front with Jamie,” said Sammon. “My first goal for Derby was set up by him.
“The way he plays really suits me. He looks to drop in the hole and creates space for me.
“Jamie’s sharp and has got an eye for a pass.
“His goalscoring form, too, has been superb this season in the games he’s played around the hamstring injury.
“I’m looking forward to getting more games with him as the more you play with someone, the better you get to know their game.
“It’s been brilliant having him back in the side.”