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Starstruck Hendrick lives the dream

Starstruck Hendrick lives the dream

first_imgJeff Hendrick is still coming to terms with rubbing shoulders with Ireland’s biggest stars. The 21-year-old Derby midfielder has established himself firmly in Giovanni Trapattoni’s squad just a few months after his elevation from the Under-21s, and could be handed a World Cup qualifier debut against the Faroe Islands on Friday night. However, he is yet to fully comprehend just how he has gone from watching Robbie Keane and his team-mates on television to playing in the same team. “For the 2002 World Cup, I was only nine or 10 and I had my face painted watching him [Keane] scoring goals, and now to be involved in the squad with him is great,” Hendrick said. “I was watching in the pub – I wasn’t drinking, though! “Last October, I was with the Under-21s and I was watching them all playing games, and then when I was brought into the squad, it was unreal. It’s great. As a kid, it’s what you dream of, just being involved.” Hendrick’s rise has been little short of meteoric with Trapattoni having spotted something in him as he trawled for a new generation of Ireland players. He made his third appearance as a substitute in Sunday’s 4-0 friendly victory over Georgia, and having set up Wes Hoolahan for a goal on his debut against Poland in February, he did the same for Keane at the weekend. He said: “I’m happy, really, if I just don’t mess up on the pitch. I’m glad to set the lads up for a goal. If I am not scoring, I like to set someone else up.” Hendrick has stepped on to the international stage as if to the manner born, and has certainly not looked out of place in a green shirt. However, he modestly plays down his contribution to date. When it was suggested to him that he looked like he belonged on the pitch against the Georgians, he said: “I don’t know about that. I am just happy to get on the pitch, as I said, and try to get as many minutes as possible and learn as many things as I can to improve my own game.” center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

Sprint target for Ballycroy

Sprint target for Ballycroy

first_imgMichael Halford has confirmed Via Ballycroy an “intended” runner in Saturday’s 100,000 euro Paddy Power Sprint at the Curragh. The four-year-old was last seen displaying a smart turn of foot to win the Texacloth Handicap over course and distance in May, when coming home under Shane Foley half a length clear of Arbitrageur. Halford said: “She’s an intended runner and has come out of her last race in good form. I’m very happy with her as she has come forward nicely.” He added: “I’m hoping for a good draw and if she gets it, she should give a good account of herself. She goes well on fast ground and six furlongs is ideal.” Halford clearly thinks a bit of his filly as she has entries in next month’s Group Three Brownstown Stakes at Fairyhouse and the Group Three Invesco Pension Consultants Minstrel Stakes at the Curragh. He added: “We’ll take it a day at a time but if she runs well at the weekend, that will be the way she’s going.” center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

Ronaldo: I will not celebrate if I score against Manchester United

Ronaldo: I will not celebrate if I score against Manchester United

first_imgReal Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo has vowed not to celebrate if he scores in the Champions League round-of-16 tie against Manchester United.The Portugal international enjoyed a six-year spell with the Premier League leaders before leaving them for los Blancos in the summer of 2009, and he still has warm feelings for his former club.“I will not celebrate my goal if I manage to score at Manchester United,” Ronaldo was quoted as saying by AS after Thursday’s draw.The 27-year-old recently already expressed his gratitude towards Sir Alex Ferguson, and stressed that the United manager has played a key role in his development.“[Ferguson is] a fantastic person. A human person. He taught me many things,” Ronaldo told The Sun.“Like I said before, he’s like a father in football. I really miss him and my relationship with him.” Madrid start the tie with a home game on February 13, before Ronaldo returns to Old Trafford for the second leg on March 5.last_img read more